Introduction

This story tells us about Papa Panov’s Christmas day. Papa Panov is the village shoemaker, and the night before Christmas he has a dream where Jesus promises to visit him. On Christmas, Papa Panov helps many different people because of the kindness of his heart, but Jesus does not come. However, he finally realises that Jesus did visit him, in all the people he helped.

Characters

Papa Panov– the old village shoemaker

The road sweeper– a road sweeper who had to work even on Christmas day in the bitter cold

The young mother– a poor young girl with a little baby

Papa Panov’s Dream

It was Christmas eve. Even in the afternoon, there were lights in the shops and houses of the little Russian village. Excited children hurried indoors. Old Papa Panov, the village shoemaker, stepped outside his shop to take one last look around.

The sounds of happiness, the bright lights and the delicious smells of Christmas cooking reminded him of past Christmas times when his wife had still been alive and his own children little. His usually cheerful face turned sad at the memory. He went back indoors and set a pot of coffee to heat and settled in his big armchair with a sigh.

Papa Panov did not often read, but that night he pulled down the Bible and read the Christmas story. He read how Mary and Joseph found no room at the inn, so Jesus was born in the cowshed. Papa Panov exclaimed that if they had come to him, he would have given them his bed and covered the baby with his warm patchwork quilt.

He read on about the wise men who brought baby Jesus gifts. He sadly thought that he had no such gift to give. But then his face brightened. He opened a dusty old box with a pair of tiny leather shoes inside. He smiled because they would be the perfect gift.

He was feeling sleepy and tired the more he read. Soon he was fast asleep. He dreamed that Jesus was in his room. Jesus told him that since Panov wished to see him, he would visit him on Christmas day. But he must look carefully, for he would not tell him who he was.

The Road Sweeper and the Young Mother

When Panov woke up on Christmas day, he was happy as he remembered his dream. This would be a very special Christmas because Jesus was coming to visit him. He wondered how he would look and thought he must watch carefully the whole day to recognise him however he came.

Papa Panov put on a special pot of coffee for his Christmas breakfast and looked out of the window. The street was deserted, except for the road sweeper. He looked miserable and dirty in the bitter cold.

Panov opened the shop door, and shouted for him to come in and have some hot coffee. The sweeper was shocked but happy. Papa Panov watched him with satisfaction as he drank his coffee, but his eyes often strayed to the window to look for his special visitor.

The sweeper asked him if he was expecting someone. Panov told him about his dream. The sweeper said he hoped Jesus would come because Panov had shown him kindness. When he had gone, Papa Panov put on cabbage soup for his dinner, and went to the door again.

A tired looking girl was carrying a baby wrapped in a thin shawl. They both looked sad. Panov invited both of them inside his house. He warmed some milk for the baby and fed it. He said the baby needed shoes but her mother said she could not afford them. She had no husband to bring home money. She was on her way to the next village to get work.

Papa Panov handed the leather shoes he had been saving for baby Jesus to her. They were a perfect fit. The girl wished that all of Panov’s Christmas wishes would come true because he had been so kind to them. But Papa Panov was worried because his special visitor had not come yet.

The Final Revelation

All too soon evening fell. When Papa Panov went to the door, he could no longer make out the passers-by. He thought it had been just a dream after all because Jesus had not come. Then suddenly all the people who had come to him that day appeared in his room- the old road sweeper, the young mother and her baby and the beggars he had fed.

He asked them who they were. The voice of Jesus answered him, talking of all the good deeds he had done that day. Then all was quiet and still. A great peace and happiness filled the room. Papa Panov’s heart wanted to burst out singing and laughing and dancing with joy. He exclaimed that Jesus did come after all.

Conclusion

This story teaches us to be kind to all people, and especially to the poor and the needy. God exists inside all of us, and the only way to reach God is by helping other people. We must show kindness to everyone.