To my own
Her First Christmas Card
Between. That’s where he was. Dave was between sleep and consciousness. Between clarity and the fog brought about by unbidden change. Between the deep mystery of Christmas Eve and the lambent hope he always found on Christmas Day.
He was warm and relaxed under Mary’s favorite comforter. Although teetering on the rim of the slope leading back down into the pool of sleep, he began to remember. Years of Christmas memories. Welcome, warm ones. She was in them all from the beginning. He remembered the card he had bought her before their first Christmas together. Undelivered that first Christmas, he had left it in his sock drawer under his mother’s Bible. It had remained undelivered, regretfully, because of circumstances better left buried. Complicated days, those had been. Yet, they had worked their way through them with love, and with indispensable Divine help. He gave her the card the next year, when it could be wholeheartedly given.
Even now the demands of the season had come between them. Kept them apart yet again. Highlighted their differences. Hampered communication. Brought frustrations, then prevented resolution of those frustrations. When he tried to picture them together in unity, in oneness, the image of “One Being” kept sliding apart into two, like that of binoculars which refused to stay in focus. How he longed to have everything right and perfect between them.
So it was right, tonight, that he remember that card, for reading it together had become one of the centerpieces of their unity during many Christmases ……
“Because You Mean So Much”,
it said, above pine branches and a sprig of holly complete with red berries. He smiled in the recalling.
Gilded around the edges. Swirling red flower stems and buds as a background for the message. He had memorized the front:
“I believe that God brings certain people into our lives for a reason.
Some days it’s to help us see something new and wonderful.
Sometimes it’s to encourage us and strengthen our faith.
And sometimes it’s to remind us that we are never truly alone….”
He nodded in affirmation. Mentally, he opened the card. The same evergreen pine and holly
above a verse:
“How natural it is that I should feel as I do about
you, for you have a very special place in my heart”, Philippians 1:7.”
The two tears which began forming in his ever-green eyes testified to the truth of that scriptural passage. How appropriate that the verse was centered on the left-hand page, for it had been the heart of his message to her. He had to pry his attention from it to the continuance of the main message found on the last page:
“Whatever purpose God had in bringing us together,
I’m just grateful that He did.
You’ve been a real source of understanding in my life,
and it means more to me than I can ever say
to have the gift of your friendship and caring.”
He grinned unreservedly.
He had held his heart too close – or maybe not close enough. Missed some chances back then. It took months to recover his balance, but thanks to prayer, God had sent blessings, grace, and miracles.
He was wide awake now. All was calm and all was bright. Too calm and too bright? Moonlight traced a bright rectangle on the carpet as he became aware that her warmth and her steady breathing were absent. She wasn’t next to him in their big bed. Throwing back the comforter, he moved his legs over the edge, put his bare feet on the floor, and stood up intent on finding and joining her. Almost through the bedroom door, he turned back. There it was, right where he kept it under the Bible, behind the socks. He grasped the red envelope which contained his first Christmas greeting to his Beloved.
As he passed the arched doorway to the kitchen, the new stove caught his eye with its bright, clean, modern lines. The old one had been serviceable, but was badly worn. It had had none of the new digital gadgets. It was ordinary. “Kind of like me?” He mused. He missed the old thing.. He was sentimental that way. He remembered all the times they had danced near that stove, especially while meals were being prepared upon it. It had been a place of comfort in the chill of winter. Amused, he remembered the big pots of chili being prepared for company – with large pans of cornbread in the oven. Ahhh, the smells! Ahhh, the dancing in the close embrace of his Beloved…..
Down the hall he turned the corner and there she was, silhouetted in front of the glass doors which opened onto the deck. Looking out upon the snow-covered cornfields, she was radiant even in her white flannel pajamas – the ones with the little candy canes among the faces of angelic-looking sleeping children. Moonlit brightly! The filmy, sheer blue gown she wore over her ‘jams’ added to her mystery. Heartwrenchingly lovely! His Morning Star! Gosh, she was something truly special!
“I knew you would come, I felt it,” she said quietly. Had she been crying? “Our moon is perfectly full tonight of all nights!”
“Mary.” He kept his voice soft and low. “Just for us, do you think? Wow, it
is big! I think that’s the brightest, most beautiful one I’ve ever seen, and so unusually far to the northeast!” Perhaps he was annoyingly analytical at times. He put his arms around her from behind.
“Yes, I’m sure this one is just for us”, she whispered………… “Dave? I was just thinking of my lovely, perfect, Christmas card that you like to read to me every year on Christmas Eve. Would you read it to me later, in bed? I really need that tonight.”
“My love, I have it right here.”
“Wow,” she exclaimed in wonder and delight as he gently turned her to face him. Then he kissed her. It lasted. They paused, and, inspired, he began whispering the words to ‘Silent Night’. She joined him then, and they were softly singing together, for only with him could she truly sing her heart’s song…..And he, his. Only with her.
They sang, began swaying, then began dancing. In close embrace. Rejoicing together by the light of the Christmas full moon.
Angels danced unseen, and sang as well. They could feel them. “Silent
night, holy, holy, holy, night. All is calm, all is bright.”
Right on cue, the grandfather clock began “chiming twelve” as if to say, “Re-joice, re-joice, for-Christ-the-Lord-is-born-this-day!”
He counted the syllables aloud just to make sure, for he was compulsive that way. She giggled happily. Ring-ringing! Exactly twelve chimes – twelve wondrous sounds with meaning reverberating through eternity.
They looked into each others’ eyes and said in unexpected unison, as was their habit and their gift, “Happy Birthday Jesus” ……………. Eyes wide – always amazed when this happened.
Then : “I Love You, always remember that!” In unexpected unison, they had done it again!
Green and brown sparkles swirled as their eyes twinkled……………..
Their images resolved into One.
Under the brilliant full moon,
All Heaven and Earth
celebrated, rejoicing with them.
The angels kept dancing,
And so did they.
Peace, Love, and Hope
Beyond your understanding,
Be yours tonight.
Merry Christmas, 12-24-2012
© Copyright by Lenn Snider 12-24-2012