Vintage Christmas Card 1951 American Greetings
Josie was so excited about the upcoming baby shower for her Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Manns. It was going to be at her house and her mom said the other mothers from the church were bringing their daughters, too. It was a couple weeks away, but Josie could hardly wait.
She and her good friend, Lydia, talked about it as they walked home from school.
“Aren’t you excited about the party, Lydia?” Josie asked, as she skipped backward down the sidewalk. “What are you going to wear? I think I’ll wear my blue dress with the ruffles down the front,” she added without taking a breath or waiting for Lydia’s answer.
“Ummm, I don’t know,” Lydia said hesitantly. “I don’t have any nice dresses and Mom hasn’t even mentioned the shower, so maybe we didn’t get an invitation.”
Josie frowned. “Oh, I’m sure it just got lost in the mail or something. Mom said all the ladies from church were coming. I’ll ask her for another one and you can just hand it to your mom, okay?”
Lydia nodded, not at all sure it had been lost in the mail.
When Josie entered the house, her mom and several of her friends were discussing the cake and the games they were going to play at the shower.
As she grabbed a snack from the refrigerator, Josie said, “Hey, Mom, Lydia said her mom’s invitation didn’t come yet, so could you make out another one and I’ll take it to her tomorrow and she can give it to her mother?”
She noticed the strange look that the ladies gave one another before her mom said, “I’m sure it just got lost or something, Josie. It’s nothing for you to worry about. Besides, with all the children Mrs. Fearson has and a new baby on the way, I doubt she would be able to come, anyway.”
“She only has three kids, Mom. You make it sound as if it was a dozen.”
Josie went upstairs to her room and searched through her closet. She was looking for a dress for Lydia to wear. They wore the same size and since they were best friends, she was sure her mother wouldn’t mind if she loaned her one.
She started on her homework but couldn’t get Lydia’s family off her mind. She remembered when they came to Lakeville a few months ago and moved into a kind of shabby house several blocks from Josie’s house. The two girls had become good friends immediately. They both liked horses and reading and playing baseball. They walked to and from school together every day, although Lydia had to walk further after they got to Josie’s house. They saw each other every Sunday at church, too.
When Josie asked why they didn’t buy one of the newer houses so they could be neighbors, Lydia shrugged her shoulders and said, “When my dad died suddenly, we had to move and mom used the insurance money to buy this house. This is the one my mom said we could afford. It’s okay…it just needs some paint, maybe.”
Josie didn’t know anything about income but she knew her family was probably rich compared to Lydia’s and now there would be another one in their family since her mom was going to have a baby around Christmas time.
The day of the shower was getting closer. Josie had asked Lydia if she wanted to borrow a dress but she said, “No, it’s okay. Mom says we won’t be able to come anyway. She’s really busy. You know, getting things ready for the baby and all.”
Josie helped her mother clean the house and put up the decorations. It was going to be so much fun. She really wished her best friend would be there.
Saturday finally arrived with all the guests and their daughters coming in with beautifully wrapped packages. Mrs. Manns was smiling from ear to ear as she opened one gift after another. Josie wondered if Lydia’s new baby brother or sister would have anything new. Then she had an idea.
When everyone was eating cake and visiting, Josie asked, loudly, “Can we do this again for the Fearson’s new baby? I think that would be so awesome. Since they couldn’t come today, maybe we could even make it a surprise.”
The room was totally quiet until Mrs. Manns spoke. “Josie, I think that is a loving and sweet idea. Why don’t we let these ladies talk about it and decide if that’s possible. It is getting close to Christmas, you know, and they are all busy with the Christmas Pageant rehearsals.
”When everyone had left and Josie was sitting next to her mother on the couch, she asked, “Mrs. Fearson’s invitation wasn’t lost, was it Mom? You and your friends never sent her one did you?”
“It’s hard to explain, Honey” she said as she brushed the hair out of Josie’s eyes.
“I don’t see what’s so hard about it. Mrs. Fearson is a nice lady and a good mother. Her house is always clean and she’s a good cook, too. Lydia brings really good lunches to school. The other kids make fun of her sometimes because she never has chips or candy in her lunch sack.”
“I don’t know what you want me to do about it, Josie. I think the church is going to take the family a basket of food for Christmas.”
Standing up, Josie said, “That’s nice. Every group in town does that at Christmas for families, but the Fearsons go to our church. Aren’t we supposed to do more than a basket of fruit? Why weren’t Lydia and her brothers given parts in the pageant?
And, why couldn’t she be included today? Isn’t she good enough for your friends? Her mom can’t help it her husband was killed in a car crash. How would you like to raise us kids without Daddy’s help?”
As she started to leave the room and fought back the tears, Josie added one more thing. “We keep talking about Mary and Joseph. They were poor and homeless and having a baby, too. I bet Mary wouldn’t have been invited to the shower, either!
It was the last rehearsal before the Christmas pageant. Josie drug her feet as her mother called, “Come on, Slowpoke. We’re going to be late. This is a special rehearsal. Don’t you want to see everyone in their costumes?”
Josie shrugged her shoulders. She had never really recovered her enthusiasm for the pageant or even for the Christmas holidays, after the shower. What good was learning about how much God loved us and sent his Son as a baby, if we never practiced what we preached? That was one of her father’s favorite sayings: practice what you preach. She wished the church ladies believed that saying. Oh well…she had used her allowance and bought Lydia’s new brother a few baby toys. That was all she could do.
When they arrived at church, she searched for Lydia. As she entered the room where they would rehearse, she stood with her mouth open. There were blue streamers and decorations everywhere.
“What’s going on?” she whispered to her mother.
Mrs. Manns came over to her and put her arms around her. “Josie, do you remember what you told your mother about how Mary wouldn’t have been invited to my shower, either?”
Josie nodded, not sure if she was going to be scolded for talking to her mom like that.
“Well, your mom called all the ladies together and told them what you said. It was absolutely true and made all of us feel ashamed of ourselves. We realized we had forgotten the way that God tells us to treat our neighbors. We’re going to pray about always remembering that, not just at Christmas. So, today, we are going to try to rectify that, a little bit, starting with a shower for the Fearson’s new baby.”
“And, we’re going to continue to be more conscious of our actions toward others,” another lady chimed in.
Just then, Lydia came in the door and headed to Josie. She didn’t even notice the decorations…”Guess what, Josie? I get to be an angel, my brothers are going to be shepherds in the pageant and my new brother is going to be Baby Jesus!”
Josie smiled and said a prayer of thanks. This was going to be a special Christmas.
Gloria Doty is a published Christian author, writer and speaker. She has published a non-fiction book, a devotion book, a series of fiction romance books and several children’s picture books. Gloria has 5 adult children and 13 grandchildren. She has recently re-married and she and her husband reside in Fort Wayne, IN.