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[at-l] For the season



 THE CHRISTMAS SCOUT
 by Sam Bogan
 
 In spite of the fun and laughter, 13-year old Frank Wilson was not happy.  It was true he had 
received all the presents he wanted.  And he enjoyed the traditional Christmas Eve reunions with 
relatives for the purpose of exchanging gifts and good wishes.
 
 But, Frank was not happy because this was his first Christmas without his brother, Steve, who 
during the year, had been killed by a reckless driver. Frank missed his brother and the close 
companionship they had together.
 
 Frank said good-bye to his relatives and explained to his parents that he was leaving a little 
early to see a friend; and from there he could walk home.  Since it was cold outside, Frank put 
on his new plaid jacket. It was his FAVORITE gift.  He placed the other presents on his new 
sled.
 
 Then Frank headed out, hoping to find the patrol leader of his Boy Scout troup. Frank always 
felt understood by him. Though rich in wisdom, he lived in the Flats, the section of town where 
most of the poor lived, and his patrol leader did odd jobs to help support his family.  To 
Frank's disappointment, his friend was not at home.
 
 As Frank hiked down the street toward home, he caught glimpses of trees and decorations in many 
of the small houses.  Then, through one front window, he glimpsed a shabby room with limp 
stockings hanging over an empty fireplace.  A woman was seated nearby ... weeping.
 
 The stockings reminded him of the way he and his brother had always hung theirs side by side.  
The next morning, they would be bursting with presents. A sudden thought struck Frank -- he had 
not done his "good deed" for the day. Before the impulse passed, he knocked on the door.  "Yes?" 
the sad voice of the woman asked.  "May I come in?" asked Frank.
 
 "You are very welcome," she said, seeing his sled full of gifts, and assuming he was making a 
collection, "but I have no food or gifts for you.  I have nothing for my own children."
 
 "That's not why I am here," Frank replied.  "Please choose whatever presents you would like for 
your children from the sled."  "Why, God Bless You!" the amazed woman answered gratefully.
 
 She selected some candies, a game, the toy airplane and a puzzle.  When she took the Scout 
flashlight, Frank almost cried out.  Finally, the stockings were full.  
 
 "Won't you tell me your name?" she asked, as Frank was leaving.  "Just call me the Christmas 
Scout," he replied.
 
 The visit left Frank touched, and with an unexpected flicker of joy in his heart.  He 
understood that his sorrow was not the only sorrow in the world.  Before he left the Flats, he 
had given away the remainder of his gifts.  The plaid jacket had gone to a shivering boy.
 
 Now Frank trudged homeward, cold and uneasy.  How could he explain to his parents that he had 
given his presents away?  
 
 "Where are your presents, son?" asked his father as Frank entered the house.  Frank answered, 
"I gave them away."
 
 "The airplaine from Aunt Susan? Your coat from Grandma? Your flashlight? We thought you were 
happy with your gifts."  "I was ---- very happy," the boy answered quietly.
 
 "But Frank, how could you be so impulsive?" his mother asked.  "How will we explain to the 
relatives who spent so much time and gave so much love shopping for you?"  His father was firm.  
"You made your choice, Frank.  We cannot afford any more presents."
 
 With his brother gone, and his family disappointed in him, Frank suddenly felt dreadfully 
alone.  He had not expected a reward for his generosity, for he knew that a good deed always 
should be its own reward.  It would be tarnished otherwise. So he did not want his gifts back; 
however he wondered if he would ever again truly recapture joy in his life.  He thought he had 
this evening, but it had been fleeting.  Frank thought of his brother, and sobbed himself to 
sleep.
 
 The next morning, he came downstairs to find his parents listening to Christmas music on the 
radio.  Then the announcer spoke:
 
 "Merry Christmas, everybody!  The nicest Christmas story we have this morning comes from the 
Flats.  A crippled boy down there has a new sled this morning, another youngster has a fine 
plaid jacket, and several families report that their children were made happy last night by 
gifts from a teenage boy who simply called himself the Christmas Scout.  No one could identify 
him, but the children of the Flats claim that the Christmas Scout was a personal representative 
of old Santa Claus himself."
 
 Frank felt his father's arms go around his shoulders, and he saw his mother smiling through her 
tears. "Why didn't you tell us? We didn't understand. We are so proud of you, son."
 
 The carols came over the air again filling the room with music ---
 "...Praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on Earth."
 
 
 
 
 LET US FOLLOW FRANK'S EXAMPLE 
 IN SOME WAY THIS YEAR     

 If there are poor among you in one of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do 
not be selfish or greedy toward them.  But give freely to them, and freely lend them whatever 
they need.

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