I hope you enjoy this conclusion to this Christmas story. Keep checking this blog because I'm not sure when I'll post something next. ;)
Linda introduced herself and found out the woman’s name was Alice. Her husband was somewhere in France. The three children spoke not a word but stared wide eyed. After Linda had helped Alice to the bed, she asked about wood for the fireplace.
“We don’t have much left,” Alice whispered. “I haven’t been able to go get more, and Teddy isn’t old enough to send.” She moved restlessly. “What we have is through that door.” She motioned toward a door near the stove.
In a very few minutes more, Linda was building a fire, and Dave came in. He pulled his coat off and rolled up his sleeves. Noticing a curtain hanging on a wire stretched across the room, he pulled it shut to try to warm up the makeshift bedroom. Motioning to his wife, he stepped to one side.
“Honey, I brought the basket of food in. Can you heat up some water and give the children some food?” The youngest child had begun to cry when she could no longer see her mother.
Linda nodded with a smile. Her experience of being the oldest in a large family stood her well now. Before long she had found out that Teddy was four years old, and he took care of his brother and sister. Bobby was three and Lori was only one. Lori cried for her mother until Linda opened the basket of food and put a cookie in her hand. While the kettle heated, Linda settled the three children around the table and began to make them some supper. Teddy informed her that Mama hadn’t gotten them any and added with childlike frankness,
“Mama didn’t eat today either ‘cause she wasn’t feeling good. But did you know tomorrow is Christmas?”
“I did know that, Teddy.” Linda smiled.
Bobby had to tell his bit of news. “Daddy is gone away so we not have a Trismas tree.”
“That’s okay,” Linda assured him. “You can have Christmas without a tree.
Lori began to cry. Her cookie was gone. She was still hungry. Linda set a plate of food before each child and then stepped to the curtain to tell Dave the kettle was hot.
Dave turned at sound of her voice. He spoke softly. “Make her,” he nodded toward the bed, “a cup of tea, and then can you handle things here a few minutes? We need more wood than we have. And don’t worry,” he added with a smile at her concerned look. “The baby isn’t coming yet.”
His wife nodded.
With a cup of tea in her hand, Linda glanced at the children who were busy eating and then slipped through the curtain over to the bed. Alice opened her eyes.
“The little ones?” The question was low.
A smile flashed across Linda’s face. “Are just fine. They are eating supper now and quite content. Don’t worry about them. I’m used to children. There was a whole parcel when I was growing up.” Gently she brushed the hair away from Alice’s pale face and raised her head holding the steaming cup of tea to her lips. “When was the last time you ate?”
The answer came slowly. “Last night.”
All was still then. The only sounds were the fire crackling in the fireplace, the noise of spoons at the table and now and then a thud of wood being set down. After a few minutes in which Alice seemed to doze off, Linda slipped back to the other side of the curtain. Dave was just coming inside. He carried a small evergreen in one hand and a bag from the car in the other. Linda’s smile when she saw him was very bright, and the children stared in astonishment.
“She seems to be sleeping,” Linda whispered in answer to Dave’s nod of the head. “And Dave, she hasn’t eaten since last night.”
Dave frowned. “I’m afraid this is going to be a difficult birth, Honey.” He set the tree in an empty bucket and handed his wife the bag. Then with a smile for the children, he stepped back to their mother.
The children greatly enjoyed the decorating of that tree. From the bag, Linda brought forth some gilded pine cones, gay buttons and bright red yarn. The yarn was intended for a sweater Linda was knitting, but she decided the tree needed it more than the sweater. Dave opened the curtain a little that Alice might watch for a few minutes.
Teddy paused suddenly and asked, “Where’s my stocking?”
“And mine,” Bobby whispered.
Lori just stuck her fingers in her mouth.
Their mother heard and in a voice filled with emotion, whispered to Dave where they were. He brought them out, and Linda helped the little ones hang them up.
It was growing late. The sun had long since gone, and the stars shone brightly in at the windows. Dave made another trip out to the car to bring in a few more of their things, for they wouldn’t be leaving that night. Linda sat in the rocking chair with Lori cuddled in a blanket in her arms while the two little boys sat at her feet. In a soft voice she told them the very first Christmas story of all. After that she began to sing. One Christmas carol after another filled the little house with its sweet sound of peace, joy and good will.
As the boys began to nod, Dave, who had been standing by the partially opened curtain where he could keep an eye on his patient and his wife, came and tucked them into a makeshift bed on the floor beside the stove. Lori whimpered when Linda made a move as if to put her in bed as well, so with a smile, she settled back and continued rocking, her thoughts drifting back to the days of her childhood.
“Linda!” Dave’s low but intense voice roused her some time later. Instantly she was wide awake. Quickly she placed Lori between her brothers, tucked the blanket around them and then hurried to the bedside.
It was a long, difficult time. Linda could tell by the firm set of her husband’s jaw that things were serious. All she could do was follow orders quickly and to pray. Never once did she stop praying. Dave too was praying as he worked. This was by far the hardest delivery he had done outside of a hospital.
At long last, just as the distant city bells were ringing out the Christmas morning, the baby arrived. A girl. Dave didn’t hear the bells, but Linda did.
When a pale Alice reached to take the flannel bundle from Linda, she asked softly, “Did I hear the Christmas bells ringing?”
Linda nodded. “Your little girl has come on Christmas morning.”
Alice gave a tired smile as she snuggled the tiny bundle in her arms and gazed into the sweet little face. “Christmas bells. You are Mama’s little Christmas Belle.”
Some time later, when Alice had fallen asleep with her new little daughter nestled in the crook of her arm, Dave and Linda slipped out to the porch. The stars were still bright in the heavens and the moon cast a silvery light over the snow. Dave looked down at his wife and smiled. He received an answering smile as he folded her in his arms; their lips met in a long kiss.
“Dave, aren’t you glad now that we had so many delays?” Linda whispered.
A puzzled look crossed Dave’s tired face. “What do you mean?”
“If we hadn’t been delayed so long, that patch of ice might have melted, and we wouldn’t have stopped . . .. What would have happened?”
Dave cringed, “I don’t even want to think of that, not on Christmas Eve.”
Linda gave a soft little laugh. “Honey, it’s Christmas Day. The baby came right as the bells were rung. Merry Christmas, Dave! Merry Christmas. We may not have made it to my folks’ home, but we helped make this home a happy Christmas because of God’s Christmas delays.
Have you ever had delays upon delays that turned out for the best?
If you had a baby born on Christmas Mornings, what would you name her?
Do you like me posting when it isn't Friday?