Julie loved receiving Christmas cards but she seldom enjoyed writing or sending them. It was hard for her, especially this year because she lost her fiancé of two years to another woman.
Benjamin had been her friend and lover for two years and she thought that they had a good relationship and was looking forward to possibly marrying him early next year. But, that was not to be, for he found someone who he said, “Understands me, better.” This was not the first time she heard such words; she heard them three years ago from her first fiancé—Jim Cranshaw. She was beginning to think that there was something wrong with her but on second thought, she concluded that perhaps she was dealing with men who were not worthy of her time and love.
Well, at twenty-five she was still young enough to find someone compatible and loving and besides, Christmas was only ten days away, so she decided to put away her negative thoughts of Christmas cards and began searching for unusual and attractive holiday cards.
She decided to shop at a local retailer shop; for she had seen some lovely ones in a back corner by some fine stationery. Shopping was something she didn’t enjoy; so she planned on shopping for just an hour or so.
Tuesday mornings, she found, was often a good day to shop. The merchants and clerks were usually in a good mood and the stores were sparse with shoppers.
She found the Christmas card area and began reading and checking out ones that looked interesting. Many were beautiful, some were cute and others were religious, with a spiritual message.
She liked them all but one in particular caught her eye. It was a lovely country setting, with an old farmhouse, several dogs on the outside, everything covered with snow and lights shining from inside. It looked a lot like her grandmother’s country home and what was even more astounding, were the pictures of the people on the card.
Maybe she was imagining it but the pictures of the people looked just like her Mom and Dad and her sister, Mary. All three died long ago in a car accident; so the picture brought back many sad and hidden memories. But surely, it couldn’t be pictures of her family, for who would know them or want to put their pictures on the outside of a greeting card?
She narrowed her eyes and looked more carefully at the picture….As she scanned the picture, she noticed something quite unusual. The eldest girl had a dress on that was quite unique. The pattern of the dres was one of a kind, because her grandmother and other grandmas in that area, did a lot of sewing for the families and the pattern on the dress looked exactly like one she used to wear when she was about ten years old.
It startled her to see the dress, for she hadn’t seen or remembered that dress for a very long time.
Still, it couldn’t be her in the picture and it couldn’t be the dress!
She put the Christmas card down and looked at others. So many were beautiful, ornate and unique but later she was compelled to go back and look at that card one more time. She just had to make sure—find some clue—that it had nothing to do with her or her family.
She looked and looked but couldn’t find the card. Yet, she knew she saw it minutes ago, and it was toward the end of the aisle. So what happened to it?
Finally, after searching high and low, she found it but it was not in the same place. It was up on the highest level but it still looked the same.
She took the card down and opened it up. Inside she found something absolutely startling. For inside she read the words, “Merry Christmas, Julie! Have a wonderful Christmas and know that we’re fine and in Heaven. We’ll hold a spot for you, dear, so in the meantime, be happy and live the life Christ has prepared for you…Love, Mom and Dad and Mary."
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