Well, as usual, December has flown by in a flurry of activity and it is the Friday before Christmas. Today I present the end of this year’s story. The story was a bit different than my normal. I truly hope you enjoyed it but, more than that, I hope it encouraged you to be content, wherever God has you. Merry Christmas!
Christmas Eve dawned sunny and mild. Helen looked out her back window and was delighted to see two deer standing serenely by the pond in the garden. She turned from the window giving herself a little pep talk as she started to get dressed. She just had to get through the next two days.
Her mind wandered to what she would be missing at home tonight. The family would gather around the big fireplace, enjoying hot chocolate and her mama’s special sugar cookies. Her father would read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and then they would play the special game Mama always created just for Christmas Eve. She thought of the evergreen tree that would be sitting in the corner, waiting for the strings of popcorn and cranberries and paper ornaments they would make. And of the warmth and joy that would infuse each moment.
Oh, it was so hard to be here instead of there. She truly wanted to be content wherever she was and God was growing her in this area but it seemed extra challenging on this day.
Not that it was so bad here. The servants had decorated the house with mounds and mounds of evergreens and holly. In Aunt Ida’s favorite room, which was the comfortable sitting room where Helen had first met her, was the tallest tree she had ever seen. Bedecked with gold and silver baubles and a great star at the top, it was beautiful to behold. Underneath the tree were many gifts wrapped in gold and silver paper.
Yes, thought Helen, this would just be a different type of Christmas.
She sat down on the chair by the fire and pulled her Bible from the sidetable. She had begun to get up a half hour earlier than usual and to spend this time in the Word. She was finding that this dedicated time of prayer and Bible study was changing her. She knew that she needed to be given biblical perspective this morning especially and wasn’t about to skip it.
After thirty minutes had passed, Helen, while still a bit melancholy, was smiling and ready to go downstairs.
“Helen! Good morning! Happy Christmas Eve!” Aunt Ida said these things a bit more effusively than usual. Helen knew she loved Christmas and assumed her extra enthusiasm was a result of this love.
After a delectable and special Christmas Eve breakfast, Helen and Aunt Ida went into the sitting room. Helen had noticed an ever-so-slight change in Aunt Ida over the past week. They had even talked about the real meaning of Christmas a few days ago.
On this Christmas Eve morning, Aunt Ida began her normal, incessant social gossip but about fifteen minutes in abruptly stopped. After a few moments, she looked at Helen.
“Oh, my dear, it doesn’t matter, does it? It just doesn’t even matter,” she sighed and then, smiling, her enthusiasm returned, “Well, shall we play a game?”
Aunt Ida’s favorite game was Twenty Questions. As they played, Helen noticed that her aunt seemed a bit on edge. She seemed to be waiting for something. About four or five turns into the game, they heard a carriage drive up.
“Well, now who could that be?” Aunt Ida said with a merry twinkle in her eye.
Helen ran to the window and was stunned and thrilled to see her family pouring out of the large carriage.
“What? How?…” she stuttered.
“Oh, my dear, you seemed so sad these recent weeks. You have been such a blessing to me and to all of us here, that I just wanted to do something special for you for Christmas. And this was my idea! Do you like it?” She beamed.
“Like it? Oh, I love it!” Helen rushed over to give her a hug.
“Oh, good! I am so glad. Now go greet them!”
Helen didn’t have to be told twice. She rushed out of the room to her family who was just entering the house.
Christmas morning found the family boisterously chatting together in the sitting room. Grandfather and Grandmother had joined them after breakfast and there was much catching up to do. Aunt Ida, who was used to a quiet Christmas each year, was enjoying the noise and chaos immensely.
After a bit, Aunt Ida said it was time to open presents. She had thoughtfully chosen a special gift for each person there.
Helen realized that she may have judged her aunt too harshly. There seemed to be more to her than she had at first thought. But perhaps Aunt Ida was changing a bit, too.
This was confirmed when Jenkins announced Christmas Dinner. As Helen’s father escorted Aunt Ida to dinner, Helen overheard her say this to him, “Oh, John, you have raised a wonderful daughter. Helen has been a tremendous blessing to me. She’s been so patient with this old woman. And she’s showing me that maybe there is more to Christianity than just going to church on Sundays. I always thought you were a little overboard on the religious stuff, you know,” she laughed and patted his arm, “but now I see I may have been mistaken.”
In that one moment, God showed Helen one of the reasons He had brought her to the mansion in the city. She was thankful for this time with her family and the overwhelming kindness of her Aunt Ida in bringing them here. But hearing her aunt say what she did was the best moment of her Christmas and gave her strength to continue on in her new life after the holidays.
And when it was time to say goodbye to her family after a wonderful time together, she was okay. She knew that she was where she belonged for right now and that God had brought her here for a reason. She would serve Him here with her whole and contented heart.
None of us are where we are by accident. The Lord has guided our steps and wherever we are right now is where we are supposed to be and a place where we can plant seeds of the Gospel and encourage fellow believers. May we serve God wholeheartedly, with contentment, and all for His glory.
You will find the rest of this story and all of the Growing4Life Christmas stories at this link.