The sun had just come up and was shining through the window when little Johnny awoke. It was Christmas morning and Johnny couldn’t wait to see how many presents were beneath the Christmas tree.
In a single motion, Johnny threw off his covers and slid out of bed, then he tip-toed down the stairs to see the Christmas tree.
When he got there, he couldn’t believe his eyes; he’d never seen so many presents before! He was so excited that he ran upstairs and woke up his parents, and soon they were ready to open up their presents.
Johnny’s first present was a big red fire truck. He laughed with glee and tore into his next present. It was a giant robot, just like one he’d seen at the toy store. Then he opened up a cowboy hat with a sheriff’s badge, a couple of matchbox cars, and an electronic racetrack.
“Wow,” said Johnny. “This is the best Christmas ever! I got everything I wanted! I can’t wait to play with all of my new stuff!”
When they were finished opening their presents, Johnny’s family went to church, and afterwards, they gathered together with their relatives at Johnny’s grandparent’s house to celebrate Christmas. All of Johnny’s cousins were there, and some of them had brought along their new toys.
Johnny’s cousin Alex was playing with his Lego’s and was building an airplane. Tyler had a football. Keri was listening to a new CD player. Clint was playing with a Spider-Man toy, and Stacy was admiring her snowboard.
Johnny looked at all of their new things and said to his mother and father, “Why didn’t I get any Lego’s? Why didn’t I get a football or a Spider-Man toy? I want a snowboard, too!”
But his mother frowned at him. “Johnny, you got a fire truck, a sheriff’s badge, a robot, and a racetrack.”
“I know, Mom, but I want what they have!”
“Johnny,” his father said, reassuringly. “Look at your little cousins playing with their toys and how happy they are. They didn’t get a fire truck or a robot. They didn’t get a sheriff’s badge or matchbox cars. They’re just happy with what they have. Before you knew what your cousins got, you said that this was the best Christmas ever, remember?”
Johnny’s eyebrows went up as he thought about this. His dad was right. He did say that this was the best Christmas ever.
“You see, Johnny,” said his mother, “You’re lucky to have what you have, and your cousins are lucky to have what they have. Everybody gets different gifts because everybody wants different things. You said you got everything you wanted, so let’s just thank God for that. Now why don’t you go over and play with your cousins. I’m sure they’ll be glad to share their gifts with you.”
Johnny smiled. He could see that his parents were right. This really was the best Christmas ever.
So you see, there’s always going to be things that other people have that you don’t have. And sometimes you’re going to have things that they don’t have. It’s when we share these things that everyone experiences the most joy.
Excerpted from Shine Like the Sun: A Collection of Children’s Stories by Adam Soto