Lulu was a very special little girl with a really special big brother, affectionately known as Bugs. Lulu was sick sometimes so she knew all about what it was to hurt and not feel good. This made her heart very big and very sweet. She could so easily see other people’s hurt and knew how to love them back to feeling better. The big brother knew how to be caring because loving his little Lulu the way he did, his heart too was very big from all the selfless kindness he had learned.
Lulu and Bugs were looking forward to Christmas, when Bugs got an email one day from Santa. It read:Dear Bugs and Lulu, I am running late this year and I need a couple of great kids to help me or there may be houses I cannot get to on Christmas eve. I know that you two are very good at helping others, so can you help Santa this year? I need you to take over gift delivery for the west coast. I will drop off a bag of presents with addresses next week. Look next to your fireplace in the morning on Tuesday.”
Now of course Bugs printed out Santa’s email and showed it to Lulu right away. “How are we going to help?” asked Bugs.
“We are going to have to find away to fly around the sky and deliver packages to the children on the west coast,” said Lulu.
“I wish we had some reindeer,” said the big brother. “That would make everything perfect. We could fly around and get gifts to all the kids in time for Christmas morning.”
Then Lulu had an idea, an absolutely brilliant and wonderful idea. “There is a Labrador retriever that lives not too far from here named Jeter. The owner is always saying how Jeter doesn’t walk anywhere, he flies.”
“Ummm, the owner might have meant that differently than you are taking it, Lulu.”
“No, she said, shaking her head. “I believe that Jeter the Labrador can fly and he is just the dog for the job! We can make him a reindeer costume and that will help.” So Lulu excitedly ran off and found a brown bath towel and some old felt in her art area, and she started making a costume for Jeter, so he could fly like a reindeer.
Tuesday morning there was a big bag of gifts next to the fireplace, just as Santa had said. Attached to the bag was an envelope filled with names and addresses…and on the envelope was a small note that looked like it was written in Santa’s own handwriting: Don’t worry, your mom and dad cannot see this bag. It is invisible to everyone but you. Thanks again for your help—Santa
“Well that’s a relief, “said the big brother after he read the note. Now I hope we’ll find a way to get all these presents delivered.
Lulu rolled her eyes. “I told you, Jeter can fly. We just need to dress him up in some antlers and some other stuff so that he looks like a reindeer. Look at what I made.” Lulu pulled out the brown doggie cape and antlers from under the couch and smiled proudly as she held them up for Bugs.
“We have to figure out how to get Jeter without actually stealing him from the yard,” said Bugs.
“Why don’t we just offer to walk him on Christmas Eve?” So the plan began to take shape. Lulu and Bugs had a reindeer costume for Jeter and a way to get the dog for Christmas Eve. And next to the fireplace was a bag of gifts that they were going to deliver to all the kids on the west coast.
Bugs walked over to the bag. “This is going to be really heavy.” But just as he said that the bag rose a couple of inches off of the floor.
“OMG,” said Lulu, “looks like all we will have to do is guide it.
Later that afternoon their mom was serving them soup and crackers for lunch. The kids spoke in whispers and were carefully hiding a list that they were making. It was a list of everything that they would need to do Christmas Eve in order to get the presents delivered.
“You two seem like you have a little plan going,” said mom.
Quickly Bugs put the list in his pocket and grabbed a cracker. “There’s no plan. We were just talking about Christmas and how cool it’s going to be.”
The mom smiled. “Well, don’t let me interrupt,” she said, and she returned to rattling around the kitchen or whatever it is that mothers actually do in the kitchen.
It seems like the days couldn’t go fast enough between the now and Christmas Eve and Lulu and Bugs had never been so excited. They had moved all of the gardening tools out of a large wheel barrow in the garage and decided it was big enough to hold them and the bag of presents. They rigged up a harness for Jeter so that he could pull the wheelbarrow across the sky, though Bugs wasn’t too sure about a Labrador retriever actually flying. Lulu was convincing though.
On Christmas Eve day, Lulu wasn’t feeling too well. It happened sometimes She had good days and not so good days. Bugs was afraid that maybe they wouldn’t be able to go. Life could be up and down like that at his house. One minute you have exciting plans and the next minute Lulu’s needs become the centerpiece of the family. By afternoon though, Lulu was feeling strength flowing into her body and her heart and she called out to Bugs from her bed. Bugs sat on the edge of Lulu’s bed and Lulu broke into a big, mischievous grin. “Let’s do this. Come and get me after mom and dad have gone to bed.”
A light snow was falling and a winter moon hung low in the sky when Lulu and Bugs quietly and secretly snuck out the front door. The two kids wheeled the wheelbarrow down the street with the bag of presents inside, along with the reindeer costume and harness for Jeter. They knocked politely on the owner’s door, with the wheelbarrow out of sight, of course. “Hi,” said the two angelic little faces. “We wondered if we could take Jeter for a walk?”
“It’s awfully late for you two to be out, isn’t it?
“Well,” said Bugs “We are so excited for Christmas that we can’t sleep. I think if we can take Jeter for a walk and then put him back in your yard, we will all sleep better.”
The owner handed Bugs the leash and told him to go get Jeter from the yard. Lulu and Bugs smiled and waved, calling out Merry Christmas before they ran like the wind through the gate and into the back yard where a yellow Lab sat waiting as if he knew exactly what they were there for. No leash was necessary because Jeter was already following the two out of the yard and into the bushes where the kids had hidden the wheelbarrow with the presents.
Lulu pulled out the reindeer costume and put it on Jeter. “I know you can fly and if anyone sees you, just tell them you are a reindeer.”
“He can’t talk,” said Bugs.
“We don’t know that for sure,” replied Lulu as she fastened the reindeer costume around Jeter’s neck and straightened the antlers so he would for sure look like a reindeer.
Bugs harnessed Jeter to the wheelbarrow and the kids crawled inside with the big bag of presents in their laps. “Okay Jeter, this is it. Giddy up.” And with that Jeter began running faster and faster and suddenly they were airborne. Bugs mouth fell open and it took a minute to catch his breath. Lulu smiled a smug little smile and said “Told ya.” Off into the night sky they went, snow swirling around them, lights twinkling below them.
“How do we know when we are on the west coast?” asked Lulu.
“The lights will stop at the ocean and we’ll see the outline of the coast.”
Lulu got a worried look on her usually confident little face and said “How do we get the presents into the houses? Do we just drop them through a chimney? What if there are no chimneys? Do we use the front door?” And just as she was getting truly worried, they saw the coast up ahead. Jeter acted like he had been flying wheelbarrows across the sky his whole life and he dipped down low to the roof line of a row of houses and turned his head and barked three times.
“I think he wants us to drop a present,” said Bugs. So he picked a package. “I hope this is the right one for the right address.” And as he dropped the package it turned to golden glittering light and swooshed into the house under the door. So, he picked another package and again, it turned to golden glittering light and found its way to another door. Lulu picked a package and dropped it watching it swirl under the doorway of yet another house. The kids started laughing and picking and dropping packages at a very rapid rate. Jeter howled and wagged his tail with delight. It seemed as thought Santa’s bag held an inexhaustible supply of gifts. Up and down the coast they went, dropping packages and watching them find their way into homes in the form of glittering light.
As Lulu and Bugs flew about the sky in the wheelbarrow pulled by Jeter the flying Labrador retriever, they started to sing:
Christmas is a Time, Christmas is a Time, Christmas is a Time to Love
We often start to worry, and people get upset when things don’t all go right on Christmas Day
What we should remember, in all the push and shove is Christmas is a time to love
Maybe things don’t sound right, or look the way they should
and maybe they’re not perfectly in tune …
It really doesn’t matter, let’s keep our eyes above
’cause Christmas is a time to love
The singing made everything very easy and pretty soon all of the packages were delivered and they were flying toward home. As Jeter landed he knew in his doggie heart and mind that he had two very tired passengers. He pulled the wheelbarrow to their yard and just like his mother had done with him, he gently picked up each child and managed to get through the front door and tuck them each into bed, nosing the covers up over them. Afterward, Jeter went to his own home, jumped over the fence climbed through the doggie door and fell into a deep and satisfying slumber.
Before the sun was up, Jeter’s owner padded downstairs to make a pot of coffee and noticed the dog sleeping in front of the tree. “What in the world? Where did you get this reindeer costume?” she asked as she bent over to untie the brown towel and antlers. “Those kids are something, I’ll tell you.” A tired Jeter looked up and wagged is tale before putting his head back down to sleep. “That must have been quite the walk, Jeter. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so mellow. Have a good nap. You’re a good dog.”
In another house a couple of blocks away a light glowed in the bedroom window of one Lulu. Kneeling by her bed was a jolly old man with a long white beard in a red suit. “Thanks for helping me out kid.” Lulu was still half asleep but she nodded at the old guy and said “You’re welcome.”
“Hold out your hands, “said Santa. I have something for you. A special gift for a special girl. Lulu held out her hands and was amazed. Santa had placed a light in her hands. “Oh my gosh,” exclaimed the little girl. “What is this?”
“This,” said Santa “is an inexhaustible supply of beauty, love and hope. Whenever you need or want those things, or want to give them to others, just place your hands over your heart.” With that the old man kissed Lulu’s forehead and tip toed out of the room, as she had already fallen back to sleep…with her hands held to her heart.
Santa moved on to Bugs room and quietly opened the door. “Hey buddy,” he said. “You guys did a really good job out there tonight. Thank you for all of your help.”
“You’re welcome, Santa.”
“I have something for you, Bugs.” Santa handed Bugs a small bag.
“Thanks what’s in here?”
“This is what I like to call portable compassion. You can take it anywhere.”
“What’s portable compassion?” Bugs wanted to know.
“Compassion is when your heart quivers because someone else is hurting and by your heart being open to them, you help to heal the hurt. And portable just means you take it with you anywhere and everywhere. I know Bugs that sometimes Lulu gets all the attention, because she gets sick. And I know that sometimes you feel invisible. But please know, your parents see you. Lulu sees you and all the world sees you and your goodness. You’re a really special guy. Remember to carry compassion with you. Give it away freely and make sure that you always keep a little bit for yourself.”
Then Santa patted him on the back, because that is what guys do. And with that, Santa was gone and Bugs was rubbing his eyes as mom and dad walked into his room.
“Are you up? they both said in their cheeriest Christmas voices. Am I up, thought Bugs. Oh mom and dad, if you only knew!
“I’m up,” said Bugs and as he put on his bathrobe, he reached for the little bag of compassion and made sure he placed it in his pocket.
Christmas morning was filled with surprises and delights for all of the children on the west coast and in one home in one living room in one part of a very large country, the life of Lulu and Bugs was also filled with wonderful surprises and delights.
As they sipped on hot chocolate and opened their Christmas presents their dad gazed out to the front lawn. “How in the world did the wheelbarrow get into our front lawn?”
“Maybe Santa needed it to haul presents,” said Lulu. And Bugs and Lulu exchanged knowing glances, holding onto Santa’s special gifts that would always, from this day forward save Christmas in their hearts.