Today… such a cold day. As I gaze out my window over the snow and through the leafless trees into a bright blue sky, I look back on the children of our cities, freezing and comfortless. They were never able to give to us what more fortunate children were able to give. No, we are not alive because of these children who died hungry and cold. What did they give to us that we can be thankful for? What gifts did they have for us that we still cherish, perhaps unknowingly? They were not architects, and so there are no beautiful buildings by them that we can admire. They were not great thinkers, and so we have no books by them to read and love. They built no roads by which we travel, they created no foods that we have come to enjoy, they were not musicians bringing song to our lives. Most of us give them no thought. We are here and alive because of more fortunate ones; ones who survived the cold and were able to grow up, find love and have families of their own. But what of the children who died there on the streets, stranded in the snow and cold? What did they give to us? Did they not give us anything at all that we enjoy in our lives today? Nothing? Yes, yes. They did. You don’t remember their gift? I don’t either. We were not there… or, were we? Perhaps you remember after all. Just now I recollect, though only in snapshot fragments, a little girl, her dark eyes big with sorrow and a’glisten with fresh tears. She looks up at me and, ah! It is her smile. Her hopeful smile. How is she so hopeful? Does her hope lie in the few ha’pennies the gentlemen on the street drop in her palm as they pass her by? No, her hope comes from the few times she has seen the sun in this dreary city–the way it makes the snow sparkle, and sometimes brightens the sky. And this hope makes her smile, and that smile is a gift which, like an arrow shot sure, embeds itself in the heart of anyone seeing it. They may forget her gift, or not even realize they have received it, but it has been given just the same, and it is as eternal as the sun that inspired it.
Yes, today we, the fortunate ones, live not only because our ancestors were able to brave the cold and provide for their families. We also live because little children whose hope had not yet died gave the only gift they could give to those who passed them by. They smiled, Heaven in their eyes.