Chapter 3: A Most Unusual GIft
The bag sat alone on the back shelf of a New York City pawnshop. A thin layer of dust had settled on it like the snow outside that blanketed the quite streets on this Christmas Eve. The bag’s travels had brought it this far—its former owner no longer finding it useful had traded it for a black Royal typewriter in need of much repair. The shattering of glass disturbed the peaceful coldness of the night. A pair of dirtied hands jerked the bag down from the comfort of its lodging. Hurriedly, rare coins, tarnished candlesticks, a silver bowl engraved with running horses—said to have once been owned by Thomas Jefferson—and an array of necklaces, rings, and other trinkets were shoved into the brown leather bag. A blast of frigid air seeped between its seams. The wail of a siren bounced off the buildings, and the bag was tossed into a back alleyway. The items inside clanged and cracked. A necklace, adorned with a thin hourglass shattered, leaking its fine grains of sand into the interior crevices of the bag. Then . . . the bag vanished, given a most unusual gift of Christmas, the ability to pass through time, but not just time—through dimensions, surpassing the limits of imagination to the minds of the writers who create the characters whose lives find their way onto the pages of books.
To the bag’s surprise, its next owner was not that of a man or for that matter a person of any sort, but rather that of the gnarly green creature called Grinch. The lanky beast used the bag to carry stolen Christmas lights to the side of the crooked Mt. Crumpit where he proceed to turn it upside down and dump it! Seeing no need for such a bag, he dumped it as well, and that is when the bag jumped from the land of the Who’s to England.
Following the timely visit of three unwanted spirits, Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge urgently snatched the bag from his coat closet and proceeded to stuff it with delicacies and gifts to give to the family of his employee Bob Cratchit. Feeling extra generous that Christmas morning, Mr. Scrooge left the bag in the care of their youngest son, Tim.
It was then, nestled by the warmth of the fire, among the tales of the physically disabled, but verbally talented Tim, that the bag was whisked away to the frozen lands of the North where an ice dragon used it to deliver sweets, mugs of hot cocoa, and handcrafted toys to the village children at the base of the mountain he called home. This made the children, and the bag, very happy. As the children in his village grew, the dragon flew farther from the mountain with the leather bag full of goodies to find more children. While in the southern part of the United States, the dragon encountered an unusually cheerful man.
The man was the pastor of a small church of believers. He and his wife were unable to have children of their own, but had found contentment in giving what little they had to the children of the church. The stories the children told of dragons, fairies, and gnomes delighted the couple so much, that it did not surprise the couple in the least when the ice dragon appeared in front of their door. The dragon did not speak, but simply passed the bag to the pastor, turned his long body around, and flew back to the mountain in the North. Inside the bag, the man found a bounty of gifts and treats. He knew exactly what he should do with them! He went through his small village passing out the gifts, just as the ice dragon had done. To the pastor’s surprise, every time he thought he had given away the last gift, he would open the bag to find that it was replenished.
On one of his deliveries to the local orphanage, he met a boy who would not take the gifts that the pastor produced from his bag. Instead, he sought only one thing, a mother and a father. The pastor knew the bag was special, but this was a gift that could only come through prayer. As he continued on his mission to bring joy to the children of the town, he prayed with every step that the Lord would provide the orphan boy with a mother and a father. His daily walk found him in front of the orphanage once again. The pastor reached into the bag and removed a paper that he had not seen before. Written on the top of the paper was his name, as well as his wife’s. As he continued to read, tears formed in his eyes as he realized that not only were his prayers for the boy answered, but so were the silent prayers of his heart. It seemed so simple, yet the idea had not crossed his mind. It was truly the best gift the bag had ever carried . . . an answered prayer for a special little boy in the form of parents, and for the pastor and his wife, a son.
Years later, Graham Lacox, the world record holder for “Most Toys Owned By a Person in the Whole World” and president of Graham’s Gargantuan Toy Festival, stole the bag from a little girl named Alisah Deginaro who claimed that she had more toys than Mr. Lacox. Mr. Lacox had heard from a very unreliable source that the bag carried a bag that was endless. In fact, it was never empty and could produce enough toys to give to every child in the world once a year. The local newspaper reported that it was jealously and fear of losing his record holding title that led him to steal from the child. When authorities searched the Lacox property, they could not locate the mysterious bag. Lacox was arrested, not for theft, but for refusing to share his toys with . . . well . . . anyone. Alisah Deginaro grew up and took control of the yearly toy festival, as well as Mr. Lacox’s collection of toys, earning her the title of “Most Toys Owned By a Person in the Whole World.”
The bag, after leaving the greedy hands of the toy collector, was given to a girl named Mary as a baby gift from her cousin Elizabeth. With joy, Mary examined every inch of the leather bag. Deep inside under a loose piece of leather was a slip of paper. She could not read the strange language, but as so many extraordinary things had happened to her over the past months, she returned the paper and hoped the Lord would help her to understand it one day. A couple of months passed, Mary forgot about the paper in her haste to pack for her voyage with her husband Joseph to Bethlehem. She took her most treasured things and put them into the bag and strapped it to the side of the donkey, which she rode all the way to Bethlehem. Once there, they could not find a place to stay. The only shelter available to them was a stable. There, she delivered a baby boy, and she named him Jesus. Shepherds came to the stable to worship him, and two years later wise men from the Eastern lands came and brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They warned the family to leave, for Herod, the king of the land, was going to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem. They placed their new gifts in the leather bag and fled to Egypt to begin a new life until they, like the bag, would travel once again.