The Red Sled: A Christmas Devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by contributor June Titus (See her last post right here). It’s the second entry in our 5th Annual Diva Christmas Series with the theme, “The Best Christmas Ever.” Miss the last post? Catch up here with Day 1

A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

The Red Sled

Seven-year-old girls have different Christmas priorities than their mature self. Back in 1944 it would be the same: different circumstances.

The country’s economy didn’t lend to fancy presents. The country was crawling out of the Great Depression, and America was at war. Although many fathers were serving overseas, mine was a farmer, needed on the Homefront. Much was rationed, but we raise our own food. We had it better than most.

Christmas gifts were not extravagant. My parents worked very hard make our Christmas enjoyable: tree, big meal, a few modest gifts, goodies in our stockings. Grandmother would give a box of candy. A friend in the city would send something. I didn’t want knit stuff or a book. I wanted a sled!

My brother and my sister had their own sleds, but I had a beat-up sled that had been brother’s. I didn’t want an old sled with a bad nick in one of the runners. I just wanted A RED SLED OF MY OWN!

The steep hill behind the barn was just right for sledding if I had my own new sled with smooth runners.

I dutifully got ready for Christmas: drew a picture of our house to give my parents; learned my lines for the school’s Christmas play; practiced my part for the Sunday school program.

Then I spied out Mother’s closet, even when I knew it was wrong. I just wanted to see if there was a big package that looked like a sled. But . . . The only thing with my name of it felt like a book. I didn’t want a book! I pouted.

Daddy and my brother cut and brought a real Christmas tree inside. We all decorated it. Beautiful! I especially liked the red lights . . . like the sled I wanted! But there wouldn’t be a sled. I knew it!

Hah! Search the farm for evidence of a sled. Just maybe. I had already looked inside. Now, I searched the barn, the shop, the hen houses. No sled. This was the worst Christmas ever.

a christmas devotional

Christmas morning. No snow. Well, no sled; who needs snow? I ran downstairs in my night gown and looked. Just one glimpse told me that there were only two small presents for me. But, my stocking was bulging, so I knew there would at least be candy.

A working farm means breakfast before presents. The men, up since before daylight working with the cows and other animals, would be starved.

Then presents. I don’t know what my brother and sister received, but mine was a book and a winter hat Mother made.

I said, “Thank you,” and smiled to mask my disappointment. That looked like the only Christmas for me.

And then Daddy said, “Thought there was another present.”

“No! That’s all.” Mother said.

“Uh Oh!” he laughed and sent my brother to the back porch. In a minute he was back with a . . . well, you guessed it: a beautiful red sled!

Big smile! A beautiful, bright red sled of my own!

There’s more to the story. I went outside and checked where we kept the sleds to make a spot for mine. My heart plummeted. The ugly little sled was gone. I realized that my beautiful red sled was old one I hated. I ran into the house and looked at my sled under the tree. On examination I saw the nick had been sanded in an attempt to smooth it. Just an old sled made new.

Mother was in the kitchen making dinner. Oh, what a grouch I was!

“Mother! It’s the OLD sled!” Well, you can imagine my little tirade.

Mother stopped what she was doing and sat down, taking me in her arms. With tears in her eyes, she loved on me as she talked.

She didn’t fuss about lack of money, or that I should be glad to have what other children would love to have. Instead she told me about being made new.

“June, your sled is just like people. You see, when Jesus comes into a person’s heart, that old heart is changed. Yes, it’s the same person, but Jesus gives that person a clean heart.”

It was not until I was much older and faith in Jesus as my Savior was born in me, I finally knew of the best present of all. He came to earth that very first Christmas to give me Eternal life . . . the BEST Christmas ever.

I am still me, including all the NICKS of my old self, but I am a new person in Jesus.

June Titus
Image courtesy of June Titus

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

June Windle Bare

June W. Titus is a retired nurse and poet and mother and grandmother, living with her husband in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “all About Women,’ a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.