There would be no snow for Christmas this year. The winter was far too warm to allow it. Cricket sat alone outside his doorstep. He watched many [the other] animals scurrying back and forth on the roadside in front of his home.
Field Mouse must have been preparing a great feast. He was running in every direction scavenging any [all the] nuts and berries he could find that had been left by the late coming winter.
[Insert Rabbit here. Rule of threes.]
Snow Owl sat quietly in a bare tree over head. He was just waking as the sun set behind him. Cricket watched as Snow Owl left his perched position and flew high into the evening sky, his wings stretched out wide as he glided in front of the rising moon.
It was Christmas Eve and all the animals were rushing to finish their preparations for their Christmas celebrations. [Move to the end of first paragraph.] Cricket had no one to spend Christmas with this year. His preparations were very meager and so he sat and watched the bustle of others.
As he sat, Cricket began to play his favorite violin. He loved to play even though he never had an audience. On this night he played a beautiful medley of Christmas hymns. As he played he thought of the Christ Child. His feelings and his melody grew deep and strong. He played with all his feeling and the hymns floated through the still night.
Cricket put down his violin long after the last rays of sunlight had disappeared. The animals were still scurrying from place to place. No one seemed to notice his melody in the air. The night was now dark and cold. Cricket entered his home, stored away his violin and prepared for bed.
Before retiring, Cricket knelt by his bedside and prayed to the Lord. Cricket thanked the Lord for His goodness in sending the Christ Child. Cricket cried. In part for joy and in part for loneliness, for Cricket had no one to share his joy with this Christmas. In time, Cricket climbed into bed and fell asleep.
Cricket was still drowsy but he awoke to a voice calling his name. “Cricket,” the voice called again. [Switch these two sentences.] Cricket lifted his head and looked around his room. A man with a long white beard stood at the foot of his bed smiling at him.
“I am the Spirit of Christmas,” he said. “I have come to deliver a gift to you. This is no ordinary gift. It has not been crafted by the hands of men, but instead is created in their hearts.” He then beckoned to Cricket saying, “Come with me.”
Cricket pulled on his night-coat as he crawled out of bed. Together they stepped out of his house and into the street. Walking with the Spirit, Cricket did not feel the cold chill in the air. They stopped at the home of Field Mouse and entered the house, but no one could see or hear them.
Field Mouse was singing merrily as he added finishing touches to many of the Christmas decorations around his home. Eventually, he was satisfied with all his preparations and sat down in a chair next to his lovely wife. His wife looked up at him as he quietly finished the melody of a beautiful Christmas hymn. She spoke softly, “I have never seen you so happy before and never singing so joyfully.” Field Mouse looked thoughtful for a moment and then replied, “As I was out gathering the last preparations [nuts and berries] for Christmas, I heard the most beautiful music. A single violin echoed the voice of heaven as it filled the world with the hymns of Christmas. I guess I have been singing ever since.”
The Spirit of Christmas beckoned and led Cricket from the home of Field Mouse. As they walked together Cricket said, “I didn’t think anyone heard me play tonight.” The Spirit smiled and said, “We never know what the hearts of others see and hear.”
They continued on their journey to the home of Rabbit and his family. [If you’re going to talk about Rabbit here, we need to see him above, before Cricket plays his violin.] While at Rabbit’s house Cricket learned that Rabbit had opened a window upon hearing the echo of a violin. He gathered his wife and children around him and told them the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. He told them how angles had filled the sky and sang to shepherds who tended their sheep in nearby fields. That night even the youngest children sat quietly and listened to the sounds of the nativity. Their hearts were full knowing that they were allowed to hear the heavens rejoice on this Christmas Eve.
[Insert Snow Owl’s reaction here. Rule of three.]
The Spirit of Christmas led Cricket from home to home that night. Each residence held similar convictions. They all felt that they had been blessed to hear a heavenly melody ringing in the Christmas celebration.
Cricket returned home and cried again as the Spirit of Christmas left him. He knelt by his bedside and thanked the Lord for the vision [what] he had been shown. He was no longer lonely, for he had hosts of people to serve and bless. Cricket still plays his violin each year to usher in the Christmas celebration. If you listen very closely this Christmas Eve you to may hear his heavenly melody playing in your heart.
What I liked best: This was wonderful! It would make a fabulous picture book. Pursue it!
Magazine ready? So close! There is a rule of three in writing, particularly for children’s books. You need three examples—three animals seemingly not aware of Cricket, then the reactions of those same three animals.
Picture books have a specific number of pages and a specific formatting required for submission. Do some research, polish this up and submit it somewhere. Good story!