It’s day two of the Christmas Books in July event! And today, I’m sharing a short story that I published in a magazine a few years ago, probably close to ten, I think. Anyway, this was the first Christmas story I’ve written.
The pictures on the mantel mocked Misty as she sat drinking a cup of hot cocoa. They were once such a happy family, and as she remembered those cherished moments, Misty wished for a stronger drink.
The holidays were always torture for Misty. She was supposed to enjoy this time of year, but she couldn’t. All of her family was gone. Her son was a CEO, so he moved far away from home. Kevin never called her or involved her in his life. It had been five years since she spoke to or saw him. Her daughter, Keri, married and moved away ten years ago. Keri kept in touch with her but could never find time to visit. Misty didn’t know if she would get to see her kids or grandkids this Christmas.
The pain would be easier to deal with if Cameron hadn’t left. Misty had no one anymore. She took a drink, debating on adding a little alcohol to the cocoa. She knew, though, that it wasn’t the answer. The tears began to fall again.
Misty didn’t think that she could bear another holiday alone. Thanksgiving had been awful. Now, Christmas was worse. All she wanted was to see her family, and here she was, sitting at home alone on Christmas Eve.
Misty found it pointless to decorate. There was no tree, lights, or a jolly fat man staring back at her. She had no desire to spend her time looking at the decorations, wishing for her family to be together again. The decorations would only remind her of the happy times which in turn would sadden her. Yet, those thoughts came rushing in.
Misty remembered how Cameron and Kevin would spend most of Christmas Eve morning finding the perfect tree. Keri and Misty would busy themselves in the kitchen, baking cookies for the men and Santa. They would also begin to prepare the Christmas Eve dinner. Their home smelt of cookies and cedar, a smell that she missed.
At night, the family would sit by the fire, and Cameron would read the Christmas story and The Night Before Christmas. The kids had a cookie in one hand and a hot cup of peppermint cocoa sitting beside them. After the Christmas stories, the kids would set out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa Claus. Then, they would all hang their stockings over the fireplace. The family had kept that tradition until the kids moved out. Misty remembered this all too well, and she wanted her grandkids to experience the same Christmas traditions.
But most of all, he wished Cameron was still her husband. He had divorced her one and a half years ago, and the wound was still deep. They say time heals all wounds, but Misty couldn’t disagree more. It still hurt that he just up and left her one morning. Cameron had only told her that he was leaving. No explanation why, he just left. He now had a new family, and all Misty could think was that his new family was experiencing the same traditions that hers did at one time.
It wasn’t fair. Why was she being punished? Hadn’t she lived her life as close to perfect as possible? Why was God doing this? But she knew it wasn’t God’s fault.
Misty couldn’t see the reason, and she didn’t look for it. All she knew was that her family had fallen apart, and Misty wanted it back. That, however, was impossible. Her family would never be the same again. That was something she had to learn to deal with.
Only God had the capability to help her through this, so Misty began to pray.
“Lord, I need Your help through this. Christmas was always a joyous time, and now I’m having a difficult time coping. I know Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus and all the other things we associate with it. I know it’s about us celebrating the birth of Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. I thank You for that, too, but Lord, please help me deal with the pain of not having my family with me. I need You, Lord. I need them.”
Her prayer trailed off with that final plea on her lips.
Misty raised her head high, and she felt a peace envelope her. She set her cup on the coffee table and relaxed. For once, Misty’s mind was at rest.
Ten minutes later, her doorbell rang. Misty made her way to the door, thinking it was only Christmas carolers at the door. No one else would be coming to her house that night, not even Santa. To her surprise, there stood Keri, Keri’s husband Mike, and their two kids surrounded by luggage. Kevin was walking up the sidewalk carrying his suitcase.
Tears came into Misty’s eyes as she said a silent thank you to God. Her grandkids hugged her. A smile spread across her whole face, and she was gleaming.
“Hi, Mom,” Keri said hugging her.
“Hey,” was all she could mutter as she gave her daughter a hug.
She stepped aside and let her family enter. Kevin stopped her, and she took him in her arms, memories of him as a child and wanting his mommy, wrapping his arms around her legs popped into her memory.
She let go and followed him inside. Keri and her family had taken a seat by then. Misty asked, “To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“We wanted to see you, Mom,” Keri said, “We missed you and thought that this was the best time to come down.”
“You couldn’t have visited at a better time,” Misty said.
Don’t forget to stop by and check out the amazing books we have on sale this week during our Christmas Books in July event. Also, we’re partying on Facebook this week and celebrating all things Christmas. Don’t forget to join us there as well.