Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Christmas Card

      My writing files hold many stories told by one or another of my fictional characters. This morning I ran across Barbara Jean’s story. I no longer remember why I created her but on this first Monday of Advent, her story seems appropriate. I hope Barbara Jean blesses you.


 The Christmas Card

          There’s still time…..
No, it’s too late!
          Well, if I don’t write a note in each ….
Absolutely not, postage is much too expensive!

      I have the same argument with myself every year, but this is the year I stop. Absolutely! I will NOT send Christmas cards. It is a useless waste of my time and our money!
I’ll… well, I’ll just send an extra donation to the Salvation Army where money really does good.
      “Hi, Honey, mail came. Look who we heard from!” My husband stomped snow off his feet. “I thought Sam had died but he actually survived a second heart surgery and might get remarried this spring.”
      I did not need to know that. My resolve cracked.
      “Funny.” Carl poured a cup of coffee. “I prayed for Sam all last year, not knowing whether he made it or not but something urged me on. Isn’t it great to know?”
      “Well, yes,” I said, “but don’t you think….” I’d lost his attention. He was back in Viet Nam with his buddies… remembering.
      Sam saved my husband’s life when the grenade landed too close. Later, Carl led Sam to Christ. They stayed in touch all these years… through Christmas cards.

      After supper, our son stopped by to help with the Christmas tree lights. When the old, artificial tree sprang to life once again, Carl insisted Bud stay for devotions.
      “Do you guys still do the Advent candle thing? Martha tries to… when I get home early enough.”
      “Well, you’re already late,” Carl struck a match. “Few more minutes won’t bother.”
      In the glow of candlelight, Carl’s eyes glistened. My husband, the quiet guy, the leader, the “John Wayne” to our kids, seemed… undone.
      “You know, Son, life is hard sometimes. How are things at home? Are you going to church?”
      “Well, uh, sure, Dad.” Bud’s surprise matched my own.
      “No, I mean, do you go with Martha and the kids? Do you help her get ready? She’s a fine wife, Son. Let’s pray.”
      The crackle of the logs in the fireplace emphasized my husband’s words as he spoke to the Lord of his life. Carl gave thanks for his old friend, Sam, then he prayed for our children, and he prayed for me.
      After Carl’s almost curt ‘amen,’ he got up and stoked the fire. Bud had his head in his hands and didn’t move. I quietly moved to the kitchen.
      It was late when Carl came to bed. “How did you know they were having trouble?” I asked.
      “I didn’t.” My husband-of-few-words sat on the side of the bed a long time. “I guess just thinking about Sam. After he got saved, he didn’t like the 'church thing.' It hurt his wife real deep. She died ‘bout five years ago. I never knew if they worked it out.” He pulled the blanket up over my shoulders. “I think Bud and Martha will be fine.”

     I drifted to sleep, rearranging tomorrow’s to-do list. Our old friends will hear from us this year.
 According to Paul the Apostle:
And let us not lose heart
in doing good…..
See with what large letter
 I am writing to you
with my own hand.
From Galatians 6: 9 & 11

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