Monday, December 8, 2014

Lewis the Christmas Bear: The Story of a Teddy and His Girl

There once was a brown bear named Lewis who was sewn together by Mrs. Santa Claus. Of course, this was a very special bear, and Mrs. Claus only had time to make one bear like him a year.

“Love is sewn in every stitch of your fabric,” Mrs. Claus said to Lewis, patting his tummy. “Now go find the children who need you the most on Christmas Eve,” she said with a chuckle.

No one but Mrs. Claus, not even her husband, knew that she had sewn magic healing power into his nose. If Mr. Claus knew that she had done this, he would insist that she do nothing but make healing teddies. Mrs. Claus had a laundry list of essential duties to keep the toy factory running and prepare for Christmas. She even had to clean up after the elves that tended to leave projects half-finished and unpainted.

Between the hustle and bustle, she hardly had a moment to have a cup of tea or a Christmas cookie. However, she knew that the world needed at least one magic Christmas teddy a year to spread healing.

Any child who had sickness or loneliness would only have to hug Lewis and be well. If Lewis rubbed his nose on a child’s cheek, magic healing tingles would go from the child’s head to toes, and the child would be healed by morning, good as a new bouncing ball. 

On Christmas Eve, Mrs. Claus snuck Lewis into her husband’s big, crimson toy sack.

“There is a special someone waiting for you,” Mrs. Claus whispered to Lewis.

She winked at him as she tightened his bow tie and brushed his fabric one last time. Then Mr. Claus grabbed his sack and swung it over his shoulder on the way to his sleigh.

“Ho, ho, ho! I can’t keep Rudolph waiting any longer,” Mr. Claus said, kissing Mrs. Claus on the cheek. 

As the sleigh took off into the crisp, snowy air, Lewis peeked at Rudolph’s shining nose. Peeking a little longer than he should have, Lewis almost fell from the sleigh into the night sky. He grabbed the tassel on the red bag and pulled himself back into the sack, only to be crunched by a soldier. 

“Ouch!” Lewis said. “I’m only a teddy bear. Please be gentle with my fluffy body.”

One house after another, Mr. Claus jumped down the chimney, and Lewis remained stuffed in the bag. Mr. Claus picked a train, puzzle, doll, or even a picture book for the children in each of the homes. 

When Mr. Claus grabbed Lewis, he looked at him and said: “Ho, ho, ho! Aren’t you last year’s model? How did you get in here anyway? I can’t give you out again this year. Merry Christmas! Ho, ho, ho!”

Despite Lewis’ tender cotton skin, Mr. Claus shoved him back into his large red sack. Lewis sat on the bottom of the sack, wondering if he would have to wait until next year to meet any children. Rubbing his tummy, he felt like he had failed Mrs. Claus, who had carefully crafted him.  When Mr. Claus landed on the last roof of the night, it appeared to be a large building with many rooms.

As Mr. Claus crawled from the fireplace, Lewis spied from a hole in the sack, realizing it was a hospital ward. From the corner bed, Lewis heard a girl crying and praying: "God, please send your angels to heal me. My family is so sad that I am sick at Christmas, and they don’t know what to do. Please help me feel better.”

Lewis didn’t wait for Mr. Claus to take him from the sack and give him to the pale-sickly girl. He pulled himself up the side of the red bag an inch at a time until he finally reached the top. The teddy bear jumped from the sack, tiptoed over to her bed, and crawled into her tiny arms. As starlight shone through the window, her tears covered his body, but slowly she started to feel better.

“My name is Lewis,” the teddy bear whispered to the girl as he rubbed his velvet nose on her cheek. “My nose is full of Christmas magic that makes all children feel better,” he said to his girl. Her body tingled from head-to-toe, and she became warm all over, like a big cup of cinnamon apple cider. “You’re going to feel a lot better in the morning,” Lewis said to her, wrapping his arms around her.

“My name is Bernice. I'm 10 years old,” she said to him. “I already feel better, much better than I have in days.”

By the time Mr. Claus finished passing out the toys to the children in the ward, Bernice was fast asleep. Mr. Claus climbed up the chimney and returned home to Mrs. Claus with an empty pack and tired reindeer. In the morning, doctors and nurses gathered at Bernice’s bedside with raised eyebrows. 

“Mr. Claus brought Lewis the Christmas Bear to me last night. Lewis told me I would be well," Bernice said. No one knew what to say, especially Bernice’s parents who cried tears of joy at her complete healing. “I’m going to share Lewis with all the children in the hospital ward, so they can feel better, too,” she whispered to herself.

By Christmas evening, Lewis had rubbed his magic nose on every child’s cheek in the hospital ward. Bernice had made sure that all the children were well and kept the Christmas magic in his nose a secret from the grown-ups. 

The day after Christmas, she went home with Lewis tucked in her knapsack, promising to feed him rice pudding. “Do you have a sweet tooth? My mom makes the best cinnamon rice pudding. It doesn’t take long to make.”

"Thank you very much indeed. I would like to have a tummy full of pudding," Lewis said, patting his stomach.

Every month after that, Bernice visited the hospital ward with Lewis, rubbing his nose on children’s cheeks. She was so glad to be his girl and for him to be her teddy; she would love him forever.


Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters

Dedicated to author C.S. Lewis for his baptized imagination. Inspired by Lewis' "The Horse and His Boy" and his love for rice pudding.

No comments:

Post a Comment