Jasmine's Christmas Present
When Jasmine was eight, she was given her best Christmas present ever. It was grown-up necklace, a silver star on a chain, which had belonged to Jasmine's grandma who had worn it all the time. Grandma had died a while ago, but now Jasmine was eight, she was old enough for the necklace.
Jasmine wore her new necklace all the time, just like Grandma. When she went to school, she wore it underneath her school shirt, so that it didn't show. But at all other times she wore it proudly so that everyone could see it. Somehow, the star gave her hope and made her feel close to Grandma again.
Then one day she lost it. She put it on in the morning just as she always did, but when she came to get ready for bed that evening, the necklace had gone. Jasmine was distraught. She felt very guilty, as though she had betrayed Grandma. And without the starry necklace, she felt she had no hope and had lost Grandma all over again.
Jasmine's mum bought her a new necklace, a cross on a chain, but it wasn't the same. It had no real meaning for Jasmine, so she hardly wore it. It wasn't Grandma's necklace.
As Jasmine grew up, she eventually forgot about the necklace. She forgot a lot of other things, too. She forgot about Grandma, who had been dead a long time by now. She forgot a lot of what she had learned in school and she forgot a lot of what she had learned at home. She went a little wild and began to do bad things.
As soon as she was old enough, Jasmine left home. She left without a word to anyone. One Christmas Eve, she packed her bags and took off.
Surprisingly, Jasmine made good. She landed a job in an office and discovered she had a flair for the work. She was soon earning a great deal of money. Of course, she had to lie a little and cheat a little and tread on other people to get to the top, but that was the accepted way of life for all those in high positions. It was the only way to get on. Besides, she told herself that as soon as she had earned enough, she'd let someone else take over.
The trouble was, she never did earn enough. Although she became very wealthy, Jasmine always wanted more. She was never quite satisfied. And although she had a fantastic and glamorous lifestyle, she felt empty inside, as though there was no hope anywhere and life was a waste of time.
Then one day, as she passed a little old antique shop in a scruffy London street, she spotted a star on a chain. It was exactly like the one she had lost all those years ago. On impulse, Jasmine went into the shop and bought the necklace, which she slipped around her neck.
Immediately, memories started flooding back. She remembered her grandma and the love she had always shown Jasmine. She remembered her home and the warmth she had always felt. Suddenly, she realised she no longer cared about money. Suddenly, it didn't matter. Only one thing mattered and that was going home.
Jasmine drove home as fast as she could. But when the door of the old house was opened, everything was different. Over the years her parents had grown old and frail. Her brothers and sisters had grown up and now had children of their own. The house was furnished quite differently and the rooms seemed much smaller than Jasmine remembered.
But one thing was exactly the same. Love poured out of the house and enveloped Jasmine without any questions asked. There was no anger, no resentment, no recriminations. Jasmine was welcomed home joyfully and welcomed back into a love which made her feel safe and secure and wanted. The star had brought her hope, just as the star over the stable at Bethlehem brought hope to the world.
Jasmine never left home again. And that Christmas was the best Christmas ever.