The Toymaker’s Gift

By Catherine L. Osornio

toymaker1Long ago in a small village, a toymaker was busy at his workbench making special gifts for Christmas. He was an aged man with gentle wrinkles on his face, stark white hair, and kindly blue eyes. His hands, though calloused by years of carving, sanding and polishing, were still strong and agile.

When all the toys were finished, he placed each gift into big, elaborate boxes and wrapped them with delicate colored papers and ornate ribbons of gold and silver. But the special gift he worked so hard on was placed in a small, plain box and wrabrown-paperpped in common brown paper.


On the day of the party, a large sleigh was sent to retrieve the presents. The toys were loaded up and taken to the mayor’s house in the center of the village. The mayor, who loved to show off his power and prestige, had his mansion decorated from top to bottom with garlands, streamers, candles, ribbons and ornaments of red, green, gold and silver.

In the corner of the ball room, the colossal Christmas tree almost touched the lofty ceiling. It treewas elegantly adorned with small gold candles and imported glass bulbs of rich colors. As the gifts were placed under the tree, a houseman started to tuck the brown-papered box into a hidden corner. The toymaker stopped him and placed the package delicately atop the front-most gifts.

When the party started, the mayor presented his three children to the guests. Hubert, the eldest child of 10, was as proud as his father and extremely boastful. Henrietta, the oldest daughter of 8, was spoiled and thought the world revolved around her. Little Grace, on the other hand, was a beautiful and quiet child of 6 who, though crippled from birth, had the sweetest disposition of them all.

Hubert and Henrietta looked greedily at the gifts before them. Hubert was wondering how many of the big boxes were his. Henrietta loved the beautiful colored papers and knew, of course, that she deserved her presents. Both of these children glared at the plain package with disdain, and wondered why it was even under their magnificent tree.

Grace was intrigued by the simple gift. As the packages were handed out, or rather grabbed by the others, Grace tried to keep her eyes on the brown-papered package as it was moved about by the housemen who didn’t know quite what to do with it.

When all but that one box was handed out, Hubert and Henrietta proceeded to rip open their gifts without any thought to the care taken to make and wrap each one. It was only a matter of minutes before all their boxes lay strewn about the floor and the contents tossed in a corner.

While all the commotion was going on, Grace, who had ignored her pile of presents, slowly dragged herself to the tree and picked up the lone gift. The toymaker, who was watching from a distance, smiled. Grace started to unwrap the box when Hubert and Henrietta both let out a shout. The present they had originally ignored suddenly became the object of their desires. They began to protest loudly. They each wanted to own the box, no matter what it contained.

The mayor, who generally yielded to the pleas of his older children, saw the silent tears of his youngest child. He observed the scattered boxes, papers, and shunned toys of the others. He was amazed that Grace had left a whole batch of shiny and colorful packages untouched for this one, simple and unassuming parcel.

Something tugged at the mayor’s heart. Normally he was repulsed by such a package. But he knew that this child, who never complained about her circumstances, would have this gift for herself. Hushing his other two into silence, the mayor nodded to Grace to continue.

All eyes were upon Grace now:  curious eyes; scornful eyes; jealous eyes; and amazed eyes. She carefully untied the string, folded open the paper, and began to lift the lid. A gasp went through the crowd as the contents were revealed. Shame filled the hearts of many around, including the mayor’s. For inside the box, was a simple, but beautifully carved manger with the Christ child manger21inside, a symbol that had been sorely forgotten amidst the lavishness of the whole affair.

The mayor looked at the toymaker with sorrowful eyes. “Toymaker,” he said softly as he picked up the manger and held it gently in his hands, “you have outdone yourself tonight. In this simple little box, you have reminded me of the most valuable gift of all, the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is truly humbling, for I, through my pride and possessions, have failed to remember what I once held dear, the most life changing message of all:  ‘For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.’ You have more than earned your pay.” He held out a thick envelope.

The toymaker smiled with tears in his eyes and shook his head. “I have already been paid,” he said. “If my skills can be used to further the kingdom of God, then I have already been rewarded in heaven.” With a nod to all in the room, the toymaker took his leave.

Walking home through the quiet streets of the village, the toymaker looked up into the starry sky. Although his pockets were empty, he felt content. He sensed his Lord saying to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 2008 Catherine L. Osornio

Text and pictures may not be reproduced without permission of the author.


One Response

  1. Catherine, beautiful story!


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