Well, it’s official: December is here and that means Christmas is just around the corner!
It’s time to dust off the Christmas Tree (we got ours up right after Thanksgiving), put the ornaments on it (Grandkids didn’t get to help me this year because they were out-of-town). Are you getting ready for some Christmas baking, maybe? We trust you will enjoy a wonderful Christmas with family and friends, celebrating the BEST GIFT of all, Jesus.
Here’s one last story this year, and since we’re talking Christmas, this one seems appropriate. Hope you enjoy it. (This story and recent ones are included in our short story book, Our Pot-Pourri of Short Stories. If you like these stories, why not order the book and enjoy more stories).
Merry Christmas from our house to yours!
THE CHRISTMAS KISS
The cold winter wind gave Marcie a shiver. Pulling her jacket around her more tightly she quickly added her heavy gloves and hat as she and her boyfriend drove to the Mall.
“Oh, I hope we can get our shopping finished before the storm gets here, Zach. This is the only time I have before finals to complete my Christmas shopping.”
Zach nodded. “Me, too. Man – look at how many people are at the Mall. I think everybody and their brother’s here tonight.”
Even with ten days left for shopping until the big event, the crowds were out in force. Not even the threat of impending snow kept people away.
Zach pulled his car into the closest available parking space. He and Marcie walked briskly to the Mall entrance. Entering the Mall they were greeted with carolers on one side and the fragrance of hot apple cider immediately in front of them. Mall stores had been generous in their display of the Christmas season. It didn’t take long until Marcie and Zach were caught up in the Christmas spirit along with all the other shoppers.
“Marcie,” Zach began as they looked in the store windows. “Let meet back by the Tower Clock at the escalators in three hours. Call my cell phone if you need me. Okay?” He squeezed her hand. “And don’t forget our bet!”
“Are you kidding?” she laughed and pinched his arm. “You’re going to be the one who is late and buys me hot chocolate.”
“We’ll see about that,” he responded, checking the time on his watch. “Three hours – don’t be late – or else.”
They headed in different directions to purchase gifts for family and friends. Two hours later Marcie had three over-size shopping bags full. She needed just one other item – for Zach – and she knew exactly what she would get him.
Hurrying toward the escalator one of the bags slid out of her hand causing the contents to disperse in several directions blocking the escalator entrance. She quickly reached to get them out of the way of other impatient shoppers waiting in line to go up. Placing the last package into her bag she paused. What was that? It must be the squeaky escalator.
She listened again. No, it sounds like a child’s whimper. She looked around but didn’t see any children. Maybe I’m just hearing things. Just then the bushy silk plant next to the escalator began shaking. She glanced around the planter and saw a little boy huddled between the planter and escalator. His head was buried in his hands and he was sobbing.
“Hi,” she said cautiously. “Are you okay or do you need some help?”
Raising his head, he quickly tried to wipe the tears from his eyes and cheeks.
“I-I, d-don’t know where my mommy and daddy are,” he finally said and then started crying again.
“It’ll be okay,” Marcie told him. She remembered what it felt like to be lost and her mind quickly replayed the horrible incident when she couldn’t find her parents in a department store when she was 5 years old.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“Okay, Johnny Marshall,” she began. “I’m Marcie, and when I was about your age, I got lost from my parents, too. Let me help you find your mommy and daddy. Is that okay?”
Johnny nodded while tears still ran down his cheeks.
Marcie juggled her packages and held Johnny’s hand on the way to the Information/Lost and Found booth. She told them what happened. An announcement over the Mall intercom requested Johnny Marshall’s parents to come to the Clock Tower. It wasn’t long until Marcie saw two adults running franticly through the crowds.
Marcie stood up as they approached. “Mr. and Mrs. Marshall?” she asked.
“Yes,” they said in unison. Mrs. Marshall added, “We can’t find our son. Do you know where he is?”
No sooner had she asked the question when Johnny peered from behind the counter and yelled “Mommy! Daddy!”
Marcie watched their warm and loving reunion. The family thanked her and then walked off, hand-in-hand, laughing. Tears filled Marcie’s eyes. Little did she realize that Zach had reached the Clock Tower just as the announcement was made of the missing child. She was wiping the tears from her face when he came up behind her and hugged her.
“Oh, Zach,’ Marcie started but couldn’t say anything else.
“I know, Marcie,” he responded, embracing her. “I saw the whole thing, and you gave the best gift of all to those parents. I’m very proud of you.” He held her closely. “I think you won our bet, too.”
She half-laughed and half-cried when felt something tug on her left hand. She turned to see little Johnny standing there all smiles.
“Thank you, Marcie,” he said with a grin that stretched from one ear to the other ear. “I’m glad you helped me find my mommy and daddy.”
Marcie smiled and nodded at him. Johnny pulled her arm down to his level, reached up and kissed her cheek. Watching him run back to his parents brought tears to Marcie’s eyes again.
“That’s a Christmas kiss I’ll never forget, Zach,” she said as he squeezed her shoulder.
“It’s the best Christmas present you could give me, Marcie.”