Far above the treetops and the fluffy clouds, yes, even beyond the blue sky, long ago dwelt a King. His kingdom stretched far and wide, and everyone in it was so happy that it was called the Kingdom of Happiness. Soft strains of music and dainty rainbow colors floated in the air in that faraway land. Then one day it seemed as though a jarring note was struck. The King listened, and the murmuring sound of discord came closer. Presently the King called a little Prince to him and said: "The earth children seem not to have happy hearts, and the love light is growing dim. Someone must go to these earth children and carry a fresh love light."
"Oh, Father, let me go," said the little Prince.
This pleased the King. But he knew it would not be an easy task and so he said: "Are you ready to go, my son? It is dark in the earth world, and sometimes it will be hard to light the love light."
"Yes, Father, I am ready to go whenever you send me," said the Prince.
So the King called some of his messengers in the Kingdom of Happiness and said: "My son, the little Prince, is going on a long journey to a far-away land. Make everything ready for his visit to the earth children." The King's messengers talked among themselves, and soon great preparations were being made for the going away of the Prince.
In a village in the earth world lived a beautiful young woman. She lived in a little house surrounded by a garden. Often she sat in the garden and read. The birds would fly around her and sometimes a white dove would perch on her shoulder and coo to her. Mary was the young woman's name; she had a winsome manner and a sweet smile. As she went about the village doing kind deeds, she made many people happy and everyone loved her.
In that earth land was a king who ruled in a most unkind way. He really made his people sad. His kingdom was very different from the Kingdom of Happiness above the blue sky. Because so many people were unhappy Mary 's heart was sad. She did not like to see others suffer; she wanted them to be happy and unafraid.
There was one story Mary particularly liked and which she read over and over. In it the King of the Kingdom of Happiness had promised to send the Prince of Peace to save the earth children. Mary often talked with the King, her Heavenly Father, and told Him she longed for this little Prince to come. One day after she had been talking with the King, she felt very happy. And she began to sing, and her heart felt so light and gay. She thought the birds sang sweeter and that even the sunlight was brighter than usual. It seemed to grow lighter in the garden, and then right in front of her, surrounded by beautiful rainbow colors, stood an Angel. The Angel spoke to Mary and told her that her Heavenly Father was going to keep His promise to the earth child, and that he would send the Prince of Peace to her to love and cherish for her very own.
You can imagine how happy this made the lovely Mary. In the evening when her husband came home, she told him of the visit of the Angel, and so Joseph was happy too. Then they began to plan for the coming of the little Prince.
In olden days people paid taxes just as they do nowadays. One evening Joseph came home and said: "Mary, dear, it is time for us to go to Bethlehem to pay our taxes." Then Mary and Joseph started right away. Mary rode on a donkey, and Joseph walked beside her. They were both so happy at the thought of the coming of the little Prince that they talked about it as they went along.
After a long, hard journey they reached Bethlehem. Joseph made Mary as comfortable as he could, and then went to see about getting a room in the inn. He was gone quite a while, and when he came back to Mary he said: "My dear, there is not a room left in the inn. There is nothing but the stable where the cattle are kept. But it is nice and clean."
And Mary said: "That is all right, Joseph dear, I do not mind in the least. We shall be comfortable, and I am so tired that I shall go right to sleep." So they went into the stable. The cows mooed as if to welcome them, and their soft, kind eyes seemed to show pleasure at the coming of Joseph and Mary.
On a bed of soft, sweet-smelling hay Mary was comfortable and happy. She thanked her Heavenly Father for His wonderful promise, and then she slept.
In the Kingdom of Happiness the Angels were busy starting the little Prince on his journey to the earth world. An Angel took him up gently and carried him, saying: "Go, pretty child, and carry a message of love and happiness to the children of earth. The light of love is in your eyes, and it will never grow dim. A spark of light glows in your heart, and it will grow brighter and brighter."
And the King was pleased and said: "My son, you have a great work to do to make brighter the love light in a darkened world. Bless you, my child."
From the Kingdom of Happiness to the earth world stretched a bridge of love, and across this bridge the Angel carried the heavenly Prince. The singing Angels and the Angels of Light attended him. Angelic music floated out clear and sweet on the starlit air. Soon all the heavenly host were praising God and singing: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
After reaching the earth the bright light of a certain beautiful Star guided the Angel to Mary. As the Angel gave the little Prince to her he said: "Guard him carefully, for he is the gift of God."
Then Mary and the Prince were suddenly bathed in brightness. As she looked into his eyes, she marveled at the love light there. Every baby has light in its face, but this little one had the light of God in his eyes. The angelic music and the bright Star attracted many people, and soon there were visitors crowding in to see the baby Prince. Shepherds came from the field nearby. They had seen the Star and followed it, and it had led them to the place where the babe lay in a manger.
Now, dear children, this is the story of a little Prince of Peace, the Light Bearer to the children of earth, whose birthday we celebrate each Christmas day.
The Star that stood over the place where the Prince lay shines today just as brightly as it did then, lighting each little child on its way across the bridge of love from the kingdom of earth to the Kingdom of Happiness. Let us follow the Star and keep our love light burning bright to light others on the way to happiness and joy.