Monday, December 23, 2019

The Christmas I Learned about My Heavenly Father

Here is an excerpt from the new book I 'm writing, Following in Footsteps of Faith--a true event that happened one Christmas that still impacts my life. I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas!
In the early 1950s in Juneau, Alaska, when I was 5 or 6 years old, most families did their gift shopping by mail in the Territory. The arrival of the Sears and Roebuck Christmas catalog signaled the beginning of the holiday season. We kids spent hours poring over the Christmas catalog, studying page after page of toys and dolls, looking for the exact gift we wanted.
As I turned a page, my eyes fell upon the most beautiful doll I’d ever seen—a bride doll dressed in lace and tulle, with a veil over long, blond curls that could be combed and styled.
I ran to show my mother. “This is what I want for Christmas!”
With sadness tingeing her voice, she said, “Oh, honey, you’ll have to pray and ask Jesus for that doll. We don’t have enough money to buy presents this year.”
By faith, my parents operated the Bethel Beach Children’s Home in a big house on the beach just outside of town. They received little income for caring for the children—as many as thirteen children, nine of them under five and two babies in cribs—orphaned, neglected, or abandoned. Others had only one parent and no one to care for them while the parent worked.
Bethel Beach Children’s Home in Juneau, Alaska, c. 1950
I am the girl in the back row second from left
My dad worked full time to support our family and the home. My mother cared for all the children as well as doing the cooking, the laundry, and the cleaning. We children did our assigned chores, but Mother was usually without other adult help. Both parents provided us with a lot of love and Christian training.
That year, every night until December 24, when I knelt to say my bedtime prayers, I asked Jesus to give me that beautiful bride doll for Christmas. My request wasn’t very significant to anyone but me. You might even say it was selfish. It certainly would not change the course of history if I didn’t receive that doll.
Christmas morning, when we children, wide-eyed with expectation, tripped down the stairs and peeked into the large living room, we discovered gaily wrapped presents under the tree for each of us. The tags all read, “From Jesus.” When I unwrapped my gift, the beautiful doll I’d prayed for lay inside.
Years later, my mother told me the rest of the story. That Christmas Eve, Behrends, the only department store in Juneau at that time, had invited my parents to come down to the store to pick out gifts for all the children—free of charge. Among the unsold toys, she found the bride doll for me.
That Christmas, this young girl learned that the God who created the Universe cares about every detail of her life, including what she wanted for Christmas. And to this day, that sense of my Heavenly Father’s love has never left me.
Other books by AnnaLeeConti available at


  1. Beautiful story and testimony to God's love for us, AnnaLee. Thank you for sharing it with us. I look forward to reading your new book. Merry Christmas!

  2. Thank you, Deb. Most of it is written, but pulling it all together is quite a job. Will let you know when it is published. Hope you had a merry Christmas and will have a blessed New Year.