Trixie is a lovely German Shepherd and lives happily with Joan, Ted, their son Allan and Tobey, their cat. She is a good, gentle dog and only chases Tobey to play. Her main problem is that she likes to sneak out and run with her friend, Onka.
Onka is a Collie and together they run and play and have a good time. However, one Christmas, because of her sneaking out, Trixie almost missed Christmas …… for good.
This particular Christmas Eve, Trixie looked out the window as the snow fell softly to the earth, to suddenly see her friend Onka dash through the snow. Trixie whined and barked wanting to go out but Joan was firm. “I haven’t the time today to chase you all over the neighbourhood, Trixie. You’ll have to wait for Allan to get home from his party and take you out. Now go and play with your ball instead.”
Trixie whined and whined at the window. Onka was teasing Trixie by calling to her. Onka ran through the snow and threw some of the white stuff up in the air with her nose. All Trixie could do was watch and whine.
As it happened, Joan’s grocery order arrived, and as the delivery boy waited at the door for Joan to get some money, Trixie saw her chance and out she ran.
Outside, Onka laughed to see her friend and off they raced over the hill and into the woods, where the animals of the forest were gathering on this Holy Eve to honour the Christ Child.
Later, when Joan discovered Trixie missing, Joan searched the house for her. She even asked Tobey, who was curled up under the Christmas tree if she had seen Trixie but Tobey just purred indifferently and pretended to go back to sleep. Joan went outside and unknown to her, Tobey sneaked out when the door was open and ran over the hill and into the woods to join the animals. Joan looked for the dog but she was nowhere to be seen. “Well”, Joan said, “Allan will be looking for her when he gets home. It’s not the first time she’s sneaked off. She’ll be back.”
As it got dark and the twinkling stars came out to play on the holiest of nights, church bells started to chime and people filled the streets bringing gifts to their friends and loved ones. But, there was no sign of Trixie and Joan could not find Tobey either. Joan looked out at the fresh fallen snow, saw the happy people bustling about and prayed with an uneasy feeling: “Dear God, don’t let anything happen to his pets or Allan will never sleep tonight.”
Allan finally arrived and shouted: “Hi, Mom. Did we have fun at the party! Hey, where’s Trixie?” he asked when his faithful greeter was not there to lick his face.
“I don’t …. really know, Allan. You know how she takes off with Onka. Well, she must have sneaked out when the delivery boy was here with the groceries and she’s run off. Now don’t worry. Let’s call Onka’s owner and see if she’s home or not. I’ve already looked outside twice and she’s nowhere to be seen. Tobey is out also.”
Joan called Onka’s master while Allan watched nervously out the window. It was not like Trixie or Onka to miss supper. After making the phone call Joan put her arm around Allan and said, “Onka’s not home either, Allan dear. You know how they love the snow. I bet they are running in the woods. They’ll get tired, hungry and cold and then they’ll come home! Wait and see. In the meantime, help me wrap Daddy’s presents before he comes home, OK?” She gently took Allan by the shoulders towards the gifts to be wrapped, leaving him no chance to just stand at the window and worry over his pets.
“I hope that they aren’t lost.” worried Allan, with one eye on the presents and the other on the door.
“Allan, they won’t get lost on Christmas Eve, dear. There are many neighbours out and about and they would bring the pets home to us. Now, help me with these gifts, please.”
“Where can they be?” worried Allan. “Where can they be?”
In the forest, is where Trixie and Tobey were with Onka, and all the animals of the neighbouring woods. A certain euphoria had come over the animals that Eve. The dogs were too busy singing to chase the cats; the rabbits were too busy preparing a special Christmas Eve feast to fear the wolves; the skunks were busy cracking nuts with the squirrels to wonder if they were really wanted. Everyone, the racoons, the chipmunks and ever animal and bird you could name, was there, even the bears.
As Tobey greeted Trixie, Tobey said, “You’re in the dog house, Trixie. Joan is looking all over for you and I bet Allan is home by now and thinks that you’re lost somewhere. He always does when you’re gone so long.”
“I can imagine.” laughed Trixie. “And what about you? You’re a runaway too….for a few hours at least.”
“Yeah …. I wouldn’t miss this party for anything!!” laughed Tobey. “Where’s the food?”
And food there was. Lots of it. Nuts, berries and fruits! Cheese brought by the cute little field mice, lots of carrots and lettuce by the rabbits and even the dogs had brought extra bones. What a feast they had! What games they played! What carols they sang; praising the Christ Child on the very Eve of His Birthday. This is what they sang:
“Oh, little Baby Jesus,
You know we love You so.
Your Love surrounds and warms us
And gives a lovely glow.
Oh Little Baby Jesus,
We honour and adore,
And every year to us, it seems
We love You more and more.”
“MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!”
Meanwhile, Allan was trying to get to sleep but he had been in bed for hours. There was still no sign of Trixie and Tobey and it was very cold outside.
“I know what to do!” cried Allan as he hopped out of bed and ran downstairs.
“I’ll write a note to Santa and ask him to look out for Trixie and Tobey.” This is what he wrote:
Thank you for all the toys last year and Merry Christmas. If you see my dog Trixie and my cat Tobey, would you please bring them home to us? We miss them so. Having them home for Christmas will be the greatest present of all. Thanks, Santa. PS: Enjoy your milk and cookies.
Allan finally fell asleep but his dreams were troubled.
Around and around the animals danced, sang and ate under the huge fir tree in the middle of the forest. A wonderful bright star shone down on the animals and blessed them. Despite the cold, freezing air, the animals were warmed by the light of the star and all Heaven watched their fun.
Suddenly, as Trixie ran to get a bone, she bumped smack into a tree trunk and hit her head. She lay lifeless in the snow.
“Trixie”, cried Onka, “are you alright? Oh, look, Tobey …. all of you …..Trixie’s really hurt.”
“What can we do?” cried the worried animals.
“I don’t know what to do.” said Onka. “At this hour everyone is at church or in bed asleep. What should we do?”Onka asked Hooty, the Owl ,who was known for his wisdom.
“OO! OO! OO!” hooted the Owl. “You’re asking me what to do about this poor unfortunate dog? Why”, he cried in alarm as he took Trixie’s pulse, “she’s almost dead!! OO! OO! Let me think. Let me think.”
All the animals fell silent so the Owl could really think. Just then the Church bells rang announcing the end of the services. People were going home.
“Hum.” said the Owl, as he saw the brilliant light from the star which shone over all the animals. “Why, of course.” he laughed, “This is Christmas Eve! I know what to do. Follow me and bring Trixie.”
Quickly the animals made a stretcher of pine and cedar boughs for the bears to carry Trixie and a strange procession, led by the wise old Owl, came out of the forest that night carrying with them their dear wounded friend, guided by the light of a star.
As the last bells pealed at St. Mark’s Church, two priests were still in the church vestry, Father Patrick and Father Foley. They were removing their special Christmas robes which they had worn for the midnight mass.
“Father Patrick, did you remember to turn off the lights in the church and make sure that side door is locked, me boy?” the older Father Foley asked in his Irish brogue.
“Oh, I forgot, Father. I’ll do it right away.” Father Patrick said.
As the young priest stepped into the church near the altar, he saw a very unusual sight. In front of the Nativity Scene statues of Mary, Joseph and the
Baby Jesus in a crib, knelt many, many animals. It looked as if there was a stretcher with a lifeless dog on it.
“What …. what …. is this? Am I dreaming?” he asked himself.
Then he saw that a strange brilliant light seemed to surround the animals. They were kneeling and it seemed to the priest that animals were singing. He fell on his knees as he saw a miracle unfold.
Father Foley came in just then and was surprised to see Father Patrick on his knees. The old priest soon saw the glowing light and when he heard the animals singing and praying, he, too, fell on his knees in awe.
“Oh Holy One, Oh, Loving One.
We bring our wounded friend.
Please heal her and restore her life,
So she can live again.
Oh Holy One, Oh Jesus Babe,
We honour and adore.
Please cure our friend
And make her live
As happily as before.”
It seemed to the two men who starred in wonder that the light became stronger and a Heavenly Host of Angels surrounded the wounded, silent dog. The Angels sang with voices so sweet that the priest shivered from the sound. Were the statues of The Nativity smiling also? It was hard to tell because the light was so bright.
Suddenly, Trixie sat up and was soon standing amongst her friends once more. The animals cried in delight and thanksgiving. Then the Mysterious Hosts started to fade from sight and an awesome hush fell over the whole church as everyone there knew that they had witnessed a Gift of Love and Life from our Heavenly Father.
The priests watched in amazement as the joyful procession left the church, the empty stretcher carried by the happy bears.
Finally, Father Foley broke the spell and blessed himself. “I must run and tell the Bishop and everyone.” he cried.
“Father”, said the younger priest, “they will never believe us!”
“Begora!! I do believe you’re right, Father Patrick! I can hardly believe it me-self.”
On the way home, the animals met Santa Claus just as he was about to fly. “Can you take Trixie, Tobey and Onka home, Santa?” asked Hooty, the Owl.
“Sure.” said Santa. “Allan left me a note and I was looking for them. We’d better fly.” And fly, they did.
At home, Trixie and Tobey waved goodbye to Santa and his reindeer and said goodnight to their friend Onka. Trixie barked and scratched at the door and waited. Joan heard it and then Ted and then Allan. All three raced down the stairs at what seemed to be the same time and flew open the door. On the door-step sat Trixie and Tobey, all smiles.
“Trixie!! Tobey!!” cried Allan as he hugged them both. “Am I glad to see you!. You rascals!!” he scolded. ” Don’t you know it’s Christmas?”
Tobey winked at Trixie. “Don’t we know it’s Christmas? We know better than anyone, eh Trix?”
Everyone was happy and hugged each other. Merry Christmas, they cried!!
And it was a very Merry Christmas for sure!!
And that is how Trixie almost missed Christmas.
Enjoyed your column. It is a lovely story, wonderful…!!
Missed seeing this with all the business of Christmas and just reading it now. It is a great story and one I can read to my two little grandsons. Lovely Christmas story.