IT was the week before Christmas, and the children at Farmer Brown's had gathered in the cheerful sitting-room to practice some of their Christmas songs, so as to be ready to join in singing when they went to church on Christmas day. They had sung, "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night," and a "Christmas Jubilee," when suddenly little Katie looked up to her mother, and said, " Christmas is Christ's birthday, isn't it?"

"Yes, Katie; Christmas is the day universally agreed upon in which to celebrate Christ's birth, but the exact day on which he was born is not positively known. But, Katie, why do you ask that question? You have just been singing about it, and you certainly have known it for a long time."

"But, mother, I've thought of something now that I never thought of before. Why do we give each other presents on Christmas day? It's Christ's birthday, and we ought to give him presents. If he were only here now! O mamma! I would give him just the nicest and best thing I could. 

You see, when my birthday comes, you give presents to me, and not to baby Robert, nor to Alice, nor to Joe; and when Christmas comes I think we ought to give presents to Jesus; but I don't see how we can."

"I think," replied her mother with a smile, "if my little girl would read her Bible more carefully she would find several ways in which she could make Christmas presents to Jesus."

"How? Mother; please Do tell us; we would all like to know," broke in Alice.

"If you will draw your chairs up this way, I will tell you about some children who once made Jesus a very nice Christmas present. They all attended school in the town of B. None of them had very wealthy parents; but there was one girl in the school whose father was dead, and her mother was very poor. Her mother tried hard to keep Mary neat and clean; but could not possibly provide her with comfortable clothing for cold weather. 

Her schoolmates saw this, and several of them resolved that if they could get enough money, they would buy her a nice warm hood and a pair of mittens for a Christmas present.

"But money was scarce; and the girls, disliking to ask their parents for any, had almost given up trying to make the present, when Nellie, one of their number, was called to go with her mother to buy a new hat for herself. The hat was soon selected; and was to be trimmed with black and red ribbon, and a little red wing on one side. It would make a beautiful hat; but a thought had struck Nellie. Why could she not just as well wear the hat without the wing, and save half a dollar to give toward Mary's hood and mittens.

"Nellie told her mother the plan, and she, smiling, nodded assent, and so the feather was left in the store, and the half-dollar was put in Nellie's pocket. When she got home, she ran immediately to see the other girls, and her success inspired them with new courage, so that the day before Christmas, Mary's hood and mittens had been bought and left with her mother."

"But I thought you said that they made a present to Jesus," said Katie, when her mother had concluded.

"And so they did; for Christ said when he was on earth that if we did kind deeds to the poor it was the same as though we did it to him."

"I never thought of it in just that light before," said Joe; "but you said there were several ways in which we could give presents to Jesus. Tell us another way, for boys don't wear feathers on their hats, so they can't take them off."

"Well, there is Mrs. Williams, who has had hard work to get along ever since her husband was killed in the army. Last fall she did not have as much sewing to do as usual, and yesterday, when Delia asked her why she was splitting wood, she said that if she hired it done it would take all the small sum she had saved to buy her little boy a new reader. Now, if you will split her wood nights and mornings, so that Charlie can have his reader for a Christmas present, the Lord Jesus will count it the same as if done for him.

"Again, if you will turn to the twenty-fifth chapter of Genesis, you will there read about some presents which the people made to the Lord; and of course if they had been given to him on Christmas they would have been Christmas presents."

"Yes, I know," said Joe, " but they were building the tabernacle in those days, and the Lord wanted all who could do so willingly, to help; but we want to know how we can make the Lord a present this year."

"Well, the tabernacle was to be built so that the people might have a place in which to worship God. His people still have to build houses in which to worship, and gifts to help in that work are just as acceptable now as then.

"Then, too, there are his missionaries who are carrying his word to those who are in darkness. These he has called to do the work, which he began while here on earth. 

And if we give to these faithful men who sacrifice so much to tell the people about Jesus and what he taught, we shall certainly be giving to Jesus, for he has said, 

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

"You all see now, do you not, that there are several ways in which to make presents to Jesus, and I hope you will always remember to make him a Christmas present whether you make any one else one or not."