Home for Christmas
I re-posted this story I wrote a few years ago (with a few revisions) because I felt the Father wanted me to share again. I hope you enjoy, Merry Christmas! - Jay
She peered from her dingy apartment window, wiping the frost away with the sleeve of her sweater so she could see the city streets outside her old brownstone. The light snow falling creating a clean carpet of white over the gray busy sidewalks. Sally Hamilton awaited a delivery from the local grocery store containing the simple items for her dinner tonight and her eagerness grew as each shadow passed by her window.
Over 90 and in failing health, Sally needed this Christmas to lift her spirits; she needed to come out of the shadow of grief. Just a few years earlier, Samuel her husband of many years, passed away on the eve of his favorite day—Christmas. Although this year’s Christmas Eve would be a bittersweet celebration, Sally knew it was important to embrace the holiday once more.
Sally loved her “Sammy”, so it was hard imagining celebrating tonight alone. He was so alive around Christmas and always seemed his happiest around the holidays. Every Christmas Eve he would sing, laugh—sometimes scooping her up from her chair for a dance. He would put on a Santa hat and say, “Come on sweetie, I saved a dance for my best gal!” Afterwards they would cuddle-up on the couch, sip tea, and read the story of the Savior’s birth. At midnight they would run to their small tree, and like giggling children, rip open all the gifts.
The crunch of snow and the sight of a tall figure coming down the sidewalk carrying bundles snapped her back to her vigil. Sally watched the trudging shape come up the stairs and ring the bell to her apartment. Drawing her sweater around her neck to guard against the cold, she opened the door and let the familiar face inside. It was Manny, a young man in his twenties, who had been delivering her groceries for a few months now.
“Mrs. Hamilton, how good to see you, Merry Christmas!” Manny said with a booming voice.
“Merry Christmas Manny, come in, come in.” Sally said, almost pushing him through the door with excitement and rushing to close the door behind him.
Chuckling now after being pushed around by his diminutive friend, Manny asked “Shall I carry these to the kitchen or call for security?”
“Oh, you big joker, please do, please do, Sorry… I’m so wound up; come on, this food won’t cook itself!” Sally replied.
Manny carried the bags into the narrow kitchen where Sally unpacked her goodies. She placed the small ham, a few potatoes, a can of green beans and a box of Earl Grey tea, on her small kitchen table and took a step back to look.
With a hint of tears in her eyes, Sally mused, “My Sammy sure loved his spot of tea.”
Her sorrow threatened to swallow the moment, the grief filling her mind with questions. How could she celebrate after all these years of placing Christmas in the shadows? Can she celebrate without her Sammy? She decided that she must, this Christmas seemed fresh and ready to hold close again. Besides, her heart sensed the Messiah's presence more than ever and she could always celebrate Him.
Dabbing at her eyes with her apron Sally soon looked up and asked, “Manny, would you like to have dinner with me?”
“Why, I would love to Mrs. H, thank you!” Manny replied with a huge smile.
The two of them set about fixing the meal, laughing, singing, and even enjoying a silly dance to Jingle Bell Rock playing on the radio. Soon the kitchen filled with wonderful aromas and the sounds of memories. During dinner Sally told story after story of her husband Sammy and the love he had for Jesus.
Sally sighed and Manny could see the pain of loneliness in her eyes. They were sipping their tea when Sally asked, “I’m so tired Manny, will you help me to the couch?” Manny helped the weary Mrs. Hamilton to the couch, placing a quilted pillow underneath her head. Covering Sally with a blanket, Manny then pulled a small box from his jacket and said, “It’s almost midnight Mrs. H, this is for you, Merry Christmas.”
The package wrapped with golden paper and with a bow of the purest white surprised Sally; she had never seen a more beautiful package. Taking the gift from Manny, and with childlike excitement, opened the box. Inside was a golden key with a small note that looked like an invitation. On the
inside of the note it read.
To: Sally Hamilton, a key to your new home.
“Manny… what does this mean?” Sally asked.
“Mrs. H, my boss didn’t want you to spend Christmas Eve alone, so he sent me to deliver something special to you.” Manny said.
“I don’t understand, your employer Mr. Reynolds, is giving me a new house? Sally asked.
Smiling now, Manny said, “No Mrs. H, I work for someone higher than Mr. Reynolds. Anyway, I’m just a messenger and I’ll be announcing your arrival there soon.”
“Manny, I still don’t…” Sally wondered out loud.
“Mrs. H, it’s time for another celebration, you have been faithful, and the Lord wants you home with Him.” Manny said.
Her eyes growing heavy, Sally whispered, “You mean, I’m going to, oh, I can’t keep my eyes open, what is happening Manny?” Sally asked.
Manny whispered, “It’s time for a homecoming Mrs. H, Sammy is saving a dance for you”
They were quiet for a few minutes when Sally softly asked, “Am I going to see my Sammy when I open my eyes Manny?”
She was already home when he answered, “Yes Sally, and so much more.”
Jay Cookingham © 2015