Rae was sad. At ten years of age she hadn't been able to earn money to buy Christmas presents for her parents. She loved them so much, and she loved watching their dear faces when they opened a gift she had given them. Her golden brown eyes were swimming in tears as she contemplated a Christmas morning with no gift under the tree for them.
Then, the tears stopped, and a giant smile filled Rae's face with radiance. She knew what to do! Her parents both loved music. Her Father was always in the choir at church. Her Mama sang as she did her household tasks.
Her Dad had purchased a piano soon after her parents married. The unusual thing? He and his wife could NOT play the piano. His reasoning? "Our children will ALWAYS have music in our home."
Rae looked through their children's church hymnal. She wanted the perfect song. When she found, "Oh Hush Thee My Baby," she got goosebumps. The song was PERFECT! It was unusual, not a carol sung all the time. It had rich musical dynamics. Most importantly? Rae could play it on the piano.
Her next step was to involve her four year old sister in the plan. She thought that her parents would enjoy the musical gift even more with two of them participating. It was hard finding a time when both of her parents weren't around to hear them practice. Rae forged ahead.
Rae knew when the perfect night arrived. Both of her parents were home. They were all feeling the Christmas spirit. A lovely tree stood in the corner of their front room. It was silver, aluminum, her sister Joy was far too allergic for any type of evergreen. It shimmered softly in the light.
She said, "Mama, Papa, Joy and I have a Christmas gift that we wish to give you. Do you have some time? Can we give it to you now?"
They both agreed. Rae sat down at the piano to play. Joy stood by Rae's side facing their parents. Rae was very anxious as she played the introduction to the song. She was afraid that she would make a mistake and their well rehearsed gift would be ruined.
As they began to sing, the flowing rhythm, and the sacred words all begin to calm Rae's nervous hands and voice. Rae and Joy's voices blended together well. The sisterhood they shared was evident as they harmonized.
They sang three verses, and somehow it felt to Rae that they got a little better on each verse. She was sad when they finished the last note. It had felt so dear, so right to present this gift of music to her parents. Rae was a little shy to turn around and see her parents faces.
Applause turned her around. Both of her parents were clapping joyfully. Her Father's face concerned her. He was wiping tears away. Sadly she wondered, "Was our singing so poor that it made Dad cry?"
Her Father came to them. Wrapping his long arms around both of them he gave them each a sound kiss. "Oh girls. This was the best present that you could ever have given us."
Their Mama echoed their Dad's words. "This IS the best gift. Thank you, thank you. I could never have gotten anything that I enjoyed more."
Rae's heart seemed to expand with joy. She hugged her little sister. The warmth in the room had very little to do with the job that their furnace did. Rae knew that she would never forget that wonderful moment.