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My own memories of that Christmas in 1943 are vague and clouded, but those of my family remain vivid in the extreme. For the first time ever my mother would not be home for that most special holiday. She, who'd taught all of us the meaning and spirit of Chritmas, would spend it at the hospital with me. And though they all agreed her place was there, it put the season in a strange light. How strange, how unique and unreal it would become, no one could even imagine".
As they prepare for Christmas, strange and ridiculous petty thefts mystify everyone. First, smoke is seen high on the mountain, then Ben and Jim Bob see someone in the barn at night. The potato sack is missing; Jim Bob's shirt vanishes from the washing line; the Godsey's store is broken into but only a few apples are missing. Then Miss Baldwin has a cold and hungry stranger in for breakfast, but who disappears quickly when John knocks at the door. Then eight year old Jeffrey finds a "secret friend" in the woods. He invites him to come for Christmas. On that Christmas Eve the family is gathered together when Jeffrey goes to the door and finds his friend outside. John invites him in. He's Paul and explains that he's an escaped P.O.W., half German, but also half American. Remembering that John-Boy, shot down over Europe, was picked up by a German fishing boat and is now recovering in hospital, the family invites him into their home for Christmas.
"It was a Christmas Eve long remembered in our home, an escaped prisoner-of-war brought the spirit of Christmas to Jeffrey, and to all those gathered, who longed for peace on earth, goodwill toward men".
- Joe Conley as Ike Godsey
- Ronnie Claire Edwards as Corabeth Godsey
- Mary Jackson as' Emily Baldwin'