One of the books my family owned when I grew up was The Christmas Book, a collection of forty-five Christmas stories and poems. How do I know it had forty-five stories and poems? That book still sits on my shelf today.
At one inch thick this book was enormous to my small hands. Still, I tugged it off the bookshelf often and flipped the pages one by one. At first all I could do was look at the pictures. Next, I asked others to read stories to me. Then the day came when I was able to read the words on each page by myself.
Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl was one of my favorite stories. I returned to it over and over. Although it does have a happily-ever-after ending, the story itself is rather sad. If you have read it, perhaps you understand.
In this post I’ll briefly give a story synopsis, so if you haven’t read the story, be forewarned.
The spark for this post came when I recently pulled that book off my bookshelf and turned the faded, fragile pages to page 281, and once again read the story that held my attention all those many years ago.
The Little Match Girl is the story of a young girl who lives with her strict father in a rundown shack. Her job is to sell matches. Christmas Eve she finds herself cold, hungry, and alone on the street with only her small handful of matches.
Three separate times she lights a match in an attempt to stay warm. Each time she envisions beautiful, wondrous sights. Near the end of the story a star falls, reminding the little girl what her grandmother told her before the grandmother died. “When a star falls from the sky, someone is dying and their soul goes up to God.”
Believing she sees her grandmother, the little girl asks her grandmother to take her with her.
This time, however, it isn’t a vision. The grandmotherly woman the girl sees is real. She takes the match girl home to live with her forever.
Or is it?
We may find ourselves cold, hungry, and alone in the world and wish someone cared enough to notice us. To love us. To provide for and protect us. We’ve lit every single match we hold and still, nothing. It all goes up in smoke. We feel as if all is hopeless.
That is, until Jesus steps into our lives, picks us up from the cold stone step we’ve sat on, and carries us to his home. A home he prepared for us which is more beautiful and wondrous than we could ever imagine. It’s warm. We’re safe. We smell delicious food. Jesus is smiling at us. He tells us he wants us to be his child forever.
Will we accept?
The choice is ours to make. We can stay outside the warmth of Christ’s love, or we can jump right into his arms and be safe now and forever.
The little match girl chose to stay safe with the lady who wanted to adopt her. What choice will we make?
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“Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am.” John 14: 1-3 (GNT)
You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.
I wish you well.