A Christmas Spirit

A Christmas Spirit

By Jay M. Horne

Copyright 2010
Illustrations designed by Jay Horne

Jack and Ninja wake up on a cold winter morning and thank God for another beautiful day. On the eve of ole Saint Nick, they are visited by an Angel who tells them the Story of Christmas. Join the cute canine and the fuzzy feline as they come face-to-face with the man in the big red suit, and remind us all what Christmas is truly about.

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Bookflurry Inc. has reproduced this book with the author’s permission on the world-wide-web for the convenience of his readers. All copyright protections are still in effect. Copying and pasting, screen captures, distribution, etc. is prohibited.

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A Christmas Spirit

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IT’S WINTER

Frost was on the lawn. The leaves had turned, and Jack and Ninja were just waking to the winter chill.

Inside of the garage, on the lower level of a two story home, white paws stretched out from a shaggy black coat of fur as Jack stretched and yawned. The sheep dog shook his white crested mane as he stepped from his clay-stained pillow-bed.

“Ninja! Wake up!”

The humans, eating breakfast inside, may have heard a yap or a bark, if they were paying any attention. But, Ninja, the black Bombay cat, sleeping on a shelf, understood him all too well.

She was use to this same old early morning treatment, but wasn’t quite ready to start her day.

“Can’t you keep it down, Jack. It’s cold. I just want to stay bundled up for a while longer.” But she couldn’t help poking her head up from the black coil of fur and glance at him. Blue eyes under sharp triangle ears.

“Oh come on. It’s gotta be winter now. You wanna sleep right through Christmas?”

Jack trotted out to where the concrete floor met the gravel of the driveway and took in a deep fresh breath of chill air.

Against her better judgement, Ninja rolled sideways off of the shelf and plopped softly down onto the garage floor. “I still don’t understand why they don’t close that garage at night.”

“Quit complaining. Can’t you smell that?” Jack said with his nose in the air.

Ninja padded slowly up to the edge to sit beside him, “Christmas you say?”

“Mmmm. Nothing like the smell of chimney smoke.”

“How does Santa come down the chimney if the fireplace is burning?” Ninja asked, looking up at Jack.

Jack laughed. “You don’t light the fire on Christmas night, goofy.” He poked her in the side with his wet nose, “That would be cruel.”

She flinched. “Hey! That thing is cold!”

Just then, up on the ground floor, they heard the back door shut. Up beyond the stone wall they watched as a pretty lady with blonde hair strolled out to her car, got in, and started it up. The tires made furrows in the deep gravel as the woman drove down and out of the drive.

They were left staring out over the hilly terrain, side by side, when Ninja turned her head back up to Jack, “You think we’ll get anything on Christmas?”

“Ya know,” Jack said, starting back into the garage, “they say it’s not all about gifts. It’s about Jesus.”

Ninja was all sass when she came after.

“Well, I know. I’m just askin’.”

Jack hovered over his food bowl as Ninja jumped up to hers.

“A roof over you head, food in your bowl, an awesome dog to keep you company; what more could you ask for?”

The cat’s mouth was already too full to make a sarcastic comment, so they shared a little silence while they ate.

~

ICE CAPADES

“What do you say Ninja, you want to go down to the pond?”

She sighed at Jack with her general cat laze, “Naw, you just go ahead.”

Jack started trotting toward the drive, “Okay, have it your way. Hate to see ya miss out on some frozen fish though!”

He stepped out onto the grass, and taking in the crisp air, thanked God silently for another beautiful day. 

It was only a short jog down to the pond. Just across the neighborhood road. He stopped to let a small car pass before crossing. He’d learned his lesson two weeks earlier when he was struck by a truck on the main road and left with a permanent limp.

Across the sand bank and around a white gazebo brought him face to face with the frozen edge of the water. He was lapping up some of the moisture when something caught his attention.

He could see the fish, just under the surface of the ice, as they darted back and forth. His snout went this way and that as he followed their game.

Ninja had seen Jack playing at the shore as she approached. When she got close enough to see the fish herself, the excitement overcame her. Like a game of laser pointer, it was too much to resist, and she leapt out to pounce.

If Jack’s back leg were stronger he may have been able to grab her by the scruff, but she was on the ice and spinning circles on her stomach, like a mini throw rug, before he knew it.

Ninja’s claws were no use against the frozen surface, so Jack pawed carefully out onto the pond.

It took no more than three steps before his weight was too much for the fragile sheet of ice, and both cat and dog plunged into the freezing water together.

Luckily, Jack could reach the bottom, as it was very shallow near the edge, but it took him a few moments to gather up ninja by her coat and lug her to the shore.

“What were you thinking?” Jack said, as Ninja shook the damp from her coat.

Then he noticed what she had in her mouth. Carefully, she laid the small fish on the bank and went to preening her fur.

“Are you kidding me?” he said, “I’m fishing for you and you’re just fishing!”

“But did we die?” she asked pertly.

“Well, you could at least say thank you.”

“Thank you,” she said, her tail doing a little matter-of-fact flick.

And they play wrestled right there in the sand.

~

A DAY OF FUN

The next morning, the two animals awoke when the house above the garage rumbled at the slam of the back door, and the happy voices of a boy and girl playing, carried on the cold air.

When Ninja’s head emerged from her coil, she had to squint in the unusually bright light of morning.

The sun was shining off the thick blanket of snow that covered everything outside. She was only just understanding that it had snowed overnight, when Jack barked and dashed straight out of bed for the yard.

“Oh boy!” Jack barked.

And Ninja saw he was after a red sled that the kids were riding down the steep bank of the driveway. It reminded her of when they both were younger. He was bounding, with all the energy of a bunny rabbit, knee deep in the snow.

When the sled came to a stop at the bottom of the hill, the two kids poured out onto the soft powder, and Jack joined in on their fun; licking and pawing. His red tongue and bob tail both wagging with joy.

While they all climbed back up the drive, they spied Ninja tabbing out cautiously into the snow.

It was such a fantastic day, filled with fun with their young human friends. Kids and pets alike, went to their beds exhausted. Jack had enjoyed an extra special meal of ribs in his bowl, and Ninja had an unusual cup of warm milk. As they lay their heads down, neither of them knew that it was Christmas Eve.

“Good night, Ninja.”

“Good night, Jack.”

~

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

The grandfather clock struck midnight in the two story home and a special visitor was gracing each person in the house with an angel’s kiss.

It wasn’t Santa Clause, for he had not yet made his deliveries. This visitor was of a very special variety, and she had another stop on her journey before heading home for the night.

The tinkling of the angel’s bells brought Jack awake in the usually dark garage. But tonight, it wasn’t that dark, as the apparition perched on the workbench gave off a soft white glow. Or was it the reflection of the moon off of the snow?

Excited at the prospect of seeing Santa Clause, Jack called to Ninja in the twilight. Before he could realize that the jingling bells were not of Santa’s sleigh, Ninja had raised her head and spied the beautiful angel.

“Hello,” said the winged girl, “I have come with a special holiday gift for you.”

Jack and Ninja looked to each other unsure whether to believe their senses.

“Relax your heads. I am the Christmas Spirit. I have heard that you both understand that Christmas is about Jesus, and gift giving. Yet there is another thing that is part of me. A families Love, as you will see when I finish my tale. This is the Christmas Story.”

~

THE STORY OF CHRISTMAS

Once upon a time, a young raccoon fell from its nest while its mother was out scouting for nuts.

Because the tree they lived in was tall and branch-less, the poor kit (that’s a baby racoon) could not climb the trunk without the help of its mom’s strong claws. Afraid his mother would return and find he had misbehaved and wandered out of their hole, he ventured through the forest in search of help.

The little guy became scared when he realized he was becoming helplessly lost in the wood. All of the creatures were hiding out from the coming snow and the little raccoon was left all alone.

It was getting dark and the snow began falling. Before long, it was hard to see and the young kit, out of ideas, did something he oftentimes saw his mother do when she was worried — he prayed.

‘Dear God, I know I disobeyed Momma, but I am usually good. I am so frightened. Mostly I am frightened that she will die with worry for me. Can you please watch over her and let her know I love her.’

The prayer was so selfless that it touched God, and so he sent to him one of Santa’s helpers for assistance.

The bright red of the little elf’s stockings and sweater made it easy for the raccoon to see him coming through the snowy drifts.

When the elf approached, the young one was so very pleased to see someone, after his ordeal, that he hardly could contain his anxiety.

“I have been so frightened and lonely. I miss my mother.”

“Never fear little one. The Christ has sent me to grant you a Christmas wish tonight.

This is very rare.

“It is not often that the prayers of the animal kingdom reach Santa Clause through God, but on this winter night it has happened through your righteous heart.”

The raccoon had never heard of such a thing. You see, back then Santa didn’t deliver to pets.

“Who is Santa Clause?” he asked.

The elf laughed aloud among the cooing flurries, “Santa is he who brings joy to the people of the world on the night of our Lord Christ’s birth. Just as the people of the world bring joy to the heart of God. Tonight, we have been reminded that even the smallest of creatures have thoughtfulness in their hearts. This makes God full of happiness!”

With a warm smile, the elf offered the raccoon his wish. “Simply tell me what would make you most happy this night and I will see your wish fulfilled.”

Again the small raccoon said his silent prayer, this time aloud, “I pray that my mother not worry.”

With that, Squirt assured the raccoon his wish would be granted. The elf flew circles over the baby’s head and sprinkled its golden pollen all about.

When the kit offered him a sneeze, the elf gave a warm smile and then he turned to head back to the North Pole.

“Mr. Elf,” the raccoon said, “Will I ever see my momma again?”

Over his shoulder, Squirt offered a one-eyed wink and said, “Sometime later.”

With that, he disappeared into the snowy whiteness.

Before the young racoon could even begin to worry again, the white of the snowstorm overtook him, and with his next sneeze, he awoke among the warmth of his mother’s snuggles.

Inside of their home, they found an abundance of nuts for Winter.

It was on that Christmas day that God granted all animals their special ability, less any one get lost from their families during the holidays.

With Jesus in their hearts, an animal can always find its way home.

~

THE BIG RED MAN

When she was finished, she said one other thing, “Santa Clause is a great mystery. People can’t always see him like the animals can. But do not stay up all night waiting, fall asleep and dream, until you hear the reindeer.”

With that, the angel approached them and left each with a gentle kiss on the eyelids, setting them fast asleep.

~

Only when there were reindeer out on the lawn, did Jack again open his eyes with wonder. He had heard the snorts and saw the beautiful team chewing languidly and pawing the gravel in patience. Then a jolly voice said, “They left their fire burning. Good thing they leave this garage door open!”

Jack sat full upright and stared up at the Big Red man in surprise.

“Ho, Ho, Ho!” Santa said quietly.

He was dressed all in red with white cotton trimming. A red cotton ball hat was on his head and he put a large bag on the floor that whooshed softly. When he squatted down by Jack, the silver buckle of his black boot reflected the black and white of Jack’s fur.

With a smile bright enough to see through an off-white beard, the Red Man set a gift at Jack’s feet, “For you — ”

Then he placed a smaller wrapped bundle by sleeping Ninja, “ — and one for your friend.”

Santa then shouldered the big bag of gifts.

“A merry Christmas to you both Jack, and tell her I wish you a merry Christmas, too.”

With that, he wriggled his nose and became a sparkle of glitter that twirled out through the garage and into the tiny red sled where he again appeared whole.

Santa lifted the reins, and with a black glove in the air shouted, “On Rudolph!”

The sled was gone in a screen of wintry dust, leaving Jack staring out at only the North Star shining over the trees in the hollow.

Jack had seen Santa, at last! He started to lie down on his old pillow but then thought of Ninja who had missed out. Putting two paws up on the shelf where she slept, he looked at his little friend.

She was so peaceful. Then purring lightly, she stirred.

“Was he here?” she asked softly.

“Yes,” Jack said, “here and gone. But maybe we will see him again sometime… sometime later.”

And he leaned in slightly as Ninja’s eyes closed again and gave her an angel kiss.

Then they both lay down for a long winter’s nap.

The End

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~

Thank you for enjoying ‘A Christmas Spirit’

Find more works of Mr. Horne’s at:

http://www.bookflurry.com

http://www.jaymhorne.com



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