Tuesday, 4 December 2012

New Beginnings... A Christmas Story of Hope

This is a short story I wrote for the 2007 writing contest in our local newspaper "The Carillon".  Here I also won honorable mention for my story.  This story I wrote is fiction...

This is how my story was set up in the newspaper - The Carillon

New beginnings.....
Christmas would soon be here again. The sights and sounds of the season were everywhere with the colorful lights beautifully adorning the neighborhood and Christmas carols being played non-stop on the radio.
Lena knew that the Christmas season was supposed to be one of the happiest times of the year but for her it definitely was not.
She was sure it would be the loneliest time for her in all the thirty years of her life. Having never married and having no family close by this year, she dreaded the holiday season.
Since the death of their parents three years ago, sister Amelia had always invited her over for the holidays. Last summer, sister Amelia and her husband Dave had moved out east to be closer to Dave's family and would be spending Christmas with them. Now Lena wondered how she would get through Christmas all alone.
Quiety she sat there. Thinking. Wondering why must it be so. Oh she did have so much to be thankful for - her salvation, her job at the local school where she was in her seventh year of teaching grade eleven students, her apartment, a car, and friends at work and church. But Mother had always insisted that Christmas be spent with family.
Her thoughts raced back to her childhood and the wonderful Christmases she had spent with her family. She and Amelia had always been so close. Amelia was two years younger but had been the best friend sister anyone could wish for.
She thought back to her school years and pondered the Christmas concert in the sixth grade. She had played the part of Mary and Tom Henders had played Joseph. Tom Henders and Dave Wadge ( now Amelia's husband ) had been best friends in school. Lena blushed as she thought of Tom again. She had always hoped that he would notice her. He had been so charming with his black wavy hair and boyish grin. But he had moved away in eighth grade and she had never heard from him since.
Dave and Amelia had been sweethearts since the nineth grade. Before Tom had moved, the four of them had had many good times together.
For ten years, Lena had prayed for a husband remembering Tom every time she prayed. But God had not answered that prayer so Lena had decided to give up and do the best she could for herself. Teaching was also something she loved, so she knew God had answered prayer.
Jolting herself out of her daydream and back to her present situation, Lena began to pray. "Lord", she prayed, "help me this Christmas to rejoice in your birth and in the gift of salvation. And get me through this lonely time without family. And Lord.....could I ask for just one surprise this Christmas?"
With that she got up from her cozy rocking chair and got ready for church. The evening service would start in one hour.
Later that evening as Lena reflected on Pastor Mike's message which had been titled " Hope through Sharing", she decided that she would need to be intentional this Christmas and share what she had with those she could. She got out a notepad and began to jot down a couple of ideas as they came to her. Time - yes time that is what she had to give. Tomorrow she would check out a couple of places that needed help  during the Christmas season. Pastor Mike had mentioned that Empty Stocking needed some volunteers to wrap gifts and also that the nursing home was looking for people to visit the lonely people there. Lenas was already beginning to feel better about Christmas. Could she dare say she was excited!!
The next morning, Lena busied herself getting ready for the last day of school. She knew the kids were eager for the holidays to begin and now Lena found herself looking forward to her break from teaching as well. God was alreading giving her the hope that Pastor Mike had spoken of.
Lena was about to leave her apartment when she noticed she had a message waiting on her answering machine. There must have been a call while she was at church last night. Quickly she pressed the play button. It was Amelia's voice. - "I have an idea for Christmas...can you call me back?" It was getting later so Lena knew she would have to wait till after school to call her sister. The day flew by quickly for Lena. All day she tried to figure out what Amelia's idea could be and as soon as she got home, she made the call to Amelia.
Amelia and Dave were asking her to fly out to Fredricton to their house for Christmas - all expenses paid as their Christmas gift to her from them. Since Dave worked for the airline, he had been able to get a good deal on the flight. Dave knew it would mean a lot to Amelia to haver her sister Lena with them for Christmas.
" OH thank-you, thank-you," Lena screamed with delight!
All was settled then. Lena would fly out the morning of December 23 and be with Amelia and Dave for their Christmas Eve service and she would be expected for Christmas dinner with Dave's family as well.
"Thank-you Lord", prayed Lena as she hung up the phone. " I asked for a surprise didn't I?.... Thank-you Lord for remembering me!"
The next few days flew by for Lena. She did help wrap the gifts for Empty Stocking and she visited with the folks in the nursing home each evening that week. She found herself loving every person she would visit. This may well be my best Christmas yet, she thought.
Lena arrived safely in Fredricton as planned. It was truly wonderful to see Amelia and Dave. Fredricton was so beautiful. Lena found herself imagining what it would be like for her to move out here some day. She could probably get a teaching job here as well. It was something to think about for another day.
It was Christmas Eve now and the service had begun. Lena was throroughly enjoying herself. She was with Amelia and Dave for Christmas after all! Then the Pastor stood up to speak. He introduced himself as Tom Henders. Lena's mind began to race! Could it be the same Tom Henders?? Now she would have to meet him - perhaps with his wife and family. It would be so awkward... but it would put some closure to her thoughts about Tom.
Amelia nudged Lena - " You remember Tom, don't you? I told him you were coming out and I have invited him over to our house for hot cocoa after the service. He's still single and is dying to see you again. Hope that's okay with you?"
Lena blushed as her eyes met Tom's. Oddly his message too was titled -  "Hope through Sharing".
Lena bowed her head. "Thank-you Lord for surprising me. Thank-you for family and thank-you for hope. Thank-you for your Son Jesus - the real miracle of Christmas!"
This was going to be the best Christmas ever - A Christmas of New Beginnings!

Note: You can link to my other Christmas story here http://sharingthefaith-northernsparrow.blogspot.ca/2012/12/christmas-memories-story-i-wrote-for.html

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