The crash of a drum and the shrill of whistles heralded the morning. The sudden noise jolted her rudely awake.
“Merry Christmas, everyone! Rise and shi-ine!” A loud thump on the door accompanied the greeting.
She stumbled from her bed, reaching for her gown as she did so. It was still dark. She wondered what the time was, who her unexpected visitors might be. Fumbling the door open, she looked at three tall young men – strangers – standing on her doorstep.
“Can I help you?” She regretted the question as she asked. They did not appear to be greatly in need of help. Re-direction perhaps, help – no.
Seeing her, the three young men looked equally puzzled. They appeared to be brothers, and in the half-light she could see little to differentiate one from the other, except that one wore glasses, one had curly hair and the third had a blond cowlick.
‘Glasses’ stepped forward, his drum hanging at his side. His voice was pleasant, almost musical. “We’re very sorry to have disturbed you. We must have the wrong address. We are looking for Cousin Laura.”
She frowned.. “Cousin Laura who? My name is Laura.”
The boys looked at each other. ‘Curly’ started to smile and coughed a chuckle into submission. “We’re sorry, Ma’am, we don’t remember. Somewhere along the way we lost the memo Dad gave us. We each remembered a part of the address, but none of us could remember the surname. At home they only spoke of Cousin Laura.” Suddenly realizing that they had not introduced themselves, he apologized again. Pointing to ‘Glasses’ he said, “That’s Carl, I’m Geoff and that’s Junior. His name is really Hazel, like Dad’s, but he doesn’t like it.”
Now he had her attention. “Hazel? Are you Hazel Alport’s boys?” Her voice was sharp. “You’d better come in.”
Once again they looked each to the other. “Come on, come on.” She waved her hand impatiently. Junior stepped in first, the others followed. She hustled them into the kitchen, sitting them at the table. Filling her large coffeepot she set it on the stove.
Now, let’s start again.” She rehearsed their names as if to imprint them in her mind, adding, “And I am Laura Dagenham, and yes, I am Hazel Alport’s Cousin Laura. Your introduction is just the sort of thing he would do. I haven’t heard from him in twenty years, since he left for the mission field. Bring me up to date.”
She busied herself with coffee and toast while the three took turns ‘bringing her up to date’. The adrenalin ran high. Laughter filled the room as each boy added tale to story. Laura sat, drinking in the boys, noting their similarities, smiling at their differences.
Rising to replenish the cups, she glanced at the wall clock. “Oh, dear!” She was flustered. “Look at the time. I must hurry – the Christmas day celebration begins in half an hour and I am not dressed. Will you come with me?”
While Laura dressed, the triplets tidied the kitchen and freshened themselves. They hurried into the church only a little late and found seats conveniently near the back. The celebration was a real celebration of praise and thanksgiving to God for the wonderful gift of His Son. Laura’s happiness increased with the joyful participation of her visitors.
After the service she led the boys across to introduce them to the pastor, who took and held her hand, smiling down at her. “And where did you find these fine young men, Laura?”
Very seriously – but with twinkling eyes – she replied, “I didn’t exactly find them, they found me. This,” she indicated Carl, “is Caspar, this is Melchior, and” she tucked her hand companionably through Junior’s, “this is Balthazar. I don’t know where they parked their camels, but they arrived on my doorstep in the dark and woke me up. They have brought the most beautiful gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. That’s why we were late.” She added, “They’re Hazel’s boys.”
The pastor smiled, and shaking each boy’s hand in turn, welcomed him. “I was at college with your Dad. It’s been a long time.” He turned again to Laura. “Bring them with you to our luncheon. It will be a great blessing to all of us to share your guests. And,” he spoke to the boys, “there is always too much food so we expect you to do your part in making sure there are no leftovers to take us into the New Year.”
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