"For God so loved the world, 

that he gave his only begotten Son, 

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,

 but have everlasting life."  

 John 3:16




I GUESS we shan't have much of a Christmas," said Jamie Lawton to his sister Ellen, as they sat by the table doing their "sums" by the light of a tiny kerosene lamp. "Father don't have work a quarter of the time now, and mother is so discouraged that she won't feel like doing much."

"I wish we could get up something ourselves, and make mother forget her troubles a little while," said Ellen. 

"She looks lately as if she never expected to be happy any more."

"I don't know what we can do," answered Jamie. "I can't think of anything that we can give up."

"We could do without meat and butter," said Ellen; "and you could earn something, I am sure, if you should try real hard. Let's try, Jamie, harder than we ever did before in all our lives. I will ask papa tonight if he won't let us have the money that we save on our part of the meat and butter."

"All right, sis; and I'll ask Colonel Wright today if he hasn't any jobs for me to do. I think he'll want somebody to help carry home Christmas orders, there is so much extra business at that time."

The children talked in a loud, clear voice, and just through the thin partition there sat a man with a cigar in his mouth. He heard every word that the brother and sister said.

"Give up their meat and butter," he said to himself, " and I, spending money for tobacco!”

Then he remembered how pale and tired his wife looked lately, and how late she had had to work every night to keep the worn garments patched. They were all willing to save in every direction, and here he was spending their money in smoke. He was a generous man at heart, and he felt very much ashamed of himself.

The children went out together, one to do an errand for her mother, the other to see Colonel Wright about the holiday work. The father also went out to his ordinary business, but his thoughts were very different from what they were be- fore he heard his children's plans of self-denial.

That night Ellen and Jamie asked their father if he would let them give up meat and butter, and pay them for what these two articles of food would cost.

"Certainly," said he, "and I will join you."

"What, you give up meat and butter asked Jamie. 

"Why not?" answered the father. 

"I don't want my children to get ahead of me in generosity."

The good mother saw that there were secrets in the air, as she went wearily about her work. She wondered much why her husband didn't smoke all the time, as usual; but she supposed that he was out of money, and would soon take up the habit again.

But Christmas eve had a joyful surprise for her. While she was busy all day in the kitchen, husband and children had been equally busy in the little parlor. They had put up a Christmas tree, and hung thereon presents for mamma and the baby a new dress for each, candies, oranges, and pretty trifles to decorate it; and on the topmost bough the father hung a loving letter, in which was written: 

"I will never use tobacco again until I am rich enough to furnish everything needful for my wife and children."

Toward evening the children were sent out on an errand. A new suit was put on the tree for Jamie, and a felt hat, trimmed with black velvet and a scarlet wing, swung gaily on one of the green boughs for Ellen. 

The children had been obliged to stay at home from Sabbath-school for want of these very things.

I need not tell you what a merry Christmas they had; but I will say that though the mother was thankful for all the good things, including the nice dinner that her husband brought home, nothing pleased her so much as the letter that hung at the top of the tree. 

 Mrs. M. F. Butts.

"And she shall bring forth a son, 

and thou shalt call his name JESUS: 

for he shall save his people from their sins."

Matthew    1:21