Christmas Stories

Beth’s Christmas Blessing

——BETH——

Mom says, I’m amazing. I doubt it. But, If I am, it’s because of her. I mean, she’s like super amazing. Off the charts, to the moon and back amazing. Like, Spiderman amazing, if Spiderman was a lady with two jobs, one child, and no husband.

I’m the one child. I’m Elizabeth Ann Wilson. People call me Beth. Mom brought me into the world almost 10 years ago. She says I’m her miracle baby. Yeah, she talks like that a lot.

     Don’t tell anyone, but Mom used to leave me at home a lot. She worked all day at the Lazy Day Motel cleaning rooms. Then she came home, fed me, helped me with my homework, and hung out with me.

     She tucked me in every night at 7:30 and rushed off to work a late shift at the Hometown Diner.

     I know, crazy, right.

     That all changed the Sunday before Thanksgiving. That’s where my story begins.

     “Hi Sweetums!” (Mom says I have to include how she really calls me. Silly, I know.)

     “You’re home early!” I was surprised to see her come in the door.

     “Whatcha working on?”

     “I’m writing a story.” I did that a lot. I love words, not numbers. I couldn’t get an ‘A’ on a math test even if all the questions were 2 + 2.

     “Can I see?”     

“Not till it’s done.” I hid my paper from her. “So why are you home early?”

     “So, I can spend more time with you.” She gave me a fake smile and mussed my hair.

I hated getting my hair mussed. “So, they fired you?” I thought I was joking.

“They fired everyone. They’re tearing the motel down to build a big store.”

     Mom says one of my talents is knowing how to make her feel better. Like right then, I knew I had to hug her. I did. For a long time.

     “I need to make you some dinner.” She let go of me and slid into our little kitchen.

     “It’s early, Mom. I just had SpaghettiOs for lunch.”

     “Oh. Okay.” She just stood there. “I think I’ll run down to the diner to see if they can give me a lunch shift.”

She smiled at me. “Maybe we’ll get to spend more time together.

——MOM——

     To say I was stressed would be the understatement of the century. I barely kept the bills paid as it was. There’s no way we could find a cheaper apartment. They don’t come any cheaper than this one-bedroom rat hole.

     When Beth came along, I was barely 18. Her father never knew about her. Neither did my parents. I just couldn’t tell them. Nor could I give her up.

     So, I ran away. I took the money I had saved from working as a waitress my last two years of high school and moved to Panama City, Florida. I couldn’t afford to drive far from my hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, but I figured it was far enough away that I wouldn’t run into my parents.

     That was over ten years ago. Beth turns ten in January. She’s a prom baby. My fanciest day in high school resulted in the most beautiful addition to my life. Just a little early.

——BETH——

     Mom started working the lunch rush at the diner every weekday. I didn’t have school that week, but I told her I wanted to stay home and write. The diner woulda bored me to tears. That Thursday was Thanksgiving. Mom said she would be lonely and insisted on me coming to her work that day. That was a mistake. I had to hang out on a stool at the lunch counter since the tables were full. She worked all day.

The cook and the other servers there are really nice. Cookie (that’s my name for him since I can never remember his real name) made the best Thanksgiving dinner for me. No wonder that place was so full.

When we got home, Mom grabbed a paper from the clip by our apartment door.  We both ate at the diner so all we had to do was relax. We just sat and watched the parade that we had recorded on the DVR.

Mom was asleep before the second balloon floated by. I watched it. I like the balloons and the singing, but I don’t like the bands. A big marching band was on when I noticed the piece of paper on the coffee table. The word “Gifts” stood out.

Need Gifts?

If you’re having trouble getting gifts for your kids this Christmas, we can help.

It was from some kinda place called the Bridge. It had a website to sign-up. I was all over that.

“Mom!” I shook her a little.

“Mmmm, huh?”

“Can I sign us up for free gifts?”

“Sure Sweetums.” She might not have really woken up, but it was good enough for me. I grabbed her phone and signed me up. It was easy. I just had to give them Mom’s name (Rose Wilson, if you were wondering), my name and age, our address and apartment number, and Mom’s phone number.

——MOM——

Beth told me about that flyer when I woke up. I should have thrown it out when I grabbed it from the notice clip at our front door.

It’s not that I hate churches. Well, maybe I do. I mean, they’re fine for some people. I just got too much of them growing up. So many self-righteous people telling me what I should and shouldn’t do.

My parents fit right in. They loved all that “do good” stuff.

Yeah, I missed them. Badly. But they would freak out if they knew I was a single mom. I left them a note the night I left. I’ve thought about writing them a bunch of times. I just couldn’t do it. Besides, I’ve made a good life for Beth and me. At least most of the time.

——BETH——

They dropped the presents off 3 days before Christmas. There were so many boxes! I was in AWE! I picked one up.

“Not until Christmas morning!” She warned.

“I was just shaking it.”

“Save the surprise for Christmas.”

“Then why are you looking in that envelope?”

“It says open now.” Her eyes got wide. “Yes! No diner food for us Christmas Eve!”

“Huh?” I set down the gift and looked at the card she was holding. There was a $100 Winn Dixie gift card! “Cool. Wait, aren’t you working at the diner Christmas Eve?”

“Only till 4, Frank decided to close the diner early on Christmas Eve and all day, Christmas Day.”

“Yay!”

“Yeah, well, I was wondering how we would afford Christmas dinner with no tips, but this’ll take care of that. Let’s go get groceries.

“Mom?”

“Yeah Sweetums?”

“Who gave us all this stuff?”

She looked at the note from the envelope. “A church called the Bridge.”

I looked at the paper over her shoulder. “That’s a weird name for a church.”

“And you’re suddenly a church name expert?”

“I look out the window when we go places. Seems like every church is saint something, or first something. Bridge is a weird name.”

“THE Bridge, and I don’t care what they call it. They gave us a good Christmas dinner. Now let’s go.”

——MOM—–

I had to steer the conversation away from church. I didn’t want her growing up like me.

Still, I was thrilled to have the extra grocery money. What kind of church does that? Didn’t matter. I was grateful for the gifts, but I’ll go my own way now, thank you. I was good at that.

——BETH——

While we drove to the store, I kept reading the paper in my head. When I see something, the words stick like a computer screen in my head. I was trying to figure out why someone would be so generous to us.

“Mom?”

“Yeah?” She looked at me in the mirror with that face that said she was on the edge of getting irritated.

“That church has a play on Christmas Eve at 6. Can we go?”

Her look hardened. “Sweetums, I spent enough time in church for the both of us when I was little. They don’t have anything you want.”

“But I bet you went to one of those saints or first churches.”

I heard her mumble “First Baptist.”

“I bet The Bridge is different. I bet they even have Santa there.”

“Santa’s not a church thing.”

“Is giving gifts to strangers a church thing?”

She was quiet for a minute.

“Can’t say I ever saw that growing up, except for little shoeboxes with cheap gifts for poor kids overseas.”

“I wanna go see if Santa goes there!” I blurted it out a little too loud.

Mom stared at me in the mirror while she waited for light to change. She was quiet until we got to the grocery store.

—–MOM—–

If she only knew the debate that went on in my head just then. I wanted to protect her from the judgement that I lived through, but I wanted her to have a broad life experience. I decided that one play wouldn’t hurt.

“Tell you what Sweetums, we’ll get a big ham and put it in the slow cooker before service. We can get the side dishes ready to put in the oven before and then we’ll go check out this Christmas play. But I warn you, you’ll probably be bored to tears.”

—–BETH—–

“If I’m bored, we can leave early. We’ll sit in back, so no one notices us leave.”

“Deal!” We did a fancy handshake that she taught me years ago. “Now let’s get some food!”

I don’t know how Mom does it, but she found coupons on her phone and special deals to the point where we left the store with enough to “feed an army” (her words) for what she usually spends on food (plus the gift card).

Over the next couple of days, while Mom was at work, I cleaned and decorated the house. We didn’t have much – a scrawny, worn out fake tree, a bunch of dollar store ornaments, and a few strands of lights. I made a bunch of snowflakes from paper I found in Mom’s desk.

—–MOM—–

It was amazing how Beth transformed our tiny apartment into a Winter Wonderland. That girl’s got talent. I cleaned and prepared as much as I could between work shifts and exhaustion.

Come Christmas Eve, I prepared green bean, and sweet potato casseroles before I left for work and stuck them in the fridge next to the rolls I had baked the day before. I was excited about our big Christmas Eve dinner!

“Why do we have the big dinner the day before Christmas?” Beth came up with the best questions.

“That way we can be lazy all Christmas Day and play with your new toys.”

“Why can’t we invite Grandma and Grandpa for dinner?”

“Honey, I told you they live a long way away. Now I need to get to work.”

I got to work 15 minutes early and felt guilty all day. A girl should know her grandparents but, I just couldn’t face them.

—–BETH—–

I was all done with my decorations, so I spent most of Christmas Eve watching Christmas movies on TV and looking out the window. Neighbors were leaving with cars packed for trips home. I admit, I felt lonely. I wondered what it would be like to have more of a family.

That’s when I decided to be sneaky. I noticed an address book on top of the paper I got from Mom’s desk. I wondered.

I looked up Wilson in the book. No entries. I started flipping through the book. Not many entries. Mostly friends around here. Then I got to the M’s. There it was. “Mom and Dad. The address was in Montgomery, AL. And there was a phone number.

Mom kept a cheap prepaid phone around. “It’s only for emergencies!” She always reminds me of this.

It’s Christmas Eve. I’m lonely. That’s an emergency, right?

I kept messing up the number, I was shaking so badly. I finally got it entered. All I had to do was press the green button. I couldn’t. I hit the red button.

No! I had to go through it it. I put the number in again. It took three tries. This time I pushed the green button right away so I couldn’t chicken out.

“This number is no longer in service.”

I cried.

——MOM——

“Merry Christmas!” I called to Beth when I got home.

“Hi Mom.”

“What’d ya do today?”

“Nothin’. Just watched Christmas movies all day. How far away is Montgomery?”

“3 and a half hours. Why?”

She put my address book on the counter in front of me, opened to Mom and Dad’s address. “Why can’t we see Grandma and Grandpa?”

I was so busted. How could I get out of this?

I got down face to face with her. I couldn’t call them bad people. That would be so wrong. “When I left home, it wasn’t on good terms.”

“What’s that mean.”

“We didn’t get along.”

“Well maybe I would get along with them!”

How did I let this go this long? “Tell you what Sweetums, Let’s get through our celebration tonight and tomorrow we’ll try to call them.”

“Too late.”

“Huh?”

“I tried calling. The number was disconnected.”

I didn’t know whether to be relieved, angry, or sad. “Okay. Maybe we can try to find them.” I didn’t really mean it. Well, maybe I did, but just a little.

“Right now, let’s get ready to go.” I tickle attacked her to lighten the mood.

——BETH——

I was so excited on the way there, I couldn’t hold it in. “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…” We sang most of the way there. I’ve never been to a church before, much less, a play!

When we reached the address, I was confused. It was some sort of business park. “You sure you have the right place. This doesn’t look like a church.”

“I know, but there’s the sign.” She pointed. Sure enough, On the third building in, there was a sign shaped like a bridge that said The Bridge Church.

“Hey look, an arrow spinner.” I’ve always liked how people on corners can twirl and spin cardboard arrows to point the way to sales. This girl spun a sign that said “visitors.”

We ended up parking close to the entrance which was lucky since the parking lot was packed.

I felt kinda funny walking in with my best dress. Most people were dressed in jeans or shorts (this is Florida, after all). Then I spotted another girl just a little older than me. She had a nicer dress than mine and was holding her daddy’s hand. I grabbed Mom’s.

——MOM——

It warmed my heart when Beth grabbed my hand. She hadn’t done that in a while.

There was a big canopy out front with a place for visitors to check in. I knew better than to sign in. Their free gifts were sure to come with intrusive phone calls or visits. We ducked into the flow of people going in.

An older man at the door handed me a program and we found a spot in the second to last row off to the side. The room looked like a warehouse that had been converted to a church. There was a big stage up front and a wide audience area with padded chairs, not pews.

As we were sitting down, I noticed a group of kids to the left of the stage being corralled by a couple of ladies. I thought my eyes must be tricking me because one of the ladies looked just like my Mom.

My best and worst fears were confirmed when a man who looked just like my Dad walked up to her. Surely, I was just imagining it because of what we had talked about. But no. They clasped hands and gave each other a quick kiss just like my parents always did. They were my parents!

My vision collapsed. I don’t remember a thing about the service. I just watched them. I couldn’t deal with it. I had to get out without them noticing me.

The opportunity came during the singing of Silent Night. Everyone lit candles and the lights went down. I knew from my upbringing that this would be the last song, so I grabbed Beth’s hand and headed for the door.

“Why are we leaving early?” Beth asked.

“To beat the traffic. Once people come out, it’ll take forever to get out of the parking lot.”

——BETH——

Something was up with Mom. She wanted to get out of the church like it was on fire. I didn’t mind, though. We had a really yummy dinner waiting for us at home.

On the ride home, I looked at all the lights on the houses. I imagined myself living in one of those houses. I knew we could never afford it. We couldn’t even afford a good car. It was riding all wobbly.

“Oh no.” Mom pulled over into the turn lane of a shopping center.

“What’s wrong?”

“Flat tire.” She looked like she was ready to cry. She put her head on the steering wheel and closed her eyes.

I didn’t know what to say. We just sat like that for what seemed like forever.

After a few minutes, the inside of the car lit up. It wasn’t the lights. There was a car that pulled into the parking lot next to us and its headlights shined our way. A man got out of the car and walked up to the passenger window.

Knock, Knock

——MOM——

I jumped so hard I hit the horn. There was a man at the passenger side window trying to talk but I couldn’t hear him through the glass with the traffic noise. I lowered it a crack.

“You need some help?”

All I could do was nod. I must have been a sight, eyes red, makeup running from tears.

“Pull into the parking lot where it’s safer.”

I did. It wasn’t easy since it was a front tire that blew. I managed to get into a space one over from his car.

I cracked open my window. “Thank you.”

“No problem. There’s no way I could have left a mom and child stranded on Christmas Eve. Just pop your trunk and I’ll get the spare and the jack out.”

I had a feeling that he couldn’t have left a mom and child stranded at any time. I watched in the mirror as he got the spare out.

“Mom! That’s the girl from church! The one with the nice dress.”

Before I could say anything, Beth was out the door and standing at the other car.

I jumped out. “Beth! Leave the girl alone.”

The other girl got out of their car. “Dad, is it okay that we sit on the curb.”

The man had stepped up next to me. “Sure, just be careful with your dress.”

He turned to me. “I’m Curt and that’s Bella.”

“I, I’m Rose and that’s Beth, Elizabeth.”

“Pleased to meet you. I’d shake but I already have dirty hands.”

“I’m sorry to be a bother.”

“It’s no bother. We’re heading to the Hometown Diner and I’m sure I can wash up there.”

“Actually, you can’t. They’re closed for Christmas, that’s why we were able to go to the play. I work there.”

“Oh, you were at The Bridge?” He already had the tire raised.

“Yeah, Beth recognized your daughter from there.”

——BETH——

Bella and I sat at the parking lot curb between the cars. “Your dad is handsome.”

She laughed. “I never really thought of that, but I guess he is in an old guy kinda way.”

“Did you like the play?”

“Yeah, I just wish I coulda been in it. I could have only made it to half the rehearsals cause I’m only with Dad every other weekend.”

“At least you have a dad.”

“At least you have a mom that goes to church.”

“That was the first time we’ve ever been in a church. She doesn’t like ‘em.”

“Oh, neither does my mom.”

“So, are you going home to a big dinner with your dad?”

“Hah, Dad said they cook a lot better at the Hometown Diner than he does.”

“Cookie is really good, but they’re closed for Christmas.”

“No way! Dad! The diner’s closed.”

I suddenly got a great idea! “Mom, we could invite them to our house!”

“No.” Both adults said at the same time. Only they used different tones of voice. Mom sounded like she was scolding me. Bella’s dad sounded, I don’t know, sad.

—–MOM——

I couldn’t believe Beth could invite them. “Sorry Beth, you don’t invite people that you don’t know over.”

“Your mother’s right.” Curt was already tightening the tire.

“Dad, I told you we should have gone to the Wilson’s when they invited us.”

Beth seemed determined to share our dinner. “There’s a picnic table in the courtyard of our apartments, we could eat there.”

“No, really, we couldn’t impose. Denny’s is open and it’s not far.”

“Dad!”

“Bella hates Denny’s.” Beth had already found that out in their short conversation.

“There you go, you can wash up at the bathroom by the pool and join us for a Wilson Christmas feast.” I can’t believe I let that slip. Maybe it was a different Wilson that invited them. Oh well. What’s done is done.

Curt thought for a moment. “Is there anything we can pick up at a convenience store to make the meal stretch?”

“Oh, there’s no need to stretch it. We have tons.”

——BETH——

I put a plastic tablecloth over the old ugly picnic table. Bella helped me stretch it just right. Mom put the casseroles in the oven right away.

“What can I help with?” Curt met us at the table.

“I’ll get the plates and silverware and you can put those out.” I ran back to the apartment.

“Mom, Curt’s really nice, you sure you don’t just want to eat in here?”

“If Curt is a gentleman, he would refuse to come in anyway.” She pointed to a pile on the table. “Now take those out and set the table.”

——MOM——

It took a while, but we finally got everything cooked and set out. It really was a feast. Curt sliced the ham. My green bean and sweet potato casseroles came out just right. It was a warm day, so the food was still warm when we finally sat down to eat.

“Do you mind if we say grace?” Curt asked.

“Go ahead.” I never bothered but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

“Lord, thank you for this meal, for new friends, and for coming to save us. Amen!”

“Short but sweet.” I commented.

“Good food should never be put off by long prayers.”

“Amen to that.” I liked the way he thought.

“So, Rose and Beth Wilson, are you any relation to Gladys and Nathan Wilson.” He didn’t waste any time.

I almost dropped the dish I was passing. “Is that the couple that invited you to dinner?”

“Yes. They just retired here 10 months ago. I moved here about the same time and we met at the new members class at the Bridge.” He paused. I think he wanted me to answer his first question, but I held my tongue.

“They said they had a grand-daughter a little younger than Bella and had heard that she lived around here.”

They knew! My thoughts raced. They’ve been looking for us? Why? To shame me? To convert me back?

“I think that’s why they liked to hang out with me and Bella.” He took a bite and gave a charming smile that tugged. “Delicious!”

The table fell silent except for the eating. Beth and Bella sat at the other end of the table whispering.

——BETH——

Bella leaned in and whispered, “Are the Wilson’s your grandparents?”

“I don’t know, Mom’s address book didn’t list first names. But they’re from Montgomery.”

“No way. I bet it’s them. What did your grandparents look like?”

“I’ve never seen them.”

“There’s no pictures around your apartment?”

“Just of me and Mom.”

“I bet she has some hidden.”

“Maybe.”

“Finish up your food and we can go look.” We grinned at each other like we could read each other’s thoughts.

——MOM——

“Where are you going?” I shouted after the girls as they ran from the table.

“I wanna show Bella something.” Beth yelled back.

I was left alone with Curt. I was going to have to face his question. My food stuck like a rock in my throat. When I managed to swallow, I spoke. “That’s their names, my parents that is. Did they say where they moved from?”

“Montgomery.”

Unwanted tears welled in my eyes. This is not how I envisioned this day going.

“Would you like to see them?” Curt’s voice was low, calming. It did me no good.

“I couldn’t possibly face them after what I did.” The tears leaked despite my best efforts. I wanted to crawl under a rock.

“What could you have possibly done that they wouldn’t forgive?”

I looked at him incredulously. “I disgraced them. I had a baby out of wedlock. I intentionally messed around after prom and got knocked up.”

“Did you know that your mom volunteers at a clinic that helps girls who are becoming single moms? I’ve seen her deal with these young women with love and empathy.”

“But those women aren’t her daughter.”

“You’re right. The love she and you dad have for you is far greater. They know about your situation. They’ve known for a couple years.”

“Then why haven’t they contacted me?”

“They’ve tried. Your number isn’t listed. They told me they thought about hiring a private eye but thought you might resent the intrusion.”

“Did they send you to follow me?”

“No, but I think God might have. We were going to go to a restaurant by the beach when one of my friends suggested the Diner. I’m not big on diner food but for some reason, it sounded good tonight.”

——BETH——

“Check her underwear drawer.” Bella suggested as we looked around the bedroom Mom and I shared.

I opened the drawer and dug. “Here it is!” I pulled the photo out from under a pile of socks. “Is this the Wilsons you know?”

Bellas face lit up. “That’s them!” She gave me a big hug. “We need to tell them!”

Bella took off with the pic and ran to the courtyard. I tried to keep up with her, but she was fast!

“Dad! Rose! It’s them!”

——MOM——

Bella stopped next to her dad and exclaimed between breaths, “The Wilsons are Beth’s grandparents! You have to call them!”

“That’s not up to me, honey.” He looked at me.

“Do I really have a choice?” To call me nervous would be like calling the sun hot. But it was obvious that it was going to happen so might as well get to it.

The final nail in the coffin of my independent life was driven by Beth when she hugged me and said in my ear, “I want to meet my grandparents.”

I held her for a long minute.

Curt busied himself with cleaning up the table and sending Bella to the apartment with dishes. He stopped short. “I have an idea.”

“Okay.” I looked up while Beth went to help Bella.

“I could call your parents and ask if I could come over with a surprise.”

“The surprise being me and Beth.”

“Yep! That way they don’t have time to plan a big embarrassing homecoming for you.”

I had to admit, the idea made sense. “Do it.”

——BETH——

We rode there in Curt and Bella’s car. Mom was way too nervous to drive. I was nervous too, but more excited than nervous. Nervocited?

We went over the bridge we use when we go to the beach and then turned into a nice neighborhood. The house was a pretty light tan color with palm trees out front. He parked in the driveway where they wouldn’t be able to see us get out of the car.

“If you want you can wait by the edge of the garage until I call for you.”

Mom’s voice was shaky. “That might be good.”

I met her at the front passenger door. And helped her get out of the car.

Curt went straight to the front door. Mom and I hurried to hiding spot right at the corner of the garage. Bella stayed beside me. We got there just as the doorbell rang.

“Merry Christmas Curtis, won’t you come in.” That must have been my grandma’s voice.

“Actually, my special surprise is out here.” Louder he said, “Come on!”

Mom hesitated. I grabbed one of her arms and Bella grabbed the other and we stepped out.

I can’t even come close to describing Grandma’s reaction here. Her eyes got big as saucers. She let out a squeal and ran. I didn’t know a grandma could move that fast. She plowed into Mom, almost knocking her over, and gave her a hug only a mom can give.

“What the matter, hon?” Grandpa appeared at the door. His eyes got big too. “Oh, my Lord!”

He ran and joined the now 4-way hug. “Thank you, Jesus!”

We had just about suffocated each other when Grandpa broke free and knelt in front of me. “I’m your Grandpa Nate.” He reached out a hand to me.

I returned his handshake and introduced myself. “I’m Elizabeth Ann Wilson. But you can call me Beth.”

——MOM——

My mom pulled back and looked me in the eye. “I’ve missed you more than you can imagine. I’m so glad you’re here.”

Dad stood up from in front of Beth. “Come on inside, all of you.”

Curt was holding Bella’s hand and standing to the side. “We shouldn’t intrude any further.”

“Nonsense.” Mom waved them in. “You’re our miracle worker. We need to hear the whole story.”

With that, we all ended up in my parents new living room. Well, almost all.

“They have a pool, Mom!” It was visible out the back window. “Can me and Bella go sit on the edge? Please!”

“Go ahead, just be careful. That’s your best dress.” I have to admit, I liked the idea of her having a place like this to visit.

Mom set a platter with sweet tea and glasses of ice on the coffee table. Then she sat next to me. “Honey.” She looked away for a moment.

When she turned back, her eyes were wet again. “I’ve rehearsed this moment in my head a thousand times and now it’s all fuddled up in there.”

Her hand gestures and manner of speaking were the same as I remembered. She took a deep breath. “What I really want to say is I’m so sorry that I made you think that you had to hide from us.”

“What? Mom, I’m the one who should be sorry. And I am sorry I caused you such shame. I imagine all your church friends would have disowned you if they knew I was having a baby before I was married.”

“A few people did, but that was their own twisted up thinking that caused that – not anything you did.”

Dad leaned over and took my hands. “My beautiful Rose, I was in the room when you came into this world.” He looked me straight in the eyes. “The moment I saw your eyes, I understood the love of God. In that moment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was nothing I wouldn’t do to protect you and there was nothing that you could do that could quench the fire of love that I have for you. That’s still true today both of my love for you and God’s love for you.”

I couldn’t look in his wet eyes anymore. I wept. In that weeping, I found healing. I found restoration. I let go of a thousand hurts I had been treasuring. I found my family again. I began to find my faith again.”

——BETH——

Bella got up and looked through the glass door. “You’re lucky.”

I stood next to her and saw Mom crying and Grandma and Grandpa comforting her. “Why do you say that?”

“Even though you only have a mom, she really loves you.”

“Yeah she does.”

This is the point where I’m supposed to tell you that we lived happily ever after. But that only happens in fairy tales. Still, life is better. Instead of hanging out at home when Mom works, I get to hang out at Grandma Glad and Grandpa Nate’s house. Bella hangs out with me sometimes, and her dad, well, he tends to hang out when my Mom’s around. They claim to just be friends, but we’ll see.

Well, I need to wrap this story up. I can’t believe I wrote so much! (Mom helped some) I told my teacher about it and she’s going to give me extra credit for it! Thanks for reading!

Oh, and if there’s someone you need to reunite with, don’t wait. They might be praying that you’ll call or visit.

Bye!

I hope you enjoyed this little Christmas story. It is an extreme departure from my normal writing style. In case you are wondering, Rose and Beth are fictional though I have known people in similar situations.

It is very easy to get caught up in the dos and don’ts of the Christian life. We tend to forget the depths of God’s love and forgiveness that is available to any who would ask. Please believe me that there is no wrong doing that cannot be forgiven.

The commands given in Scripture are there to guide us in the best way to live. We strive to follow them because we love God and we believe that he knows the best way for us. But know this, we all mess up. For the times that we do, God has made a way to restore us through the sacrifice of Jesus.

If you are feeling like Rose in this story, you are not alone. Find a good local church or counseling organization. If you don’t know where to start, email me and I will help you find help.

This story is available here free of charge. Feel free to share it as much as you like by sharing the link to this page. If you would like to print it or distribute it in any alternate form, please contact me.

Copyright 2020 – Richard D Solano