Note: This fiction contains two songs. The first, "Come on Christmastime", which was part of Christmas Cantata we did at church one year. The second, "The Christmas Shoes" by Newsong, touched my heart this year and inspired this fiction.

THE CHRISTMAS SHOES

December 23: League Christmas Party; Watchtower

It's time for yummy food, it's time for family fun. It's time for singing Christmas songs with everyone. Come on Christmastime, I just can't wait. You know I'm ready to celebrate Come on Christmastime I'm waiting just to see my presents. Stacked up under the tree waiting for me

Shayera can't help but laugh as Flash sings his ridiculous song into the karaoke microphone. She could always count on him to make her laugh. She needed to laugh after hearing John (reluctantly) sing "Baby it's Cold Outside" with Vixon. After her laugh wares down, Shayera stares at her cup of eggnog and a sorrowful look returns to her eyes. She's really not in a festive mood, especially with John spending the holidays with Mari in Paris. Shayera had been invited to go along, but she turned them down. She didn't want to intrude on the couple's Christmas getaway in presumably the most romantic city on the planet. Besides, seeing the man she loves with another woman, her friend or not, would only add to the sorrow she's already feeling.

"Having fun?" Shayera is startled. She hadn't noticed Flash zip next to her.

"Uh, yea. Great party," replies Shayera forcing a smile on her face.

Flash isn't convinced. He's been watching his "big sister" all evening and she's obviously sad. He knows the reason too.

"So, Shayera, any plans for Christmas?"

Shayera looks at him strangely. She really hadn't thought about it. Not being from Earth, Christmas has never been very special to her, with the acceptation of that one Christmas Eve two years ago that she and John had their first real 'date' at that alien bar in space. Now John has somebody else, there really seems no point in celebrating the holidays now.

"Not really," she answers, "Probably just go to an Earth bar and get smashed and get into a fight or two."

Shayera really doesn't enjoy that as much as she used too, having lost much of her passion to fight 'just for fun' after the Thanagarian invasion, but it's what she knows and she's comfortable doing it. Besides, what better way to drown her sorrows then with some good beer, even if it's not the beer from her old hang-out.

Flash raises his eyes. That's no way to spend Christmas, especially alone. Then a light bulb goes off inside his head.

"Hey Shayera. I have an idea. Why don't you spend Christmas with me? I have lots to do tomorrow. You can go to the orphanage with me and help decorate for the Christmas pageant, bake cookies and candy, sing carols, and go shopping with me. Maybe we'll even sneak in a holiday movie and look at lights. Central City has some of the most specular and cheerful light displays in the country. What do you say?"

Doesn't really sound like much fun to Shayera. She cares about helping the children, just not the activities Flash seems so excited about.

"I don't know."

"Ah come on Hawkgirl," urges Flash, "What do you have to lose?"

Shayera almost lashes out at Flash. She hates being called by her former alias. However, Flash is right. What does she have to lose?

"Alright. What time?"

"Pick ya up at 9:00 in the morning?"

"Fine."

December 24: 9:30 am; Central City Orphanage

It's time to hang the lights, it's time to trim the tree. It's time to decorate the house with red and green. Come on Christmastime, I just can't wait You know I'm ready to celebrate. Come on Christmastime I waiting just to see my presents. Stacked up under the tree waiting for me

Shayera looks down at the Christmas sweatshirt she's wearing that Flash gave her. It has a large picture of a reindeer head with a large, shining red nose and ornaments hanging from its antlers. It is kind of cute, in its own way.

Shayera and Flash are at the Central City Orphanage helping to decorate the main hall and stage for the pageant and party tonight. The winged warrior is mostly decorating the ceiling since she can fly.

"Lower that evergreen just an inch Hawkgirl," shouts a supervising volunteer, "PERFECT!" Shayera flies down. "That's just perfect Hawkgirl. We're so glad Flash brought you. We really appreciate your help and the children really love you too."

Shayera smiles. She's happy to hear that her help is appreciated, and the children and even the adults seem happy that she's there. However, the overall atmosphere isn't all that pleasant. Most of the adults and teenage volunteers don't seem to be an anymore festive mood then her. Most of the teens are only here helping because either their parents are making them or they have fulfill community service requirements. Even some of the adults are here only due to reputation or service obligations. They are constantly complaining about the over-bearing stress and pressure of the season and how they just can't wait for the holidays to be over with. They are even complaining about how disappointed both they and their own children were with they're gifts last year.

Just this morning on their way to the Orphanage, Shayera noticed large crowds of people standing outside dozens of stores; demanding, complaining, and even carelessly stomping on and hurting others. She's seen more than enough for-sale signs and Christmas advertisements then she can bear. She even saw people just ignoring the homeless on the streets. If Christmas is really supposed to be about selfless compassion, goodwill, and peace, why then is everybody so selfish and not satisfied with what they have.

Shayera knows the story behind Christmas and it's one of her favorite stories. Yet, she doesn't how all the presents, parties, decorations, trees, lights, completions, making money, and all the crazy hustle and bustle tie in with the birth of the son of God.

Flash, meanwhile, is almost entirely oblivious to all the negativity and just so sincerely joyful and cheerful, even more so the usual.

Shayera hears a loud "CRASH". Flash is on the floor next to a fallen tree tangled up in Christmas lights. Everybody, including Shayera, burst out in laughter. After Flash gets untangled and back on his feet, Shayera asked him what happened and he sheepishly.

"I was moving at super speed and tripped over some lights and crashed into the tree."

For once, Shayera can't control her laughter, "Even here you're clumsy."

11:30 AM: Wally's Mother's House

It's time for yummy food, it's time for family fun. It's time for singing Christmas songs with everyone. Come on Christmastime, I just can't wait. You know I'm ready to celebrate. Come on Christmastime I'm waiting just to see my presents. Stacked up under the tree waiting for me

Shayera and Wally, now in civvies, are helping his mother and aunts bake cookies and fudge. Wally's way of helping, however, is by 'testing' the ingredients, batter, and even the finished cookies and candy themselves. For every cookie or piece of fudge they manage to get into a gift bag, five of each go into Wally's mouth.

Wally is 'testing' yet another bag of chocolate chips. His mother, Mary, sneaks up on him and snatching the bag away from him. Wally responds by trying to grab it back, resulting in a mother-son tug-a-war.

"Mom. I need to test the chips to make sure they're fresh enough."

"I believe testing the first half of the bag is enough," Mary tickles Wally in the stomach. The ticklish speedster can't help but let go. "Besides," adds Mary, "You've already had ten bags and I believe they're fresh enough. You test anymore I won't make you your own triple batch tonight."

Wally reluctantly stops 'testing' the ingredients, thought he still gets his hands on some of the finished goodies, and he's still allowed to lick the batter.

Shayera laughs. Aside from Flash's antics, however, she's really not enjoying this as much as she hoped. Her two batches of cookies were a mess, burnt, and inedible. Her first attempt at fudge was too oily and soupy, the second, was looked like thick mud, and tasted even worse. Non-the-less, Wally ate ever bit of hers, though she could tell that he didn't like really like them. Wally West's stomach is probably the only one in known universe who could hand her cooking.

Now, Shayera's just helping to package the goodies, the ones that Wally doesn't manage to 'test' anyway. She's really trying to enjoy herself, but she just can't.

4:30 PM

School is out time for fun, Christmas season's just begun. Make your wishes check you list, waiting for the twenty-fifth. Wrapping presents and hanging stocking and...

Shayera and Wally finish wrapping the last of the orphan and Kid's Ya'll Love gifts. Wrapping presents was a lot harder than Shayera thought it would be, and turned out to be a real pain in the butt. She doesn't do very well, but as matter of fact, neither dose Wally. He's 'slow' wrapping wasn't great, but he's super speed wrapping was really a mess.

"Aw don't worry about it," assures Wally, "The kids don't care how neat it's wrapped. They just care about tearing it open and what's inside."

Just then, Wally's seven-year-old cousin Inez comes in and looks at the packages. A distraught look appears on her face, "Who wrapped these?"

"It's what's inside that counts," answers Wally.

"You wrapped them," responds Inez.

Shayera gives Wally a stern looks. He smiles sheepishly.

A few minutes later, Wally, changing back into his Flash costume, ask Shayera if she'd like to run up to the department store with him, "I need to pick up a new PC for the orphans and I need to get some family gifts as well."

Shayera gives him an odd look, "You're not done with your Christmas shopping yet?"

"Uh no," replies Flash, "I've been, uh, so busy that I haven't had time to go shopping."

"You've just been lazy," smirks Shayera.

...just one more day...of shopping!

Come on Christmas come on in let the fun and games begin.

6:00 P.M.-Department Store

Yea, this really is a lot of fun.

Shayera stands near the checkout registers while Flash zips around doing last minute shopping. Shayera already gave all her gifts at the party last night, including a singing Spongebob Sqaurepants to Flash. This shopping crowd is more like an angry mob. There are so many angry people in the store and the employees are frustrated and noticeably tired. People are walking all over each other that five costumers and two employees have already been taken out on stretchers.

Shayera hangs her head in misery. She doesn't know why she even came. Was this the way humans really acted on Christmas? Was this all there was? Shayera's certain that no one is thinking about that little baby born to a poor woman in a cold, lonely stable more than 2000 years ago.

It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line. Tryin' to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood

Shayera leans on a spot next to a cash register. She wishes Flash would just hurry up so they can get out of there.

Then, she notices coming up next to her, is a small boy of about seven or eight years of age.

Standing right in front of me was a little boy waiting anxiously. Pacing 'round like little boys do. And in his hands he held a pair of shoes. His clothes were worn and old, he was dirty from head to toe

Shayera is captivate by this sight. The boy is dressed in semi-worn clothes and is dirty from head to toe. He seems to be all alone and, to Shayera's surprise, is holding a pair of shiny silver shoes with gold trim. What could this seemly poor, little boy want with a pair of women's shoes?

The little boy approached the cash register with a smile, yet his eyes were filled with sorrow, yet still hope. The boy put the shoes on top of the register and Shayera inches closer to hear. What Shayera hears next is just far beyond belief!

And when it came his time to pay' I couldn't believe what I heard him say

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please. It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size. Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time. You see she's been sick for quite a while. And I know these shoes would make her smile. And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight

Shayera's marveled at what she just heard. She watched as the little boy poured a sock full of pennies on the register and started counting them.

He counted pennies for what seemed like years. Then the cashier said, "Son, there's not enough here"

The little boy looked sad and frantically searched his pockets. Filled with compassion, Shayera taps the little boy in the shoulder. He looks up and she gives him a warm smile.

He searched his pockets frantically. Then he turned and he looked at me. He said Mama made Christmas good at our house. Though most years she just did without. Tell me Ma'ma, what am I going to do, Somehow I've got to buy her these Christmas shoes

Shayera's heart melts. This poor little boy isn't thinking of himself. He's thinking of his ill Mama. This little boy, dirty from head to toe, clothes torn and worn whose mother might be dying, believes in Jesus. He only wants to make his Mama smile.

I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please. It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size. Could you hurry, please, Daddy says there's not much time. You see she's been sick for quite a while. And I know these shoes would make her smile. And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight

Shayera can feel tears filling up her eyes. Her heart feels warm. She has to help this little boy. She has to buy him those shoes so he can give them his Mama. Shayera takes out her wallet and just barely has enough to pay for the shoes.

So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out. I'll never forget the look on his face when he said Mama's gonna look so great

Shayera can't remember the last time she saw so much joy on a child's face. The cashier gives Shayera the receipt and the bag containing the shoes. She gives them back to the little boy.

A beaming smile appears on boy's face. "Thank you so much miss. I wish I could give you something." The boy seems to notice something, "Wait. I can give you something."

The boy runs over to a Santa's helper giving away free candy canes. He gets one and gives it to Shayera.

The boy didn't have to do that, thinks a now touched Shayera, "He's so sweet."

"Can I give you one more thing?" The boy uses his finger urging Shayera to come closer. She kneels down and he gives her a kiss on the cheek. "Thank you so much Miss. Mama will look great tonight, thanks to you. I'll say a prayer for you if you say a prayer for Mama, and for Daddy too."

Shayera fights back tears, "I'll say a prayer for your Mama, your Daddy, and for you."

The little boy gives her one last smile, then leaves and disappears into the crowd. Tears are now falling down Shayera's face. She knows in her heart that this boy was sincere. Of all the things she's done as a hero, she's never felt as good as this. One of the rare times she's actually done so, she bows her head and says a true prayer.

"Thank you God of heaven, for sending this little boy to me to remind me of selfless. Like the love you..."

Suddenly, it hits Shayera. She remembers the story, the story of love. God sent His son into the world to save all who would come to Him because He loves them. Jesus was God's give to creation. Jesus came because of love.

I knew I'd caught a glimpse of heaven's love' As he thanked me and ran out. I knew that God had sent that little boy to remind me just what Christmas is all about

This is what Christmas is all about! Christmas is about love. Unconditional love.

Shayera then notices Flash in another checkout line, about to pay. She realizes that she hasn't thanked nor really appreciated what Flash was trying to do for her. She's been too lost in her own sorrows that she hadn't been to open to Wally's unconditional love of friendship. He's always trying to give this to her, but unfortunately, she doesn't always appreciate it.

"Wally didn't deserve that from me," thinks Shayera, "How can I make it up to him."

Even though Shayera already gave Flash a present at the party last night, it was more of a gag gift and she really wants to give him something to say thank you. She knows she doesn't have to, but she wants to. A hug or even a kiss on the cheek might due, but Shayera really wants to show Wally her graditute. She doesn't have much money left after paying for the shoes. Even though she knows love isn't expressed through money, she still wants to buy her "little brother" a little something of friendship and gratitude.

She notices a sign for Christmas cakes on display. She goes up and finds one round cake left. The cake has white and red icing and the words "Happy Birthday Jesus" written on it. Shayera grabs it and has just enough money left to get it. It says on the label that it's a mix yellow and chocolate cake. Wally will love this.

Shayera pays for the cake in the express lane and by the time she gets back up front, Flash is waiting for her holding some bags.

"Where were you?"

"Getting a gift," she answers, "Ready to go."

"Yea, let's blow this joint."

7:30 PM-Central City Orphanage

Back at the orphanage, Shayera is enjoying herself for the first time. It's actually bringing her joy to see the smiles on the children's faces as they open and play with their new gifts. These children really don't have much and are happy and grateful for any little thing they get. Shayera can't believe she didn't see this before.

Flash notices the difference in Shayera. He pulls her aside and hands her a gift bag. Shayera is surprised as he had already given her the reindeer sweatshirt last night.

"Wally. You already gave me a gift."

"I know Shayera," replies Flash, "but I felt like getting you something else to cheer you up."

Shayera opens the bag and finds a gift basket with a coffee cup, her favorite tea, cocoa, peppermints, and both hand and body lotion. She is surprised, and pleased.

"Wally, thank you."

"You're welcome," smiles Flash.

They were about to hug when Shayera pulls away, "Oh. Stay for here a sec Wally."

Shayera runs into an ajointing room. Flash is puzzled. She returns with a box.

"Wally, this is for you."

Flash's eyes beam with joy when he sees the cake. He is speechless.

"Shayera, I...thank you."

"You're welcome, I wanted to tell you how grateful I am for you inviting me today, and for always being a friend when I need one the most."

"Thanks so such much Shayera," smiles Flash, "I'll share a piece with you if you'd like. Besides, what are friends for?"

"Sure."

"You know what?" asks Flash, "I've noticed a change in you since we left the store. This might be a stupid question, but what made you start, enjoying yourself?"

Shayera smiles, "Let's just say, I've discovered the true meaning of Christmas."

As the two friends reenter the party, Shayera's thoughts go back to that one little boy, and the words he said that pierced her heart.

I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please. It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size. Could you hurry, please, Daddy says there's not much time. You see she's been sick for quite a while. And I know these shoes would make her smile. And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight

Merry Christmas everybody! May the love of our Savior touch each and every one of you this Christmas season.