The God Was, looking down on Christmas Day on the town where Susan and her children live, heard Susan weeping because she had no gifts to give. In spite of Susan’s lack of gifts, she and her children had put up their old tree. They had made decorations for it together, which filled her children with glee. On Christmas Eve they sat in a circle together, and each of them sang a song. Anyone observing this family would not think there was anything wrong.

Now, it was Christmas morning, and Susan heard her children rise. She didn’t want them to worry if they saw her tears, and so she wiped her eyes. Her children rushed to her and hugged her. They understood that they were poor, but they knew their mom would come up with something good to do and wondered what she had in store.

“Merry Christmas,” Susan said as she squeezed her kids, “To the most precious people on earth. I just love you so much, and I can’t tell you enough how you fill my life with mirth. I thought this morning we would make cookies and put some in a little bag with a bow. I’ll get the ingredients together, so that after breakfast you can make the dough.” The children were so excited that Susan had to make them sit down to eat. She had made them a wonderful breakfast. A special Christmas treat!

After eating and clearing the table, Susan’s kids made cookies to give to neighbors and friends and the homeless, so the spirit of Christmas would live. When the cookies were packaged and Susan and her kids put on their coats, someone started ringing their bell. They wondered who this could be on Christmas morning when they heard a familiar yell.

“Hey, you guys! It’s Maria. It’s cold out here, you know. And I’ve got to get home to cook Christmas dinner. I really have to go!”

Susan opened the door for Maria, who held a piñata by a string. “This is for you and your kids, mi amigas. Feliz Navidad,” Maria started to sing. Susan took the piñata and set it down, her kids screaming thank-you’s with delight. Susan and Maria hugged each other. Through the years, they had become tight. Maria left, and Susan’s phone rang. It was Sarah, who lived down the street. She wanted Susan and her kids to join her family during Hanukkah to see their menorah, play games and have holiday foods to eat.

“We’d love to,” said Susan, “We can come Sunday. Thanks so much for thinking of us, but I hope that our presence will not cause too much of a fuss!”

“Of course not,” said Sarah, “See you Sunday.” “Okay,” Susan said with joy she could not hide. Now, Susan was glowing, filled with much happiness inside.

Susan and her kids grabbed the bags of cookies and passed them out with holiday cheer to the young and the old, neighbors and friends, and anyone else they came near.

The next day – the day after Christmas – the celebration of Kwanzaa would begin, and friends of Susan’s kids had begged to let her children join in.

The God Was was watching and thinking how the world would be a better place, if humans saw each other, no matter how different, as members of the same human race. Happy Holidays, Everybody!

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...