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The Lesson of the Ornament – A Christmas Story

I wrote this story several years ago while studying for a ladies’ Christmas devotion. The lesson it seeks to convey comes from this passage of Scripture:

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (I Pet. 3:3-4)

Someday, I would love to have it illustrated and published as a booklet; but until then, I would like to share it here with the hope that it will inspire and encourage someone to see what true beauty is about.

If this story is a blessing to you, and you think it could be a help to someone else, please share it! I only ask that you share without editing it or removing the copyright information.

When just a girl of four and ten,
I changed from what I might have been.

So clearly still it seems I see
The day that brought this change in me.

Be patient with me as I share
The memories of what happened there.

I was a child of humble means,
A princess only in my dreams.

We lived upon a grand estate
As servants of a master great.

A good man in both word and deed,
He met my family’s every need.

But in the winter of that year,
My heart was also cold and drear.

For as the house guests came and went,
My days were in self-pity spent.

I watched one with a fancy dress,
Another’s jewelry did impress.

I felt that I was less than fair
When with these guests I did compare.

So on that cold, December morn
I was not festive, but forlorn.

And yet the task that fell to me
Was helping with the Christmas tree.

Each year, the tree stood in the hall
In splendor, it inspired awe.

The garland gold, the twinkling lights,
The ornaments, the star so bright,

Adorned the tall and stately pine,
I’d seen no other tree so fine.

No doubt this year would be the same ~
The Christmas tree of local fame.

And so, with my rebellious heart,
The decorating I did start.

But then I heard a step behind…
I turned and was amazed to find

My master, gazing first at me,
And then up at the Christmas tree.

He spoke to me, his voice was kind.
“I wonder, child, if you would mind

If I gave you a helping hand.”
I nodded, and the work began.

The decorations had been kept
In boxes ‘neath the basement steps.

As we unpacked, he shared with me
Some favorite Christmas memories.

And then he asked if I could guess
Which ornament he loved the best.

He said he could not estimate
Its value, for it was so great.

My interest then was highly piqued,
And for it I began to seek.

I saw a shining silver star,
Its origin was from afar.

My master’s eyes said this was not
The precious ornament I sought.

I found a jewel-encrusted ball,
Its sparkle could be seen by all.

Expectantly, I looked at him,
But soon began my search again.

An angel then, with flowing gown,
No doubt an heirloom handed down.

But this one too he did reject.
I was beginning to suspect

That I would never figure out
Which ornament he spoke about.

But when all hope I’d almost lost,
I saw a simple, wooden box.

It wasn’t bright, with jewels crowned,
And so I slowly put it down.

But when I saw my master’s eyes,
My mind was filled with great surprise.

The tender look upon his face
Assured me there was no mistake.

I turned and picked it up once more,
Bewildered by a choice so poor.

And as it came into my grasp,
My fingers touched a hidden clasp,

It slowly opened and revealed
What formerly had been concealed.

This ornament, this precious one,
Contained the image of his son.

And what I’d thought was somewhat plain,
Was now a lovely, picture frame.

The simple lines and modest hue
Allowed an unobstructed view.

No sparkling sequins to distract,
No golden glitter to detract

From strength, and love, and manly grace,
As seen in that beloved face.

I’d seen my master’s son before,
But then he’d gone to fight the war.

And there himself he’d sacrificed
To save another soldier’s life.

“My daughter, can you comprehend
Why all the money I could spend

Could never purchase or replace
This portrait of my dear son’s face?”

I nodded yes, and through my tears,
I saw my master’s smile appear.

“Just one more lesson I would share,”
He said, as we were seated there.

Our heavenly Master also holds
An ornament worth more than gold.

He sees it in a girl like you.”
I wondered if this could be true.

“He does not look at form or face,
Or pride of station, or of place.

The beauty that we do possess
He did not give us to impress

Those who can only see a part,
But cannot see our hidden heart.

The jewels, the hair, the costly clothes,
Are seen as beauty, I suppose.

But fancy gowns and diamond rings
Are only superficial things

That in an instant can be lost,
Or can be purchased at great cost.

The beauty that our Master seeks,
Is of a spirit calm and meek.

The baubles that this world attracts,
From this true beauty just distract.

Our Master longs to see a heart
That’s lovely in the hidden part.

For when He looks at such a one,
He sees the image of His Son.

This priceless beauty can’t be bought,
Though for it many long have sought.

It does not tarnish, tear, or fade,
But grows in value with each day.”

I wondered how my master knew
The struggle I’d been going through.

But in his wisdom he had seen,
And helped a young girl, just fourteen,

To see that beauty was far more
Than all the things the world lives for.

I sought to heed his wise advice,
To seek the beauty of great price.

To have a heart serene and still,
Submitted to my Master’s will.

And every year at Christmastime,
This memory comes back to my mind.

Forever grateful that God sent
The lesson of the ornament.

~Niki Lott
© Copyright 2008

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2 Responses to The Lesson of the Ornament – A Christmas Story

  1. Sharman Hedges says:

    Beautiful! You need to put this in an illustrated book form. It would be a wonderful thing to have to read to my grandchildren at Christmas.

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