A Christmas Story: A True Story of a Holiday Miracle

A Christmas Story: A True Story of a Holiday Miracle
By: John Harricharan
Long, long ago, in a small, tropical village in a
country far, far away, a little boy lived with his
parents in a two room house. He could not have been
more than four or five years old and his entire
experience of life was limited to the fishing and
farming village, his neighbors and friends.
It wasn’t that the little boy was unhappy. Given his
situation, he was a rather cheerful, optimistic lad,
but times were hard for his parents. The village was
recovering from the recent floods that had wiped out
his parents livelihood. And the Christmas holidays were
just around the corner.

Now, in this little village of long ago, people of
various religions lived and worked together in harmony.
Everyone enjoyed each other’s religious holidays and
everyone looked forward to the celebrations where
Christians, Hindus, Muslims and others would gather.
The parents would provide gifts for the children and
little boys and little girls would squeal with delight
as they played with their simple toys.    

It wasn’t an expensive gift by today’s standards, but
in that village of long ago, as Christmas approached,
any gift would be considered expensive. Yes, you and I
would probably smile when we realize that all the
little boy wanted was a balloon — just a simple little
blue balloon.

You see, the little boy had seen pictures of brightly
colored balloons and had even seen balloons that
belonged to children of more affluent families. But he
had never had his own balloon and so he longed for one.
In the village, balloons were only sold in one shop and
that shop was far from the little boy’s home.

And the cost of a balloon? Just one penny! You would
think that a penny was hardly anything, but in those
days, literally every penny had to be used very
carefully. When the little boy’s parents had to choose
between food and a balloon, the choice was naturally

The little boy was very sad. For weeks he had been
thinking of the lovely, blue balloon he would get for
Christmas. After another day or so, his mother, like
all good mothers, determined to find her little boy a
penny to get his blue balloon. Again, like most
mothers, she sacrificed her own needs to get her son
his wish.

Imagine how happy the little boy was! Clutching the
penny tightly in his small hand, he set off for the
store. He did not care that he would have to walk for
more than a mile in the blazing hot, tropical sun to
get his balloon. He moved as fast as his little legs
would carry him — sometimes half-running and then
walking quickly. Now he would have his blue balloon.
But fate played a trick on the little boy. There was no
blue balloon at the store — only one balloon was left.
And it was a drab green one, a color he didn’t really
like. He probably thought that a green balloon was
better than no balloon at all, so he bought and paid
for it. But things were to get much worse very quickly.

As he was returning home, he decided to inflate the
balloon by blowing air into it. Suddenly, there was a
loud sound and the balloon burst into pieces. At first,
the boy couldn’t believe it. He just stopped and stared
at the rubbery shards in his hand. After all the
trouble to get this one balloon and then, just as in
life, in a split second it was gone.

He continued walking home and although he was a brave
little chap, tears streamed down his cheeks. After all,
he was just four or five years old. His parents would
not be able to spare another penny to buy a replacement
balloon. And even if they were able, there were no
balloons left in the store. By now, his tiny feet were
tired from all the walking so he sat down on a little
rock at the side of the road.

That’s when he saw the stranger. He wasn’t quite sure
why he hadn’t seen the man sooner. He must have been
too absorbed in his own problems to notice anything.
Rarely were there strangers who came through the
village. The man smiled a kindly smile and asked the
little boy why he was crying.

The little boy explained his sad situation. With a
knowing wink, the man reached into his shoulder pack
and pulled out a small box. “I have a gift for you,” he
said as he handed the box to the little boy.

“Go ahead. Open it,” he continued. Imagine the little
boy’s surprise as he peered into the box and discovered
three, uninflated, beautiful blue balloons, each one
with a picture of a star on it. He turned to say “thank
you” to the stranger, but there was nobody there. The
man was gone.

Perhaps it was an angel, thought the little boy. Or
maybe the stranger just disappeared into thin air. But
that would be magic, reasoned the little fellow. You
see, there is magic in the heart and soul of every
little boy and every little girl on Earth. They know
it, but they forget the magic as they grow older.

Years have come and years have gone, but that was one
of the happiest Christmases I ever spent. Every once in
a while, or perhaps, even more often than once in a
while, if I choose to sit quietly and revisit that
scene of yesteryear, I could still see the kindness in
the stranger’s eyes and the beautiful stars on the blue

It was a great lesson that I learned that day.
Sometimes when life takes something away from you, it
is only because it wants to bring you something much
better. Life took my little balloon because it wanted
me to have three beautiful, bigger and better balloons.

We may not understand why things happen the way they
do, but this I know: If we trust the process and we
keep on keeping on, the dark valleys of life will
eventually lead into beautiful fields of light and
splendor. You are cared for and protected by a Force
that transcends time and space — a Force that has
existed forever and that loves you unconditionally.

–John Harricharan

Video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvYbUP9fgzI
Award-winning author of the bestseller, “When You Can Walk on Water, Take the Boat.
Post #970
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  • guyaneseonline  On 12/20/2011 at 9:52 am

    December 20, 2011
    John Harricharan john@insight2000.com
    to Cyril Bryan – Guyanese Online
    Hi Cyril,

    I have been reading your “GuyaneseOnline” blog for some time now and am delighted at what you have done and are doing to help Guyana and to help keep the memories alive. I left Guyana for the first time about half a century ago. Although I’ve traveled and worked in many countries, I always find that thoughts eventually return to the little village in West Coast Berbice where I was born.

    Thanks for making your blog available to many of us. I appreciate you.

    Every year, around this time, I send a special article to the readers on my mailing list. The articled is titled, “A Christmas Story: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle.” It is not about politics, but rather inspirational in nature. Every year, the article serves to remind me of my earliest years in the little village where I was born — the village called Bush Lot on the West Coast of Berbice, in a country once known as British Guiana.

    I have pasted the article below and if you feel it would be of interest to your readership, feel free to publish it. If I can do anything to help you with the wonderful work you are doing with your blog, please let me know.

    Kind regards,
    (John Harricharan)

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 12/20/2011 at 5:48 pm

    Loved your story, John. The seemingly little miracles in our lives make the greatest difference.

    • John Harricharan  On 12/20/2011 at 11:15 pm

      Thank you for your comments, Rosaliene. It has been a long time since I visited the old country. Perhaps, one day soon.

  • Ron. Persaud  On 12/30/2011 at 8:37 pm

    Your story recalls many occasions where our fun was centered around balloons – bladders to us, children. There were “round” and “squash” bladders. Later they came imprinted with seasonal greetings and art. “Blowing up a bladder” was akin to a rite of passage to us, boys.Then we learned to annoy the elders by stroking the tightly-inflated balloon to produce that characteristic nerve-jarring vibration. It was a thrill to burst another’s (especially a tattletale sister’s) balloon without being found out; and painful in equal measure, when we were found out! Cherries were like a by-product of balloons. We had to learn to make those also and with them came additional ways to amuse or annoy.
    Thanks for a brief, pleasant nostalgic trip to far away and long ago.
    Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • John Harricharan  On 01/02/2012 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks for your lovely comment, Ron. Yes, we did call the balloon, “bladder.” Actually, I knew what a “bladder” was before I knew that it was a balloon 🙂

  • Bebi Gafoor  On 12/30/2011 at 9:29 pm

    so beautiful and so true, your story is a part of some of our lives,I recall my gift from santa was a balloon,something I had cherished during the holidays as a child,Grew up here , this story took me back to a beautiful village when I was a child,our folks didn’t have much money,but sure had alot of love to go around.Have a very happy,healthy and prosperous new year to you and family

  • John Harricharan  On 01/02/2012 at 5:34 pm

    Bebi, your memories of the old country are similar to mine in many ways. The village where I was born now exists, in its original form, in my heart and memories. Forever, it will be the same beautiful village as when I left it for the last time.

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