Robert H. Gilbert, Jr.
  December 19, 1999
I wonder what itís like to be in Heaven,
each year, when Christmas comes around.
I wonder what itís like to be in Heaven
with the Lord, my wings, and a crown.

I had been sitting at my desk for about ten hours, with three trash cans full of crumpled papers and only four lines written. Every time I began writing another line or two, they didnít make any sense. So, I decided it was time to take a break. Getting up from the desk, I went to the kitchen and got another cup of coffee. Carrying it into the living room, I sat down in my recliner (by the fireplace), propped up my feet, sipped the coffee, and leaned my head back against the cushion. (The warm fire, hot coffee, and soft cushions helped relax all the muscles in my body.)

As I began to relax, my eyelids slowly closed and I fell into a deep, relaxed, sleep. I could feel my body floating skyward, so high I could look down at the Earth below. Now, I was going past the moon, then past Mars, Saturn, and even Pluto. Next, I was out into the Milky Way. How far I was going, I did not know. But, it seemed that I did not have control of my body.

Standing on what seemed to be a large cloud, I was scared of falling through. But, each time I took a step, I seemed to float. Not knowing which way to go, I said, "Eenie, meenie, mynie and moe," and went in that direction ... just started floating, one step at a time.

As I continued floating, on my way to who knows where, a bright light appeared before me. As I got accustomed to the light, I could make out the form of an angel. She spread her arms outward, then spoke in a soft voice, "Welcome."

"Welcome to where?" I wanted to know.

"Follow me," she said.

Floating for a ways, she led me before something that I could not believe I was seeing. There stood the tallest Christmas tree I had ever seen! Lights were in all the colors in the rainbow, hanging like tiny stars, on every limb of the tree. Under the tree were so many presents, I couldnít begin to count them. There must have been a million or more! Standing back from the tree, I looked up to see the biggest and brightest star I had ever seen. Iím sure it was the North Star.

Noticing the people around me, they were all cheerful and singing carols such as Silent Night, Noel, Little Town of Bethlehem, and Away in a Manger.

"How did they manage to hand out all those presents on Christmas day?" I asked the angel, who was giving me the tour. "Santa must be a busy man." Then I looked down at the presents and saw that there were no names on them. "How do you know which presents belong to whom?" She told me they were all the same thing.

"Theyíre all the same presents?" I asked, surprised.

"Yes, they are all the same," said the angel.

"Not a very exciting Christmas for the children," I observed.

She just smiled.

As we floated around, I could see other people taking presents to the tree. "So many presents are going under the tree, you wonít be able to see the tree by Christmas day," I said. Again, she just smiled. "Follow me. I want to show you something."

I donít know how far we had gone before we stopped. Then, she pointed with her arm, "Look."

As I looked at what she was pointing to, my eyes bulged out and I lost my breath. There were rows and rows of Christmas trees with lights and presents under each one, just like the first tree that I had seen. Every tree was in a row. Not one tree was out of line. I asked the angel how many trees were there. "There are twelve rows . . . one row for each month of the year. There are approximately 43,200 trees per row."

Staring at her in awe, I asked, "Why so many?"

"Because there are sixty minutes in an hour, twenty-four hours in a day, and thirty days in a month. Sir, donít you understand? We have Christmas here every day."

Having left there, we went back to the big tree. A long line of people stood there, waiting for their presents. There was a little girl, kneeling under the tree, holding a present in her little hands. She looked up and smiled as she continued to open her present. She took out her wings, a harp, and a halo. She played her harp for a few minutes, then put on her halo, then her wings. As she put her wings in place, she turned to me and said, "Mister, do these wings fit okay?"

"Darling, you look just like an angel!" I said.

With tears in my eyes, I turned and walked away. I tried to convince myself that this was just a dream.

Suddenly I heard a big banging sound, over and over. Opening my eyes, I was still sitting in my recliner, with my coffee cup in my hand. Having touched the cup, it was still very hot. Again, I heard a banging sound and realized it was someone at the front door.

I got my feet on the floor, set my cup down on the table, stood up and stretched this way and that, then walked over to the front door. Having opened the door, there stood a little girl with a present in her hand. She stretched her arms forward to give me the present and wished me a Merry Christmas. As I took the present, I said, "Little girl, do I know you? Have we met somewhere before?" She just smiled, then turned and went down the sidewalk.

Going back to the chair, I started to sit down. Then, I stopped. "Did she say Merry Christmas?" I walked over to the wall and looked at the calendar. I was right ... it was only May.

I looked down at the present, then went to my chair and sat down. Slowly untying the ribbon, I opened the lid on the box. There was a small pair of wings, a harp, and a crown. So, my dream was real after all. After getting up out of my recliner, I crossed the room to sit down at my desk. Now, the words came freely.

You donít have to wonder about your loved one
being gone on this Christmas day.
You donít have to worry about Christmas
ícause itís Christmas, in Heaven, every day.

© 1999 by Robert H. Gilbert, Jr.
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