The Preacher’s Christmas

A Christmas Story

James opened the bedroom window. A cold gust of wind made the curtains flap. There was unrest in his heart. It was like chaotic voices of birds coming back to roost on trees at dusk. A sense of loss was in the air.

“Daddy, Daddy!” James was startled to hear that familiar voice. Yet no one was there. But he knew. His thoughts began to gather around the small Christmas tree that his daughter Sarah had crudely decorated the previous year. What joy the four year old had in showing it off to Daddy!”

It was then that there was heard the sound of breaking of glass. James had rushed to the kitchen to see Julia, his wife, holding an empty tray. Three ornamental glasses lay broken on the floor with orange juice spilled on the ground. James lost his temper for those glasses were a wedding gift from his mother.

Now this day was Christmas Eve. It was exactly one year since she had gone back to her home with Sarah. No phone calls; but absolute silence and estrangement had followed.

As James looked at the kitchen he almost thought that he saw Julia with folded hands and tears in her eyes looking like an innocent deer pleading with him to forgive. But he had gone on shouting at her. The trouble was that it was not the first time; each time he said “Sorry, I’ll repeat this no more.” Yet it happened time after time! Julia had been enduring his outbursts of anger patiently for the last three years. But not any more.

James remembered how heartbroken little Sarah was and how she had cried seeing his outburst. Her Christmas was over. Joy had fled; peace was no more.

A storm started to rage in James’ mind. He looked at his desk. The sermon notes he had prepared for the next day seemed to mock and shout at him: “How can you speak about ‘Joy the world’ when Julia and Sarah are in tears?” He struggled like a fish caught by the hook and thrown on the deck of a fishing vessel. The words that were read to them on their wedding day at the church came to him like a hammer pounding rock to pieces: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

James knew that his sermon was rubbish when there was no peace in his heart and home. It was night already. Yet he left his sermon notes behind and began journeying to give Julia and Sarah the best Christmas present ever!

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