I was about to sink into bed when the phone rang. “Taylor, a little girl is lost in the mountains. Be ready in ten minutes and a cameraman will pick you up.”
My boss was like that. No please or thank you, just orders. I fixed my hair and makeup and was waiting when Marty arrived. “Any news?” I asked as we picked our way through golden threads of traffic.
“It’s a kid, staying with grandma for Christmas. Apparently she disappeared at dusk.”
Out of the city, Marty picked up speed. It had been gusty and snowing earlier but now the night was crisp and clear. He snapped a button. “Let’s see what’s on the radio.” Joyful strains of Hark the Herald Angels, blared forth.
“Hardly appropriate.” I commented. “Plus I’m sick of carols. My niece even has one as her ring tone.”
Marty laughed. “They’re not that bad.”
“My mother’s mission in life is to get me to her carol service on Christmas Eve.” I rolled my eyes. “I almost hope I get called out so I’ve got an excuse.”
My mobile vibrated and I motioned to Marty to switch the radio off. “Taylor Michaels.”
“They’ve found her. Are you almost there?” My boss was never one to waste words.
“How long?” I mouthed at Marty.
He held up five fingers and I repeated the number down the phone.
“Make it three. This story’s worth capturing.”
We rounded a bend in the road and saw a cluster of vehicles ahead. I left Marty pulling equipment out and went to see what was happening.
“She’s cold but alright.” a policeman informed me. “I’ll ask the grandma about an interview – you’re from Chanel Six News, you say?”
We squeezed into the ambulance with Grandma, a medic, a rescue worker and the little girl. “So what’s your name, honey?”
“Carol.” Her face was pale against tangled ebony hair.
“How old are you, Carol?”
“Can you tell me the story of how you got lost tonight?”
She sucked in a breath. “Me and Grandma had set up the Christmas tree and I wanted to find some holly to put around the bottom. Grandma was resting so I thought I’d just look near the cabin.”
“And that’s when you got lost?”
“I thought I saw a bambi in the forest so I went to see. It was only a piece of wood but the light was gone and I couldn’t find my way back.”
“So what happened next?”
“I walked and walked and it was getting colder and colder. Then Jesus told me to sing.”
“Jesus told you to sing?”
She nodded her head firmly. “My Mommy called me Carol cos I was born at Christmas and God gave me a special voice.”
Words failed me for a moment. “What did you sing?”
A little colour was creeping back into her cheeks and she smiled. “Christmas carols of course. I sang a medley of them.”
“What’s a medley, Carol?”
She pulled herself up and the medic adjusted a monitor. “It’s when you sing bits of songs, one after the other.”
“So what songs did you sing?”
Using her fingers, she counted them off. “O Holy Night, O Come all ye Faithful, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Joy to the World.”
The rescue worker cleared his throat. “Could I say something here?”
Marty swung the camera to face him.
“We’d been on the mountain face for hours but the wind kept whipping our voices away. Then I decided to pray. I’m not religious but I believe in God. Anyway, a few seconds later, the wind dropped off and we heard a voice singing like an angel, pure and sweet.” He squeezed his eyes shut. “I’d say it was a Christmas miracle.”
I felt my own eyes dampening. “So Jesus sent the rescuers to find you.”
“He sure did.”
“Do you think you could sing your medley for the viewers at home, Carol?”
I backed out of the picture as a honeyed soprano filled the air. “O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, this is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth...”
It was almost tangible. A liquid awe and holy presence that swept over me. I’d never heard carols sung like that. Never really listened to the words and understood them. God used a little child to touch my heart and show me the Christmas message.
I called Mom the next morning. Told her I’d be at the carol service.
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