I wrote this story for a Christmas story contest last year, hosted by Heart of God International. It actually took first place in 2007. I pray it blesses you.
Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Fridays, hosted this week by Rhonda at Beach Reads. Be sure to stop by her blog and find links to more great fiction. Don't be afraid to post your own fiction on your blog and link up at the bottom of her post. Everyone is welcome!
Alfred crouched in the corner, beneath the highway underpass. He grabbed an old blanket he’d stored there and covered his legs. Sitting with his back against the concrete, he stared out into the city.
It looked like the sun was about to appear over the horizon. Flurries had just begun and were peppering the Christmas wreaths hanging from lampposts with specks of white.
Normally, Alfred’s survey would be disturbed by the rumbling and honking of morning traffic. Today, however, the cars were almost nonexistent. Being in a primarily industrial area, few people had a reason to drive by on a Christmas morning.
Alfred smiled. He preferred the quiet to the normal din of rush hour. His vision always seemed to sharpen when his ears and eyes weren’t bombarded.
The light snowfall and dull noise of the occasional car reminded him of his very first Christmas with Sadie. They had been newlyweds, only nineteen. They’d been quite poor – not as bad off as Alfred was now, but not middle class by any means – and were renting the attic of her uncle’s hardware store.
There had been no money for Christmas. They had eaten pasta for dinner and had exchanged handmade gifts. Yet, it had been a wonderful Christmas. The time they’d spent together, meditating on the wonderful gifts they had received from their Savior, was precious.
“As long as Jesus is with us,” Sadie had said, “we have much to celebrate.”
The two had celebrated more than three dozen Christmases since. Most had been fairly traditional: midnight mass, a table full of turkey and the fixings, the joy of celebrating with their children and grandchildren, presents piled to the ceiling. Yet, none ever seemed as special as that very first one.
Alfred’s very last conversation with Sadie, just five months earlier, had been about Christmas memories. As she lay in her hospital bed, injured almost beyond recognition from the car crash, they’d reminisced about their many holiday celebrations
Sadie had always been the strong one, and she seemed to sense her time was running out. As she noticed Alfred’s sadness about his first Christmas alone, she reminded him of the words she’d said so many years ago.
“As long as Jesus is with you,” she’d croaked with her last bit of energy, “you have much to celebrate.”
She’d slipped into Jesus’ arms not two minutes later, a smile on her face and Alfred’s hand in hers. Those words had sustained him through the grieving process, not to mention the loss of his home to creditors because of Sadie’s hospital bills.
Oh, how he missed Sadie. A tear came to his eye as he thought back over their lives.“She may be gone and I may not have a home, but they can’t take away my memories.”
Alfred smiled. He opened his backpack and fished out his Bible, a muffin he’d picked up at the gas station the day before, and a hand-sewn billfold, worn with age. He turned to Luke 2 and read silently.
“You didn’t have a bed to sleep in either, did you?” Alfred pursed his lips and caressed the billfold, thinking of the first time he had seen it, when Sadie handed it to him that very first Christmas.
“As long as Jesus is with me, I have much to celebrate.”
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