Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Lights (10/30/08)
TITLE: The Lights From God's House
By Peg Broussard
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Judy stumbled toward the lights. A sob escaped her as she struggled to place one foot in front of the other. The lights were close – weren’t they?
She angrily pondered how anyone could find joy in Christmas. Her thoughts turned to the death of her parents; the feeling that she’d never be okay without them, the loneliness engulfing her each time “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” or “Drummer Boy” or any of the millions of Christmas songs spilled out of the radio. And even more foolish not to pay attention to the slippery road or her surroundings, which is why she wound up plowing her car into a snow bank.
“Please God,” Judy whispered, “help me.”
Unexpectedly, the wind shifted; it no longer blew at her, but seemed to be blustering behind her, pushing her along. Suddenly she found herself before the glowing lights. Mounting the steps, she pushed the door open.
Sinking into a pew with a sigh, Judy considered how to get help in retrieving her car. It was almost midnight, the snow was still falling, and there was no one here to help her; she was quite alone. She tipped her head back and closed her eyes. Moments later they flew open as the oak door slammed shut. Jumping up, Judy turned toward the sound. Her hands began to shake, her heart beating a rapid tattoo against her chest.
Hesitating, Judy took several steps toward the figure at the back of the church. Her breath hitched and for a moment her world became fuzzy. All at once, the man was holding her arm, a worried expression on his old, wrinkled face.
“I’m okay,” Judy assured him. “I must have been daydreaming. You startled me, that’s all.”
“Ahh,” he nodded knowingly. “Sometimes I do have that effect.” His eyes twinkled behind wire rimmed glasses.
“I – you – I thought you were my father.”
“Ahh,” he said again, pulling his coat off his stocky shoulders. “But I couldn’t be, could I?”
Judy was suddenly spilling the emotions filling her heart. She talked of her mother and father, how they had left her alone and lonely, how she had plowed into a snow bank, and finally, on a sob told him, “God has taken them away – I feel empty inside and I’m angry. I’m angry at God and I’m angry at life. I followed the lights but there was no one here to help me. I’m in God’s house and no one is home.”
“God is always with us, is always home. ‘He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’ (Hebrews 13:5 The Bible). Your heart will mend, I promise you. Have faith, put your trust in God and the lights in God’s house will guide you through whatever storm you face.”
Judy’s gaze had settled on one of the church’s stained glass windows. The old man’s voice was comforting and an uncertain peace was coursing through her. Turning to address him, Judy realized he was gone. Had he even been there or was she hallucinating?
She suddenly became aware of bells peeling and the murmur of voices as several people whooshed into the church on a gust of wind.
“Anybody know whose car that is out front? Right in the path of the sidewalk – needs to be moved. Little red sports car.”
Judy’s mouth opened in surprise. It was her car - she could see through the open door. Thrusting her hand in her coat pocket, Judy pulled the keys out, staring at them in disbelief.
“Let me move it for you, Ma’am,” the man offered, “the wind has picked up mighty fierce.”
Judy stood mute until the man gently pulled the keys from her hand.
A woman came forward, her hand extended in greeting. Now there were several people smiling warmly as they moved past her to fill the empty pews. “Welcome” and “Merry Christmas!” wishes were given and Judy’s eyes filled with tears. She did feel welcome and strangely, the lonely feelings that had consumed her for many months were melting away. The lights from God’s house had brought her here and there was, indeed, someone home.
Judy’s fingers closed around a small card someone pressed into her hand. It read: ‘The
Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.’ A small smile played at her lips as she let His light surround her.
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