Long ago, in a snowy land, a little girl sat at her desk by the window. She held a pencil in her hand and every so often would scribble words across the page. In between her musings, she would stare out the window where the sun sent shimmering beams of light bouncing off the snow.
A flitter of red caught the girl’s eye and she turned to see a tiny bird sitting on the sill of her window. The bird began to sing a sweet song. Even through the glass, the girl could hear bird. She sang a few words, then clamped her mouth shut.
The little bird stopped singing and tapped its beak on the windowpane. When the girl opened the window the bird asked, “Why did you stop singing?”
“I can’t sing. You have such a beautiful song, but when I try, I just sound like the chickens when they’re hungry. I wish I could sing like you.”
“Oh, I’m just a small bird. I have just a little song. I see the big birds with their loud songs that soar across the sky. No one notices when I fly because I’m so small and barely seen.” The little bird hopped down onto the desk and tapped the paper. “What’s this?
“I’m writing a story. Would you like to help me?”
“I can’t hold a pencil and I don’t know how to write words. How I wish I could write stories like you. Then people would notice me.”
Pink crept across the little girl’s face and she shook her head. “They’re just silly stories. No one cares what I write.”
A cough echoed from the corner of the room. The bird flew over and looked down on the woman in the bed. Flying back to the desk, he asked, “Who is that?”
Tears fell from her eyes as the little girl said, “That’s my mama. She’s very sick and I don’t know what to do to make her smile. If I could sing like you that would be a great gift.”
“There’s an old lady who lives down the road. She’s a wise woman. I bet she will know how to help us. How about we go talk to her?” The bird flew to the window. “Get your coat and let’s go.”
The girl slid the window down and slipped into her coat. She opened the door a crack and squeezed through, closing the door after her. She skipped after the bird as he flew toward the gate.
A short way down the lane, he beckoned with his wing and flew over a hedge of evergreen bushes that grew along the road. The girl slipped through an opening in the gate to find a small cottage. The girl climbed the steps and knocked on the door. A hunched up old woman with silver hair and blue eyes opened the door. “Yes, what can I do for you?”
“I live down the lane. My friend and I need some help. He says that you are very wise and will know how to help us.” Looking into those blue eyes, the little girl held her breath until the woman spoke.
“Come in out of the cold. I don’t know how wise I am, but I will try to help.” She opened the door and let them sit by the fire. “Tell me your story.”
As the little girl and the red bird told their story, the woman set a cup of cocoa, a cookie, and a small bowl of birdseed on the table. When they were done with their story, the woman sat quietly for a few moments.
“Well, can you help us? Can you make me sing and my friend write stories?” The little girl demanded from the woman.
“No, only God can give gifts such as you ask. But I think if you look inside yourself you will see that you already have your gift.”
“That doesn’t help us.” Pushing back from the table, the girl put her coat on and left the house.
The bird flapped his wings frantically to catch up with the girl. “Don’t cry, my friend.”
“But I have nothing to give my mother to help her get well. What will I do?”
The bird flew down and perched on the girl’s shoulder. “Well, maybe I can sing for her. That might help her get well.”
She smiled and stroked his head. “I would like that. I bet it will make her feel better.” She opened the door to the house and saw her mother sitting in the bed.
“Mama, I brought my friend to sing you a song.” The little bird began to sing a sweet song. A smile covered her mom’s face. The girl smiled along with her and when the bird was done, both clapped for the bird.
He puffed out his chest, proud to have made her feel better. “Why don’t you read your story? I bet your mom will like that.”
So the little girl got her paper from her desk and read a story about a tiny red bird that flew across the sky and landed on her window sill. When the bird realized she was writing about him he puffed his chest even more.
When the story was over the mama clapped her hands and the bird flapped his wings. The little girl beamed from ear to ear.
“That was beautiful. Thank you both so much for sharing your gifts with me. I feel so much better now.”
As the girl let the bird out into the yard she smiled. “Maybe we didn’t need the old lady after all. Maybe God has already given us the gifts we need.”