Part 5

Meanwhile, back in the outskirts of the human village, in the house that Gustav and his wife Elise were living in, Elise was snuffing out the candle on the table beside her bed. "Oh, please put out the light and come to bed, Gustav," Elise called out. "Christmas Eve is over."
"Ja, Elise," Gustav replied, moving around the logs in the fireplace in order to snuff out the fire. "And tomorrow you will be healthy again...I hope."
And with the last light in the house turned off, Gustav entered the bedroom and rested beside his wife. He remembered when things were much happier in the early days of their marriage, how there was much love and joy and happiness because of his toys and her enthusiasm and encouragement for him to follow his dreams. Now it seems that the best years of their lives were behind them, and that he may have to live the rest of his life without the woman that made his own worth living. Now the only thing left he could put his hope in is for a miracle to happen.
He remembered hearing from the village preacher that with God all things were possible, and that His Son could heal people just by speaking a word or touching them. It sounded too much like a fantasy, and yet now he couldn't pull away from the possibility that the preacher may be right, that it may be time for him to put his hope in something much greater than fairy tales.
"Oh, dear God," he whispered as he laid back on his bed, "I know how undeserving I am, and that I haven't been much of a believer in You. I don't ask for much, except that you would look upon my dear wife Elise and give her the comfort and healing that she needs. Anything that you want, I would gladly give to You, if that would mean I would have more years with my wife, for whom I am grateful. If this is to be her last Christmas, please take her home with You and may she know the peace and joy of being with You forever. In the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen."
And after the prayer, Gustav closed his eyes and fell asleep.

Meanwhile, in another house in the same area, the hooded figure seen earlier peeked out from the door of his hideout and looked around, seeing how quiet everything is with the snow falling and everyone else gone to sleep. Everyone, that is, except for some possible travelers in the night.
"Ah, nothing like a good Christmas evening for some purse snatching," the hooded figure said to himself. "Rich people hurrying home with their presents, too busy to guard their gold." He set out to walk through the empty streets, rubbing his hands together as he delighted in the thought of finding easy prey.
As he was doing this, Papa Smurf and his sled full of Smurfs being pulled by Puppy had just entered the village outskirts. "That village smurfs much bigger than our own, Empath," Wild commented.
"That's because it's a human village, Wild," Empath explained. "We'll have to travel through it in order to reach our destination."
"We should be careful not to let the humans smurf us, Papa Smurf, if we're going to smurf to the toymaker's house safely," Grandpa Smurf cautioned.
"I agree, Grandpa Smurf," Papa Smurf said. "I'll direct Puppy to smurf through the alleyways."
Puppy then made a turn into a nearby alleyway. "These houses are just as tall as the trees, Empath," Wild mentioned as they traveled through the alleyway.
"Everything in a human village is so big, Wild," Empath said. "This is their world, and we're the strangers who are entering into it. Just stay close to us, and you'll be fine."
"I hope these humans are friendly, Empath," Wild said.
At that moment, Willem was walking home carrying a stack of presents. "These gifts will surprise Hans, and he will so happy with them that he will forget whatever toys those peasants can make," he said to himself. He found himself shivering from how cold the weather is, and then looked toward an alleyway that was next to him. "I think I'll take his shortcut home."
Willem walked down the alleyway, passing by a turn where the hooded figure was waiting. He peeked out when he heard footsteps passing by him and saw a bag of gold that was hanging on Willem's belt. He smiled as he saw his first catch of the night and stepped out in order to take it.
Willem didn't notice anything happening until he felt his belt getting lighter, and then he stopped and looked to see that his bag of gold was gone. He then caught a glimpse of the hooded figure as he slipped off toward another alleyway. "Stop! Thief!" he cried out.
At the same time, the sled with the Smurfs had entered the same alley as Willem. "Uh-oh, there's a human straight ahead of us," Grandpa Smurf warned.
"Faster, Puppy," Papa Smurf coaxed. "Let's smurf between his legs before he even smurfs us."
"Hang on, laddies and lassies," Duncan cried out.
Every Smurf held onto the sled as best as they could as the sled passed under Willem's legs. Willem felt himself losing his balance and fell to the ground, causing his stack of presents to fly in the air. One of them landed on the sled and knocked Hefty and Brainy off it.
"That was a close one, Grampy," Sassette said after they passed by the human.
"But we lost Hefty and Brainy," Wild said, ready to leap off the sled. "I've got to smurf after them and find them."
"Hold it, Wild," Empath said, grabbing Wild before he leaped off. "We can't let the humans see us, even if we lost some of our fellow Smurfs. Besides, Hefty is able to look after Brainy and make sure that he doesn't get himself into any trouble."
Wild sighed. "I just want to help my fellow Smurfs, Empath. I don't want to lose them."
"This smurf knows how you feel, Wild," Empath said. "But Hefty would want us to continue on with our mission regardless of what happens to him. This smurf trusts in his abilities to know that he and Brainy will know how to find us."
"But you know that they're still alive?" Wild asked.
"If Hefty and Brainy have both perished, this smurf will know because this smurf can sense their life force," Empath said. "So far this smurf detects that they are still alive. Just trust this smurf to know what this smurf is doing."
"Yes, Empath, I will," Wild said, watching as they continued to ride through the alley.

Meanwhile, back in the alley, Willem was still sitting in the snow, crying out, "Help! Help! Get the sheriff!" And as he was crying out, Hefty pushed one of the presents that fell on him and Brainy away from them.
"Ahhhh...I knew that I should have stayed in the village instead of smurfing out here on a Christmas eve," Brainy complained.
"There's that thief, Brainy," Hefty said, spotting the hooded figure as he was slipping into another alley. "Come on, let's catch him."
"Catch him?" Brainy asked. "Are you out of your mind? We've got to catch up to our sled and rejoin the other Smurfs."
"Look, you can smurf whatever you want, but I'm not going to let some thief run off without smurfing a few words with him," Hefty said as he raced off in the direction of where the thief was going.
Brainy continued to stand in the same spot in the alley, folding his arms together as he tried to keep himself warm. "Oh, and to think I was much better off smurfing at home smurfing open presents, instead of just smurfing through an alley of a human village smurfing after some thief. Oh, why did Empath and Wild had to smurf off with Sassette and Grandpa on some silly mission to smurf some happiness to a human couple, is one thing that I will never..."
Brainy's contemplations were suddenly interrupted by a hissing sound from above his head. He looked up and saw that a big rat was waiting to pounce upon him.
Brainy screamed as he ran from the rat and scurried his way up to the top of a stack of wood to avoid the creature. "Hefty! Help! Save me!"
Hefty heard Brainy's cries and headed back into the alley. "Hold on, Brainy, and get ready to jump when I tell you."
With the rat distracted in trying to reach Brainy, Hefty grabbed the rat's tail and tied it to a nearby hook on a wall. "Okay, Brainy, jump!"
Brainy jumped and followed Hefty as they raced toward the other end of the alley. The rat tried to follow them, but was pulled back by his tail until he ended up hitting the wall, knocking him out.
"Thanks, Hefty," Brainy said, sighing with relief. "I knew you wouldn't leave me alone like that."
"I only care about you because you're a Smurf, Brainy," Hefty said. "I still think you're annoying, but I'd rather deal with you personally than just leave you smurfing for yourself by some creature bigger than you."
"Oh, don't be so modest, Hefty," Brainy said. "You knew that you couldn't smurf without my brilliant intelligent mind to smurf you through all sorts of situations, both peaceful and dangerous, like smurfing with that rat. Just admit it that your life would be totally different without me around in it."
"That's the only thing about you that I will admit, Brainy," Hefty said.

Back in the village, Narrator was entertaining the Smurfs that stayed behind with a story that he read to them in Tapper's Tavern, while Tapper served his fellow Smurfs hot chocolate to keep themselves warm. All throughout, he felt his heart was directed toward the Smurfs who went with Papa Smurf to help Empath, Wild, Sassette, and Grandpa Smurf on their charity mission, hoping and praying that they would be safe and that their mission would be a success.
Polaris Psyche sat at the counter, drinking a glass of seltzer, paying very little attention to Narrator's story. Tapper noticed this from his Psychelian friend. "I could smurf that there's something on your mind that you wish to smurf me about, my good Polaris," he said.
"You are correct, fellow Tapper," Polaris said. "This one is thinking all the efforts you Smurfs put into helping out beings that are bigger than yourselves, despite the possibility that some may either not be able to reciprocate the intentions, or even worse, reciprocate in a manner that is directly opposite to the mercy that you show upon them."
"I admit that helping others doesn't come without risk, Polaris," Tapper said. "There's many a time that we even help out Gargamel when common smurf would dictate it would be better for us to let him be smurfed by his own evil. But how often have I prayed that Gargamel would smurf a change of heart and would see that the Smurfs are not his enemies, nor would I ever hope that we would be. We would only want to live in peace in the forest with him, as the Almighty would have the lion smurf down with the lamb on His holy mountain."
"But regardless of how some humans and other beings remain steadfast in their desire to commit evil, you and the other Smurfs remain steadfast in your desire to show kindness and acts of mercy upon those that may not deserve it," Polaris said.
"Not everybody in the Smurf Village agrees with that thinking, Polaris, but I for one will want to be like the Almighty in smurfing compassion upon all people, even if they never smurf it upon me or any of my fellow Smurfs," Tapper said. "Sometimes when I smurf such acts of kindness, I feel that I am smurfing them unto the Almighty Himself."
"You believe that the Almighty resides in the humans that live upon this world, Tapper?" Polaris asked.
"I believe that humans have been smurfed in His image, and when I see humans smurfing like us, I think that I'm seeing the face of the Almighty," Tapper answered. "But what I see is only what the holy book says that I see now...as through a glass, darkly. How I long for the day that I may be able to see Him as He truly is, face to face."
"It is difficult for this one to see a reflection of this Almighty in such beings that are bigger than ourselves, and yet act in ways that the Psyche Master would consider to be savage and barbaric," Polaris commented.
"Whether they reflect the image of the Almighty or not, Polaris, I would still want to smurf my best in serving the Almighty by helping what He has created in His image," Tapper said. "Though I may not be rewarded in this life for it, He will reward each and every one of us for our works in eternity."