Christmas on the Oregon Trail |

Christmas on the Oregon Trail

Nona Kelley Carver
Mesa, Colo.

It won’t be long ’til Christmas now, a weary mother said, As she kissed the cheek of her little boy and tucked him into bed.

In her heart, she hoped they could find a place away from the snow and wind, and it grieved her so that she had no gifts for either child or friend.

They had started west in a wagon train so many months ago, but they’d been delayed by circumstance, and travel was painfully slow.

Her man received word his mother laid ill, upon her dying bed. “Please carry on,” he’d asked his wife. “I’ll catch up soon,” he said.

The time had dragged so very slow, and fear now gripped her heart. For each day’s travel with the wagon train placed them farther apart.

But she couldn’t turn back with her little boy. They were not safe alone. They must go on, so she did her best, ‘tho her heart felt heavy as stone.

Now a scout returned and had found a place where silver spruce grow tall. He said, “There’s a spring and some shelter close in the lee of a sandstone wall.

It isn’t far away from the trail and after the storm, we can leave. Remember tomorrow is Christmas Day, for this is Christmas Eve.”

The little group was gathered ’round in the glow of the campfire’s light,when a handsome rider approached from the East, just at the edge of night.

“Daddy!” The little boy raced to the man, as soon as he touched the ground, and he lifted the child and hugged him tight, then quickly turned around and met half way, to hold in his arms, his precious and loving wife.

Never again would he leave her alone. A promise he’d keep for life.

His ma had been so glad to know he’d come at her request, But heaven had now received her soul, and she lay in eternal rest.

Another log was put on the fire, and some stars began to glow, Just as they had in Bethlehem, on that night so long ago.

Then the wagon master told of the child who was placed on a bed of hay when Mary and Joseph found no room at the inn and in a stable did stay.

He told of the angels, who sang on high their songs of endless joy, and how the shepherds arrived late that night to worship the tiny boy.

He talked of the wise men who came from the East, and how they followed the star,and how they returned by a different way after riding their camels so far.

Then they sang of the birth of the Christ Child in Christmas Carols that night,and shared their feelings of friendship as the campfire glowed so bright.

Now all of the children were kissed good night and safely tucked into bed, with hope that tomorrow might hold treats and fun invading each tousled head.

The rider who’d come such a very long way now opened up his pack. There was candy and toys for the girls and boys, and treasures within his sack. There were raisins and nuts and fine white flour to bake a Christmas cake. There was sugar and honey and sun dried fruit he asked each one to take.

The little boy’s mother’s heart overflowed with the love she felt inside for her man who had shared everything he had brought. It gave her a feeling of pride.

In the morning a tiny fir tree had been hung with bows and ribbons of red. The branches were full of candy canes for each child as they sprung from their bed.

A roast of venison cooked above coals would give them the taste of meat, and each one prepared in their own special way what they could provide as a treat.

None in the wagon train ever forgot that Christmas did come without fail, and the love of the Christ Child had reached one and all clear out on the Oregon Trail!