A Delightful New Beginning
by Jennifer Tirrell Roberts
"We need to break up, Janey." Janey’s dark brown eyes stared at Tom with confusion and hurt. "Why, Tom?"
Tom hadn't given much of an answer. "I don't love you anymore," didn't tell her much. After he left, she pulled on her boots, slipped her arms into her big, puffy knee-length coat and reached for the matching hat and gloves her mom had given her last year for Christmas. They were a red Christmas plaid and a little warmth crept back into her heart after she felt their soft fleece-lining against her skin. She was walking now rather aimlessly through the streets of the quaint New England town where they had travelled for the weekend. "How could he do this?" The tears were shining on her eyelids, and making frozen tracks down her cold red cheeks.
They had met on the internet, and saw each other on weekends. It had been so fun, or so she had thought, meeting in different towns, exploring them together. Bed & Breakfasts, new restaurants, and new experiences each weekend seemed like a fairy tale to her. Janey contemplated her 24 years as she walked. Having lost her father at 11 years old, she never knew much about a father's love, or men in general. Her mother was wonderful, and she felt thankful for that, but there was a hole inside her that just she couldn't seem to fill. "I think that is why I’ve been clinging to Tom," she mumbled to herself as she kicked the snow clumps left by the plow aside along the way. "Maybe I'll never feel whole. Maybe I'll always be alone. Maybe Christmas is for other people, not me." The morose thoughts kept coming and as they did, she walked faster and faster. She took a couple lefts, then a right before stopping herself and her frenzied thoughts. It was dark now and she wasn't quite sure where she was. Looking around, she saw some light in the distance. It didn't look too far away. She changed her direction and began to walk with purpose toward the light.
Janey's thoughts began to brighten as she drew closer to the glow ahead. As her thoughts shifted, she began to notice other things. There was a beautiful blanket of snow covering the ground, and each tree was decorated with white and silver ice crystals. The glistening branches sparkled in the moonlight and seemed to wave their arms at her as she walked by. The crisp cold air rejuvenated her from the inside out. "How beautiful!" Janey's breath was a white cloud of cold air. Before her was a large gazebo, covered in glittery white lights. The wonder of a child engulfed her spirit and she stepped into its center. She slowly turned around once before giving in to her emotions and collapsing onto the bench in tears. As she sobbed out her sorrow, fear, and loneliness she felt a hand squeeze her shoulder. She slowly lifted her chin to see an elderly man standing beside her with a compassionate look on his wizened face. "Are you ok, miss?" Janey sniffled and attempted to pull herself together. "I'm ok," she answered. The old man sat down beside her. "Christmas can be overwhelming at times, can't it?" he commiserated. Janey nodded her head, still unable to speak. "Can I tell you a story about this gazebo?" he asked. Janey nodded once more and he began to speak. His gentle, kind voice began to tell of his own loss one Christmas when he was just a young man.
He had lost his beloved wife to cancer and was raising his son alone. At times the sorrow and loneliness would seem too much to bear. At these times he would bundle his son up and they would walk to this gazebo. Sitting in the peace and beauty of its light reminded him of the Christ child and the light He brought to the world. As he and his son cuddled together on this very bench, he would tell his son the most beautiful love story ever told--that of the Christ child being born in a stable to bring light and life to the broken world. It never failed to ease his pain.
A peace began to spread through Janey. She remembered hearing this story as a girl. She andher mom and dad used to go to church before he died. Dad would sing the hymns with joy on his face. She could see him clearly in her mind's eye. "My dad told me of Christ's love, but I had forgotten. Mom and I stopped attending church after he died when I was 11.” She glanced up and their eyes met and held. "Thank you for reminding me." He smiled and she smiled back. "Christmas is all about love and new beginnings,” he said.
Just then they heard footsteps crunching across the snow and two men stepped into the gazebo to join them. The old man stood up and greeted them with hugs and exclamations of joy. One man looked to be her age, the other was perhaps his father. Now that she got a good look, all three of them resembled each other -- tall, dark and handsome. Her new friend turned back to her, introducing them. "My name is Bill. This is my son, Mike, the one I was telling you about, and this is my grandson, David. Boys, I'd like to introduce you to...ummm, actually, miss, I don't know your name."
Janey's big brown eyes travelled from Bill, to Mike, to David. As her eyes met David’s, his blue eyes twinkled directly back into hers. Her heart jumped as she held out her hand for him to hold. "Janey. My name is Janey." As the warmth of his hand travelled to her heart, she thought. “Yes, Christmas is about love and new beginnings.”
Jennifer Tirrell Roberts is a women's ministry facilitator and organizes and leads studies and retreats for women. Her first book Opus Magnificat takes readers on a journey to find the miracle in her friend's cancer diagnosis. Her strong faith leads her to write inspirational stories meant to guide others into finding joy in trials.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
' The Lights of Christmas'
'The Christmas Wish'