The clock had barely chimed 6:00 a.m., All had been quiet within the Layton home, that was until the pitter patter of bare feet tapped against the hard wood flooring, alerting Ryan and Jennifer Layton that ten year old Abby was up and about to burst through their bedroom door, after all, it was Christmas Day, and it was tradition to be up before the sun.
The light squeak of the door brought a giggle from Abby as peeked inside her parent’s room. Not one iota of a word or any movement came from the two still forms on the bed. Suddenly, she swung the door open wider and flew towards the bed, flinging her limber body across the middle, covering her parents. “GET UP its CHRISTMAS!” Abby exclaimed joyfully as she wedged herself in between her mom and dad with a huge grin on her face.
“OK… OK… We are up.” Ryan said groggily as he got up. Jennifer followed soon after.
Abby didn’t waste any more time on worrying if her parents had indeed rolled out of bed, instead she flew down the stairs towards the living room were beneath the huge Christmas tree lay packages of all shapes decorated in shiny paper and big bows of greens and reds. Stopping short of the first brightly wrapped box in silver and red, Abby slowly turned to look about the room, taking in the elaborate decorations of garland that covered the mantle of the large rock fireplace, as well as the delicate snowman candy dish that sat within the middle of the coffee table. It was beautiful and cheerful, inviting the Christmas spirit to all that swept into the room. Yet, to Abby, something was missing.
Four years prior, Abby’s older brother Alex and her father had gotten into a horrible fight, causing Alex to leave abruptly. All these Christmas’s past, she prayed and prayed, even asked Santa if he could find her brother and bring him home to them, each year that went by, Abby felt that feeling that a part of her was missing, and it was. She wanted her family back together again and to be happy for once during Christmas.
Sighing softly, Abby lowered her head just before her parents entered the room, offering one quick silent prayer that maybe this Christmas Day would be different than all the rest.
After the prayer, Abby moved to her first present, it was small and covered in silver paper that seemed to shimmer each time the light touched it. She smiled softly as she opened it to find a beautiful locket of pure gold. A light gasp escaped her lips as she gently pried it open to find two small pictures inside; the first was of her at five years old, and the second was Alex at five years old. Tears filled Abby’s eyes as she turned to face her family, what she saw thrilled her heart.
Standing where her parents had been was in the flesh, her brother Alex, he looked the same, but to look into his eyes, the same bright baby blues as she, they held within them something different, a sparkle that hadn’t been there before.
“ALEX!” Abby cried as she threw herself into his arms.
“Merry Christmas angel eyes.” he whispered softly into her ear as his arms came around her for a bear hug, then swung her around a few times before setting her back down.
“I have prayed and prayed that Jesus would lead you home to us, just like the star that led the shepherds and the wise men to baby Jesus.” Abby said as her voice cracked with emotions. God had heard her prayers.
“Abby, I am sorry for the pain and hurt I caused when I left. I wasn’t thinking straight and…” he trailed off for a moment before speaking again. “I did a lot of soul searching and found Jesus. He made me want to do better in my own life and to do the right thing, so here I am. I can’t take back the past, but I can make a better present day and future.” He said smiling to her.
“None of that matters Alex, your home and look at Mom and Dad, they are smiling again!” she said through her tears.
“This is the best Christmas Day ever!”
From that day on, The Layton’s were one big happy family.
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