Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Tallest Angel, Part 1

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Here's a Christmastime conversation between a girl named Dorie and her teacher. "God doesn't love me." The words had come from a small nine-year-old girl who stirred under the gaze of Miss Ellis. Then bending her head to her own desk, Miss Ellis prayed in her heart for the nth time, "Help her, dear God, and help me to help her. Please show Dorie that You do love her, too."

Leslie Basham: Today we'll hear Dorie's story. It's Monday, December 23; and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: One of my favorite things about Christmas when I was growing up was when my dad or mom would bring to our meal table a special Christmas story and read it to us. We heard some fun Christmas stories growing up.

This week I thought it would be fun on Revive Our Hearts for us to read some Christmas stories. Instead of just doing it by myself, I've brought some friends into the studio with me today--some young ladies who are very special girls.

Before we get started, I'm going to ask each of you girls to just tell us something that is one of your favorite things about Christmas. Let's start over here with Catherine.

Catherine: One of my favorite things about Christmas is the special meal we have--how much fun we have with our toys.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Good. Some special things she likes about Christmas. How about next to her?

Lindsey: One of my favorite things about Christmas is how happy we can be.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thank you, Lindsey. And how about your sister over here?

Girl: My favorite part about Christmas is when we sing songs.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Singing those carols--that's fun, too.

Margo: One of my favorite things about Christmas is the fun time we have.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thank you, Margo.

Girl: My favorite part about Christmas is reading the Christmas story.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Great. And we're going to read that story this week.

Julie: My favorite part about Christmas is when we get to share gifts with others and about Jesus Christ.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thank you, Julie.

Tiffany: My favorite thing about Christmas is getting together with relatives. My favorite thing to do is giving gifts.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I like that part, too. Thanks, Tiffany.

Girl: My favorite thing about Christmas is being able to see my family and just reading the Christmas story.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Great. And over here.

Girl: My favorite part about Christmas is getting the tree and setting everything up.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Do you like to have a big tree at your house?

Girl: Yes, we do.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And you put a lot of decorations on it?

Girl: Yes, we do.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So we have lots of different traditions that we enjoy doing at Christmas. This week we're going to read about some of those traditions that other families--some of them from a long time ago--had as they celebrated their Christmases.

But I want to start this Christmas week by reading us a story called "The Tallest Angel." This is a story about a girl who did not understand how much God loved her, but God wanted her to know how much He loved her. He sent someone into her life who helped her understand the love of God. Listen as I read the story about the tallest angel.

"'God doesn't love me.' The words echoed sharply through the thoughts of Miss Ellis as she looked around the fourth grade schoolroom. Her gaze skipped lightly over the many bent heads and then rested on one in particular. Ever since the first day of school, Miss Ellis had been hurt and troubled by these bitter assertions.

"'God doesn't love me.' The words had come from a small nine-year-old girl who stirred under the gaze of Miss Ellis. Then bending her head to her own desk, Miss Ellis prayed in her heart for the nth time, 'Help her, dear God, and help me to help her. Please show Dorie that You do love her, too.'

"Dorie sat with her geography book open upon her desk, but the thoughts that raced through her mind were not concerned with the capital of Ohio.

A moment before she had felt the warm eyes of Miss Ellis upon her. Now angry sentences played tag with each other in her bowed head. Once again she heard the calm voice of Miss Ellis. 'God wants us to be happy in His love.' Dorie laughed bitterly to herself. 'How could anyone be happy with a hunched back and leg braces?'

"'God loves everyone,' Miss Ellis had said, to which Dorie had angrily replied, 'But He doesn't love me. That's why He made me ugly and crippled.'

"'God is good,' Miss Ellis said.

"'God is not good to me. He is mean to me. That's what He is--to let me grow up so crooked.' Dorie raised her head and looked at the children around her.

"Marieanne had long golden curls. Dorie had straight brown hair pulled back tight and braided into an unlovely pigtail. Jeanetta had china-blue eyes that twinkled like evening stars. Dorie had brown eyes that seemed like smoke so full of bitterness were they. Ellen Sue had a pink rosebud mouth that readily spread into a happy smile. Well, Ellen Sue could smile--she had a lovely dimpled body and ruffled ribboned dresses.

"But why should Dorie smile? Her mouth was straight and tight and her body hunched and twisted. Anyone would laugh to see ruffles on her dresses. No pink and blue dresses for her; only straight, dark gowns that hung like sacks over her small, hunched frame."

Can you girls think of some other reasons that some people might think that God doesn't really love them? Dorie thought that God didn't love her because she was made with this hunched back and she had to wear these leg braces. Can you think of some other reasons that some people might think that God doesn't love them?

Shawna: Maybe because they have bad finances and they can't pay that much. They think that God doesn't provide for them.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Okay. I think many people probably feel that way if they don't have enough money to buy the things they need.

Elisabeth: Maybe for kids who don't have very loving parents. They don't have time for that baby. They don't give very much time to their kids. It makes them think that God gave them parents who don't love them.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know what? You are so right. In fact, I had a young man tell me this week that when he was growing up, he never heard his dad say, "I love you." Because he didn't feel like his parents loved him, he wondered if God really loved him. You're absolutely right. Any other reasons that you can think of that people might think God doesn't really love me?

Girl: Maybe because some children have lost parents who have died or have turned away from God and they just think that they're not loved by God.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Yes. If they've experienced a great hurt or tragedy in their life, they could think, God doesn't really love me. So there can be lots of reasons that people might think, God doesn't really love me. Well, let's go on with the story about Dorie.

"Suddenly hate and anger so filled the heart of the little girl that she felt she must get away from this room full of straight-bodied children or she would choke. She signaled her desire to Miss Ellis, who nodded permission. There was neither pity nor laughter in the eyes that followed Dorie to the door--only casual indifference.

"The children had long since accepted Dorie as she was. No one ever jeered at her awkwardness, nor did anyone fuss over her in pity. The children did not mean to be unkind but knowing the limits of Dorie's mobility they usually ran off to their active games, leaving her a lonely little spectator.

"Miss Ellis saw the children settle back to their studies as the door closed after Dorie. She stared at the door, not seeing the door at all--only the small hunchbacked girl. What can I do to help her be happy? she pondered. What could anyone say or do to comfort and encourage such a child?

"She had talked to Dorie's parents and had found them to be of little help. They seemed inclined to feel that Dorie's crippled condition was a blot upon them--one that they did not deserve.

"Miss Ellis had urged them not to try to explain Dorie's condition but to accept it and try to see God's blessings through it. They were almost scornful to the idea that any blessing could be found in a crippled, unhappy child; but they did agree to come to church and to bring Dorie as often as possible.

"'Please help Dorie,' prayed Miss Ellis. 'Help Dorie and her parents, too.' Then the hall bell sounded. Miss Ellis arose to dismiss her class.

"The reds, yellows and greens of autumn faded into the white of winter. The Christmas season was unfolding in the room. Tiny Christmas trees stood shyly on the windowsills. A great green wreath covered the door. Silver bells jingled whenever the door moved, and the delighted giggles of the children echoed in return. The blue-white shadows of a winter afternoon were creeping across the snow as Miss Ellis watched the excited children set up the manger scene on the low sand table.

"'Christmas,' thought Miss Ellis, 'is a time of peace and joy. Even the children feel the spirit and try to be nicer to one another.'

"'Is your Christmas dress done yet, Allison?' Marieanne asked her friend. Without waiting for an answer, she chattered on. 'Mother got material for mine today. It's red. Real red velvet. Oh, I can hardly wait. Can you?'

"'Mine is all done but the hem,' Ellen Sue fairly trembled with excitement. 'It's pink with rosebuds made of ribbon.'

"Miss Ellis smiled, remembering the thrill of the Christmas dresses of her own childhood. How carefully they were planned and how lovingly her mother had made each one. Miss Ellis leaned back to cherish the memories a moment longer. Then a movement caught her eye.

"Slowly, with storm-filled eyes, Dorie was backing away from the chattering children. Miss Ellis' heart stirred with sympathy. She watched the unhappy child ease herself into her chair, pull a book from her desk and bend her head over it.

"She isn't studying, thought Miss Ellis. She is only pretending to cover up her misery. Dorie stared at the book in front of her, fighting against the tears that demanded release.

"What if one of the girls had asked her about her Christmas dress? Her Christmas dress, indeed! Would anyone call a brown sack of a dress a Christmas dress? Would the children laugh? No. Dorie knew the girls wouldn't laugh. They would just feel sorry for her and her shapeless dress. Sometimes that was almost worse than if they would laugh. At least then she would have an excuse to pour out the angry words that crowded into her throat.

"'Dorie,' a warm voice broke in upon her thoughts. 'Dorie, will you help me with these Christmas decorations? You could walk along and hold them for me while I pin them up, please.'

"Dorie arose, thankful for the diversion and thankful to be near Miss Ellis. The silver tinsel was pleasant to hold, and Miss Ellis always made her feel so much better. Slowly they proceeded around the room, draping the tinsel garland as they went."

"Now tomorrow we're going to come back and finish the rest of this story and find out how Dorie came to understand that God really did love her, even though she was hunchbacked and had those leg braces and didn't have a pretty Christmas dress. She's going to discover that she still was very special to God--just like you're special to God and just like God loves each one of us so much that He sent Jesus at Christmas as His very special gift to us.

Leslie Basham: Thanks, Nancy. We hope you can be back tomorrow when Nancy will read the second part of the story, "The Tallest Angel." The young ladies that were part of today's program will be with us again as well.

If you have a daughter, we hope the two of you can listen together all this week as Nancy reads Christmas stories to us. We can get so busy during the holidays that we can neglect doing the most important things--like spending time with those closest to us. And of course we need to be spending meaningful time with our children other times of the year as well.

We're making a workbook available to help you do that in the coming year. It's called A Girl of Beauty: Building Character in Young Girls.

It presents important biblical concepts for girls who are 8-12 years old--concepts like truthfulness, courtesy and contentment. Each chapter has a section for moms and daughters to read together. Then it asks some questions and points out scriptures that reflect on the day's topic.

If you're in a place of influence in a young lady's life, I hope you'll call us and get more information on A Girl of Beauty by Carol Fiddler. Our number is 1-800-569-5959. Or get information by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

Then why don't you write and tell us how the booklet is being used in your lives?

When you contact us, ask how you can get a copy of this week's programs on cassette or CD. You can pull it out with your Christmas decorations and listen year after year. Today's story, "The Tallest Angel," was read with the permission of Joe Wheeler, the editor and compiler of Christmas in My Heart II.. We'll hear part two tomorrow. Please join us on Revive Our Hearts.

*"The Tallest Angel," (from Christmas in my Heart II, 1993, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, MD).

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.