ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Christmas Lesson

Updated on September 21, 2016

I was just a little girl the very, first time I laid eyes on him.He was dirty and ratty looking, standing in front of the store ringing a little, silver, bell.There had to be at least an inch of dirt covering his old torn clothes. My first impression of him was that he was dirty, I mean he smelt so bad, being a little girl I was somewhat naïve and maybe even a little rude at times. So as me and my father walked by him I quickly made a face and told him he stunk up to high Heaven. Which my daddy in returned responded with an even quicker swat to my bottom and told me not to be so rude. My daddy even made me apologize and handed the man a dollar.

Later that night my father set me down for a very long talk. He explained to me sometimes bad things happen to even the most kindest people. He also told me if he ever heard me say something like that to anybody again I wouldn't be able to sit down for a week. I was so angry that he said that to me, as a kid I was stubborn as an ox. To me it just seemed like my daddy was taking a dirty ole bums side over mine. Even though at the time I was mad at him,I also didn't want to get spanked so I told him I would never do it again.

A couple of years went by and every year I would see that same old bum in front of different stores around Christmas time, ringing that stupid bell. My parents would always give him a couple of dollars, I would just give dirty looks. Hard to believe I held a grudge against this man for something I did for so long. The funny thing is as rude as I was to him, he always smiled that toothless grin at me, which just agitated me more. Something as kind as a smile from this man made me so angry that when my parents were not looking I would stick my tongue out at him, Lord I would have smacked my own mouth thinking about it now.

I guess I was around thirteen or fourteen when I finally started to let go of some of the pointless anger I had toward this man. I mean after all he never did anything to me. Even though I wasn't mad at him. I still didn't understand why my parents were giving money to him instead of me, being a typical selfish teen. I would ask my parents but they always said they are not gonna explain why they do anything and that I was just a child, how dare I question them, that quickly ended my whiny discussion. But still made me harbor some jealousy for that little bit of change they spared to that dirty old bum.

Years went by and I swear this man was always there. As I became a woman I grew out of the whole acting rude to him after a while I would even say hello to him. But for some strange reason I never gave him money like my parents. I just assumed if I gave him money he would just drink it away. So I held on to my money in my mind all I could think is I earn my money he should earn his too. I mean honestly how hard is it to get a job he could flip burgers or something after all I did it all through college.

Over the years I grew so accustomed to seeing his toothless grin that the one year he wasn't around I quickly noticed it. He wasn't walking around with that bell anywhere. One day while walking through one of the isle's at the very first store I saw him at, I heard one of the employees asking another employee if they had seen the man. I then heard the employee tell her the horrible injustice that had happened to the man. He was brutally murdered, stabbed to death by some senseless thug, who then stole his money. I didn't like spying on people but I couldn't help but listen to their conversation. I quickly walked by them and grabbed something in the isle to make it appear I was just browsing.


She then started explaining what had happened somewhat in detail then I heard her say it was in the local newspaper. Once I heard that I quickly walked away and grabbed a copy of the local newspaper, I waited till I got in the car to read it. I couldn't believe what I was reading not only about the horrible things that had happened to him but about the man himself it said, "Mr Jacob Finley of Coconut,T.N a War hero of two different Wars who spent every single Christmas getting donations for toys for different disabled children all around T.N was found brutally murdered and robbed."

My eyes quickly filled with tears, here I was thinking he was some dirty old bum and this man was so much more a hero, a literal saint to be doing what he did. I mean this man had nothing but he gave everything. I felt the size of a pea, I was so critical of him, I felt so ashamed. Right then and there I began to understand what my father had said to me so many years ago. Sometimes things do happen to people to put them in bad circumstances in their lives.

As the years went by I never judged anyone as harshly as I did that man and I made it a point to teach my children the importance of having compassion for others. It is just sad that it took something so tragic to teach me what my father tried to teach me so many years ago.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)