Welcome to this year’s Christmas story Sure to warm your heart for the spirit of Christmas present
Snowlight glittered through ice-frozen forest branches as Kim and Melvin trekked through knee-high drifts outside Santa’s workshop. The two elves felt chilled to the bone in the icy landscape surrounding them. But they knew the importance of the mail they had to deliver. And the only saint available to help right now, on the darkest night of the year, would be Nicholas. “ We have to get this letter to Santa,” Kim whispered gently in the frigid air. Her breath almost frosted away before it ever reached Melvin’s ears. The senior elf nodded in agreement. He was trying to keep secure whatever warmth remained in his lungs. Available to relay the importance of the message’s swift arrival at the North Pole. “ What do you think it’s about?” Kim continued, trying to stay calm. Her tendency to let curiosity get the better of her, sometimes led the kind-hearted elf into all sorts of investigations about why things happened. A good trait for elves assigned to making out the yearly good or bad children’s list. But not for simple mail delivery assignments.
Melvin knew Santa had plans for her advancement already in progress. But as with all good Christmas gifts, that surprise would have to wait. Until Santa told her himself. “ Look, all we have to do is get it to him,” Melvin chided patiently. “After that, we’re back to sorting toys.” “ I know,” Kim’s ruddy cheeks smiled back. “But whoever it’s from, sure took a long time coming.” Melvin glanced down at the postmarked envelope, carefully noting the time stamp. “ Yes,” he agreed. “But that doesn’t matter. You know Santa reads all of these. And if the person’s heart is in the wish, Christmas spirit can be there instantly.” The two elves fell silent as they reached the large oaken workshop door. The sound of hurried toy-making activity could be heard from the other side. Melvin paused only a moment before reaching for the silver sleigh bell knocker. “ I hope we’re not too late,” Kim said, silently grasping Melvin’s hand for support. The senior elf grinned back as he replied, “It’s never too late for Christmas.”
As the late night train approached, Lorraine Mitchell clutched a tattered coat tighter in her frozen fingers. Many days had passed since the elderly woman had eaten a home-cooked meal. And three weeks since she’d known the comfort of a warm, safe haven against the cold December wind. Gingerly, she drew a thin wisp of a scarf from her battered purse and wrapped it around her neck. The thin fabric afforded little protection from the night sleet beating against the city streets. “ Nowhere to go,” her raspy voice crackled in the din of the approaching train. “No one to help. What am I going to do, Lord? It’s Christmas Eve and I don’t have a place to stay.” She paused as the station’s last nightly arrival slowed to a stop before her. A few passengers stepped from the train to hurry for the exits. No one paid the slightest attention to the half-frozen figure crouching beside a vendor’s closed news stand. “ Please, God,” Lorraine prayed, her mouth barely moving to form the words, “as Mary and Joseph found shelter that first Christmas Eve, let me spend the holiest night of the year in a safe place.”
Suddenly, two men at the far end of the train began moving toward her. “ Hey, you,” one of them called. “You can’t be around here this late at night.” The other man raised a fist in agree- ment. Both seemed bent on running her off from the relative safety of the train platform. “ This is a restricted area,” the second man began to shout. “You can’t loiter here!” Afraid of what they might do, but frightened more of facing the night alone in the gathering snowstorm, she began to beg them for mercy. “ Please, I have nowhere else to go. I’ll die out here in the cold!” “ Then, do it and get off the street,” the first man retorted, pointing a finger at her in disgust. “You should have thought of that before spending your last dime on such a fancy wardrobe.” His companion began laughing and slapped his friend hard on the back. “ Yeah, isn’t that the truth?” Lorraine shivered and started to shy away from their approach. But, she hadn’t seen a small trash bag at her feet. And as her shoe caught on a solid object inside the bag, she fell hard to the pavement.
“ Now, she can’t even walk,” the second man noted. “Let’s just leave her. The cops will probably pick her up soon enough.” Together as one they moved off, to Lorraine’s disbelief and gratitude for her deliverance from the strangers. And it was only then that she reached to pull her shoe’s heelfrom the torn bag. But before she could even blink, a swirl of warming red crystal light and snowflakes appeared in front of her. She gasped as St. Nicholas stepped forward to offer his hand in assistance. “ Rise, Lorraine,” Santa smiled. “The Lord has heard your prayer.” “ I don’t understand,” the frail woman replied. “Who are you?” With that, the good saint let a bellowing laugh escape. The hearty “Ho-Ho-Ho” caught her by surprise. Bringing a tear to her eye. “ I’m Santa Claus,” Nicholas drew her close for a hug. “This night, the Lord of Hosts told me that you stand in need. And here I find you on the ground.” “ I didn’t want to fall,” Lorraine tried to explain. “There were two men. I was scared.” Nicholas pondered a moment. Then his face brightened merrily.
“ I know all about your situation this year,” he replied. “Losing your home to foreclosure, being left penniless and not wanting to be a burden to others. Is that right?” A new fear began to creep around Lorraine’s heart. How could this figure know everything that had driven her into the street? Yet, a warming sense of hope began to fill her heart. She knew the man standing in front of her was indeed St. Nicholas. And she began to cry. “ Yes,” she spoke softly. “And I’m so tired of being alone.” “ No tears on Christmas Eve!” Santa replied, wiping her cheek with a red-gloved hand. “Jesus is always with you. And He asked me to give you a present.” The white trimmed fur of Santa’s red suit rustled as he reached inside and drew forth a woven stocking. It was decorated with all sorts of Christmas stars, and stuffed with cookies, nuts, fruits and candy. Plus, at the top appeared a small signed white envelope. “ All this for me?” Lorraine asked hoarsely. Overcome with fear and wonder at the marvelous stocking.
“ Most, but not all,” Santa said, smiling as he vanished once again in a swirl of bright red sparkling snowflakes. Lorraine blinked twice to shield her eyes. Then found herself standing in front of a warmly-lit house. Not far from her original home. She heard the sound of sleigh bells in the distant sky as the front door opened. “ Can I help you?” an elderly lady, the house’s only tenant, asked. “ I don’t know,” Lorraine replied honestly. The elderly woman suddenly froze, seeing the Christmas stocking in her visitor’s hand. Her eyes widening in surprise. “ Is that yours?” she asked solemnly. “My mother had one just like that when I was growing up. It vanished when she passed on.” “ It’s a long story,” Lorraine began. “ Come in, then, and stay the night,” the elderly woman replied as a tear fell on the envelope, bearing her mother’s name.
If you enjoyed this year’s offering, please find more enjoyable Christmas stories in: Available from: www.barnesandnoble.com www.amazon.com www.alibris.com www.abebooks.com www.ebay.com Thanks for reading. And have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!