A husband, wife and 3 grandkids had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents with their small herd of 5 chihuahuas. This was where they had grown up and had been named Pine Country Farm because of the huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farm. Through the decades the old tree had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, becoming quite a landmark in the local countryside. The couple and grandkids had fond memories over the years there, but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their lives, calling them away to a different type of lifestyle.
The old folks no longer could get around, for the years and illness had taken their toll on their aging bodies, but their 5 puppies Casper, Cloey, CoCo, CeCe and Ciera now gave them a reason to get up in the mornings and a reason to live. It seemed each year they would take in another orphaned chihuahua pup. The couple's pups were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at each day's end. Perturbed, as they prepared to leave, the family confronted the old folks "Why won't you at least get rid of one of the older females, how about Cloey, the old white one?" "She is no longer any use to you and she barks a lot. Why don't you cut corners and save money on dog food. Why do you keep these five chihuahuas around here anyways?"
The old man looked down at his well worn boots, scuffed from many years of wear and replied "Well yes, I guess I could use a new pair of boots, but no. His arm slide around his wife's waist as he gently caressed her back. We are going to keep her simply because of love. Simply pure love". Confused and just a bit irritated, the young couple and grandkids wished the grandparents a ho hum Merry Christmas and headed back toward home as darkness fell upon the valley. The old couple shook their heads in sorrow that it had not been quite as happy of a visit. Tears fell upon their cheeks rolling down slowly.
How can it be that our kids do not understand the peace and love that filled their hearts from these small dogs? So it was, because of the unhappy departure, nobody noticed the smoldering insulation on the frayed wires in the small barn. None saw the very first spark ignite. None but the solid white, Cloey the "Old One". In a matter of mere minutes the small barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the dry hay the pups laid upon. With a cry of terror and fear, the old man screamed to his wife to call for help as he raced to save their beloved chihuahuas. But the flames were roaring now, the blazing heat and flames drove him back.
He sank...sobbing to the ground, completely helpless before the flames of fury. His beloved wife back from calling 911, cradled him in her arms clinging to each other, they both wept at their loss. By the time the fire department finally arrived, only smoldering, glowing ruins were left, the old man and his wife were simply speechless as they rose from the snow covered ground. They thanked the firefighters as there was simply nothing anybody could have done. The old man turned toward his wife, resting her head upon his shoulders as his shaking hands tried to dry her tears with a frayed blue bandana. Broken he whispered, "Much we have lost, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas."
Let us gather our strength and climb the hill to the old rugged pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look upon our home and give glory to God that it has been graciously spared and pray for our beloved, precious puppies that have been taken from us. So, he took her by the hand and helped her up the snow covered hill as he brushed aside his own river of tears.
The journey up the hill was very difficult for their old bodies in the steep snow. As they stepped over the familiar little knoll at the crest of the hill, the weary couple paused for a moment to rest, glancing up the hillside the old couple gasped and fell to their knees in complete amazement at the incredible beauty now before them.
Seemingly, every glorious, most brilliant star in the heavens was captured up in the glittering, white frosted branches of the beloved pine tree, as it was simply aglow with heavenly candles. Poised on it's uppermost branch, a crystal crescent shaped moon glistened just like spun glass. Never had mere mortals created a Christmas tree such as this. They were both simply breathless as the old man held his dear wife tighter in his comforting arms. All the sudden, the old man gave a shout of wonder and glorious joy. Amazed and mystified, he took his wife by her hand and gently pulled her forward. There, right beneath this miraculous tree, in resplendent glory, a light mist hovering over an ever glowing light in the darkness was their Christmas gift. Small shadows glistening in the night lights.
Bedded down around Cloey, the white "Old One" close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire group of chihuahuas, safe and sound.
At the first sniff of smoke, Cloey had pushed the door ajar with her tiny paws and had led the other four chihuahuas through it to safety. Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping cautiously through the snow. The younger pups were frightened and dashed about confused. The skittish chihuahuas looked back at the crackling, hungry flames, tucked their tiny tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped away like rabbits. They all pressed up snugly against the "Old One" as she moved calmly up the snowy hill to safety beneath the giant pine. Then Cloey lay in the middle of the chihuahuas and gazed lovingly at the faces of the old man and his beloved wife. Those she had dearly loved she had not let down.
Cloey's body was brittle with years, weary from the climb, but those golden eyes filled with such devotion as she offered her love.
Because of simply pure love. Only because of pure love. Tears flowed like a river as the couple resounded their praise and joy. Once again the peace that passes understanding and love filled their hearts.