Daria glanced at the mailbox as she stepped out of the minivan. Flag's still up, she observed. Guess the postman was delayed by the snow. Sighing softly in disappointment, she walked around to herd her children into the house.
“Mom, can we play outside in the snow?” Six-year-old Emily asked.
Daria lifted three-year-old Ryan from the carseat and onto the bare sidewalk, courtesy of her husband rising half an hour earlier to clear the eighteen-inch drifts. “Yes, but you are going to finish your homework first, Emily. And boys, you have to wait for your sister,” she added quickly.
“Aw, Mom!” Four-year-old Eric said, but quickly hurried into the house at her stern glance.
She locked the minivan, and turned to look once more at the mailbox as she walked to the front door. The flag still stood at attention, and snowdrifts buffeted the wooden post. I hope he can reach it from the road, she thought.
Each year, in the few days before Christmas, she had a deep longing that rose in her soul for a certain and expected Christmas card. The card would usually arrive before Christmas Day, but the sudden snowstorm from the night before could delay its arrival even further. With only three days remaining before Christmas, she hoped that nothing would hold up the postal service from delivering on time.
An hour later, with her children running freely through the snow in the backyard, Daria stood at the kitchen counter keeping watch over them as she prepared dinner. The front door opening caught her attention, and moments later her husband Dan carried a stack of mail into the kitchen. He greeted her with a kiss, and directed her attention to the top envelope. “It came.”
“Thank you, Darling,” she stated quickly, kissing him briefly again. Then she hurried up to her room, card in hand.
With the door shut behind her, she perched on the edge of the bed, blinking through tears. Relax, Daria! This is what you've been waiting for! she encouraged herself. Carefully she peeled back the edges of the envelope, removed the card, and read:
“I hope this card finds you well. I am writing this letter myself this year, to tell you how thankful I am for all of God's blessings in my life. I started softball, and I am really good at it! Seventh grade is very different – I am in Junior High now. Mom also had me start taking flute lessons with a private teacher, so now I sound much better. For the Christmas concert I am playing a solo on “Away in a Manger”. The most important thing, though, is that in August I asked Jesus into my heart at summer camp. My mom said that this is the most exciting event that I have to share with you. Thank you so much for giving me the chance to experience this joy. Blessings to you and your family. Love, Annaleise.”
Daria sat, silently praying and thanking God. The joy rose in her spirit despite tears running down her face. She gazed at the enclosed picture of the curly-haired, blue-eyed blonde girl with a bright smile, wearing a summer camp uniform and clutching a Bible. So beautiful!
Her mind wandered back over the years, to her junior year of high school, and a snowy winter's day just before Christmas. A hospital room, and an infant, held in her arms for only an hour. Tracing her finger along the face, gazing into the pretty blue eyes, and crying until no more tears could fall. Then, the card, still tucked away, that brought consolation and comfort in the years to follow:
“I want to thank you for this wonderful opportunity you have given to my husband and I – words cannot express how grateful we are for your precious gift. I pray for many blessings to you and comfort from God in the years to come. We promise to send you updates each year. Merry Christmas, and many, many thanks!”
Daria kissed the picture of the girl, and tucked it back into the card. “Merry Christmas, my sweet girl,” she said quietly.
Laying the card on the dresser, she prayed, Thank you, God, for Your wonderful grace to us. And thank You, Lord, for ALL of my children.
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