Bessie’s Disappointment



IT was such a warm, sleepy day, such bright sunshine, such dreamy sounds. Oh, how heavy little Bessie's eyes were—in church, too! What should she do to keep awake? She counted the little blue spots down the front of her dress; then she winked very hard at the little three-year-old piece of perpetual motion just in front of her, till he nearly turned a somersault over the back of the pew trying to reach her, and his mamma set him down very hard, close up in the corner, so he couldn't turn around anymore.

She wondered if good people ever got sleepy in church, or if it was only the very, very wicked ones; and she peeped around to see if her mother was wide awake. Then she watched a wee bit of yellow sunlight that had crept in, and was dancing upon the wall. Wasn't it wicked, she wondered, for it to dance like that in church?

The minister repeated his text again, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." It sounded very far away, just as if he was in their parlor, and she was out in the kitchen with Hannah. How should she keep awake?

Then she thought she was in the woods down by the river, gathering ferns, mosses, and acorn-cups. It was a sunny, green spot; and, as she looked around, she saw right by her side a cluster of tall, white lilies. They were very beautiful in the sleepy summer light, nodding gently one to another as the soft air stirred them. She would look down into their white hearts, and see if there were any wee bits of yellow sunlight there. What did it mean?  Right in the heart of each lily lay a little sleeping angel, with folded wings. Could this be heaven, and was she in it?  Oh, no; there wouldn't be any acorn-cups in heaven, nor any little girls who were sleepy in church!

While she stood wondering and wondering what it could mean, she heard a sweet voice close beside her say: "Little one, consider the lilies of the field; in the heart of each one of them is a little messenger of your Heavenly Father's love; and if you will open the door of your child-heart, he will send just such a messenger to you." She turned and saw one standing beside her whom she had never seen before.

"Are you Jesus, the Christ?" she said, softly, looking up into his face;" and did you die to save little children who get so sleepy in church?" He lifted her in his arms, and pillowed her sleepy head on his bosom, as he said, "Suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven,"

Then the tall white lilies bowed their heads, and the sunlight grew more golden, and the great trees whispered one to another that the dear Lord Christ was passing by with a little child pillowed on his bosom. Was the minister repeating his text again? No! She rubbed her sleepy eyes wide open, as she heard him say: "My dear friends, Christ is with you all today, waiting to bless you. It is for you to say whether you will have this Friend or not.

Open your hearts wide, and bid him enter, and he will abide with you forevermore. As you go home to your noon-day meals, he will go with you; he will sit with you at your tables, and will give you the bread of life to eat. Then let the prayer of every heart in this congregation be, 'Lord, ever-more give us this bread!' Let us pray." Bessie's eyes were wide open now. She wasn't sleepy anymore; for didn't the minister say Christ was going home to dinner with them?

A few minutes later, Hannah was startled in the act of putting the table-cloth on for dinner, by a little girl who ran in all out of breath; and snatching the table-cloth off from the table, said,

"Hannah, we must put the very bestest table-cloth on, and the whitest napkins, for Christ is coming home to dinner with papa and mamma, and he is the King of kings, and must have the very best of everything!"

She ran to the closet where the linen was kept, and was spreading on the best table-cloth when her mother came in. Hannah found words then to say to her mistress, "Indeed, I dinna ken what the bairnie means. I'm thinking she's gone daft."

"O papa!" said Bessie, as her father came in from another room, "did He come? Is He in the other room?"

"Who, Bessie? Papa doesn't know who you mean."

"Why, Christ—the dear Lord Christ. Didn't the minister say he would come home to dinner with us, papa" she said, her eyes filling with tears.

Mamma's eyes filled, too; and papa's voice quivered a little, as he said, leading her into the, other room, "Let papa tell his little daughter what it was the minister meant. Not that Christ as a person would come home with us and sit at our table, but Christ as a spirit, in our hearts. You know we cannot see Christ, my daughter—"

"But I saw him, papa!" she said, earnestly.

"I saw him, and he did take me in his arms!"

And she told her father the dream she had in church; what she saw in the lilies; and how the trees bowed and whispered to one another, "The dear Lord Christ is passing by with a little child pillowed on his bosom." Dinner was late that day; for it was long before Bessie' could be soothed—before the great tears of disappointment would stop coming--before the grieved look went out from the brown eyes.

The best table-cloth was kept on, and the whitest napkins were out; and I think when at last they gathered around the table, the dear Lord Christ was with them.


The Christian Weekly.