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by Lorraine Quirke 
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Toby the Squirrel with a Pure Heart

Toby was a little squirrel with a big heart and an even bigger problem. His mommy was very sick. Toby and his mother lived in the forest. He loved life in the woods and enjoyed romping up and down the tall trees with his friends. Sometimes, he teased the sparrows by pretending to chase them. His friends all knew of Toby’s gentle soul and wouldn’t hurt any of God’s creatures.

Toby and his mommy lived inside a carved-out tree trunk at the top of a sturdy oak. A beautiful wreath of yellow mums hung on their door and a flower box decorated with tiny green and red lights rested beneath Toby’s bedroom window.

Every day Toby sat on a branch, with his bushy tail drooping down. He dreamed of Christmas and prayed his mother would get well. His large chocolate brown eyes snapped with excitement when he watched his animal friends play games in the fluffy snow with the tall evergreens standing majestically in the background.

Toby liked to sit and gaze out his window. He saw the moon and stars twinkling brightly in the sky. He thought the stars were winking at him. Toby giggles and winks back.

Christmas was coming and that was all Toby could think about. There was only one request on his Christmas list. He wanted his mommy to be well. Little Toby was hoping for a Christmas miracle.

One night as he was sitting on the branch of the sturdy oak, Toby prayed with his whole heart, “Lord, my mommy is sick. She needs a miracle.

Some of his friends on the ground were searching for acorns. They heard Toby praying and started laughing.

”Why do you think a miracle will happen to your mommy?” Nutsey the squirrel asked. “Miracles just don’t happen.”

Chip the chipmunk agreed. “You should have some fun and forget about miracles.”

Toby’s eyes filled with tears. As he scurried down the tree trunk, he spotted Screech the owl on a tree branch.

Toby asked him, “Screech, do you believe in miracles?”

Screech the owl called back, “Hoo! Hoo! I sure do!”

Toby brushed his tears with his furry paw. The wise old owl asked.

“Toby, why are you crying?”

“My mama is very sick and I am praying for a miracle, but my friends tell me miracles don’t happen,” Toby sniffled.

Screech flew over to Toby and put his wing around the little squirrel’s trembling shoulder.

“God loves us, Toby, and He answers prayer. Keep on believing and follow your heart. Hoo! Hoo!

Toby thanked Screech for being a good friend. “I believe my mommy will get well.”

On Christmas Eve, all of Toby’s friends squealed when they discovered nuts and other goodies in their Christmas stockings.

Nutsey the squired hollered really loud, “Chip, I can’t wait to see what Santa is going to bring me this year.”

Chip the chipmunk did a back flip and said, “Me either! Christmas is my most favorite time of the year!”

“Surely my Christmas miracle will come on Christmas Eve,” Toby said as he sits on a branch waiting and waiting. The cold winds make him shiver. “Maybe I should go inside where it’s warm.”

Just when Toby took one last look at the winter scene, Toby saw something that took his breath away. The beautiful snowcapped evergreens suddenly were filled with tiny lights bursting with vibrant colors that looked like stars coming down from the heavens. Toby squinted because the colors were so vivid, strong and bright. An angel choir filled the sky and began to sing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Son of God!”

The North Star pointed to the center of the glowing trees. Sitting under the glow was a Babe lying in a manger.

Toby wasn’t cold any longer. His heart beat wildly as he scooted closer to the Baby lying on the straw.

“I know who you are,” Toby whispered as he leaned over the makeshift crib and gave the Baby a gentle kiss on the cheek. The Baby smiled at Toby. Scalding tears fell from Toby’s eyes.

“My mommy is sick. Could you ask your Father to heal her?” The little squirrel continued, “I love her so much and I know if You ask Your Father, He will answer.”

Toby glanced at the bright star and then he looked down at the smiling Baby. At that very moment, Toby knew his prayer had been answered and his mommy would be well.

Toby whistled all the way back to his tree house. When Nutsey and Chip saw him, Nutsey called out, “Toby do you still believe in miracles?”

Toby nodded his head, “I believe in miracles more now than ever before.”

Chip tipped his head sideways. “I wish I could see a miracle.”

“You will, Chip, and so will you, Nutsey! When you see my mommy get all better you will believe in miracles.” Toby ran up the sturdy oak and disappeared into the tree-house.

Toby’s eyes sparkled like stars when he saw his mommy stringing popcorn to put on the little fir tree.

Toby, I don’t know what has happened, but I am feeling stronger tonight.” His mommy looked up and continued, “You sure look happy.”

“I am happy, mommy!” Toby smiled from ear to ear. “I have been praying for a miracle and tonight God answered in a special way.”

“What were you praying for dear?” Mommy asked.

“I prayed for you and I knew when I came home you would be feeling better!” Toby buried his face in his mother’s lap.

The mother squirrel stroked her son’s head. “I believe God has given us both a Christmas miracle!”

Toby lifted his head and said, “What is your miracle, mommy?”

“You are!” Mommy hugged Toby tightly.” And we will always remember when Heaven came down to Earth one Christmas Eve and answered your prayer for a Christmas miracle.

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