This year she decided she was big enough to make Christmas presents all by herself. The only problem was Christmas was very soon, and she didn’t have any ideas. While she helped roll out cookie dough and decorate the already cooked cookies to give to the neighbors, she thought about it. She thought when she was staring at the Christmas tree during dinner. She thought when she was listening to a tape of Christmas carols. She tried not to think when Daddy was reading part of the Christmas story aloud and lighting the Advent candles; she thought some more when she was brushing her teeth before bed.
But by bedtime she hadn’t thought of any ideas and she was starting to get worried. Finally, she decided to ask her older sisters.
“Summer Lily,” she began, “do you have any ideas for me to make for Christmas presents?” Summer was six and that was two whole years older so she was sure to have some ideas.
Summer shook her head and said through her toothpaste, “Ask Prairie Grace or Savannah Mae, they are sure to know.”
Even they didn’t because everyone had already used up their own ideas. Heather Leigh was too little to even know what presents were, and Morgan was very busy in the shop—too busy to answer questions.
So Autumn Rose went to bed very sad. And she woke up very sad. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve. She decided she would ask Daddy and Mommy—after all they always seemed to have millions of ideas.
The perfect time to ask Mommy came when Daddy and the others were delivering cookies to the neighbors; Mommy, Autumn Rose, and Heather Leigh had stayed home since it was very cold outside.
“Autumn Rose, I just had the perfect idea. While lunch is cooking, let’s make a pie!” Mommy said putting Heather Leigh in her highchair nearby.
They played the Christmas carol album again, and soon they were humming happily and preparing apples together. Autumn Rose washed the apples, and Mommy peeled them while Heather Leigh looked on and smiled.
“Mommy, I have a problem,” Autumn Rose began.
“Oh? What sort of problem?” Mommy asked peeling her apple in one big, long string.
“I don’t have any Christmas presents made for anybody and tomorrow is Christmas Eve,” she replied looking very sad indeed. “Do you have any ideas?”
“Autumn, what is Christmas about?”
“Jesus and presents.”
“Yes, and which of those two things do you think is more important?”
“Jesus. But I’m supposed to make presents, aren’t I?”
“Autumn, do you know why we make presents?”
“Well,” Mommy said chopping her apple up into little pieces and putting it in the bowl, “because we want to celebrate how the wise men gave Jesus gifts and how God gave us the perfect gift—His Son Jesus.”
“So, I don’t have to make presents?”
“No, but you can if you like.”
Autumn was silent awhile watching Mommy peel and chop the last apple. What could she do to celebrate the Perfect Gift?
“Mommy, if you wanted to make something that really celebrated Jesus being born, what would you make?” Autumn Rose asked getting out the ingredients as Mommy directed her.
“Hmmm, I’ll have to think about that. You know, you should ask Daddy, he always has good ideas,” Mommy said with a smile.
When the pie was finally put together it looked so beautiful, and Autumn Rose helped Mommy cut hearts out in the top of the crust before they put it in the oven. When it had begun to cook it smelled like sugar and cinnamon, so Daddy and the others came home to a house that smelled exactly the way Christmas should.
“Lunch is ready, whenever you are,” Mommy told Daddy as she met him in the mudroom and helped Summer Lily take off her coat.
As usual Autumn Rose was very surprised at how much the big kids could eat, and even more surprising was how they could have room afterward for pie.
“Autumn Rose helped me make this,” Mommy told everyone as she cut the golden brown pie.
“It looks so good!” Morgan exclaimed, and Prairie Grace said, “Good job, Autumn!”
That made Autumn smile and feel shy, but she soon forgot that and began to eat the pie crust Mommy had put on a plate for her.
“Did you have a good time delivering cookies?” Mommy asked when everyone had been served.
“Yes, we did,” Daddy replied. “Savannah Mae, why don’t you tell Mommy about what happened to you.”
Savannah nodded and finished chewing her bite of pie. She was twelve, and very proper. “It was my turn to present the cookies at the house at the corner, Mrs. Cumberton’s house, you know, and I was feeling really scared. I rang the doorbell several times, and she didn’t answer so I thought she wasn’t home. I was turned around to leave when the door opened so loudly I almost jumped out of my skin it startled me so badly.” Everyone started laughing a little when she said this. She went on, “It turns out she had company so she didn’t notice the doorbell, but she was very nice and thanked us for the cookies and tract. She even gave us apple cider.”
Morgan smiled at the memory of the cider and dove deeper into his piece of pie.
After lunch Autumn Rose waited for a time to talk to Daddy. He was very busy so this was very hard to do