Bah Humbug Got the Juices Going
The Story I promised
Christmas — bah humbug! That was the first thought that came to mind last week after I told you if I wrote a Christmas story I would share it with you. Well, just mentioning it, and having that cryptic thought, got the juices going, and I immediately sat down and got to it! It is short, a little over twelve hundred words. I do not mention where the story takes place so that you can put it in your own location context, whether you live in Arizona, Montana, West Virginia, New England, Canada, Mexico, the UK, or elsewhere.
Whether you love Christmas or find it a “Bah humbug!” I think you will enjoy this story inspired by Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” Oh, and have you written a short Christmas story yet? Come on! Get with it! When you do write your short Christmas story, share it with me. And share your response to my story as well. Merry Christmas!
“Christmas? Bah humbug!” That was Scrooge’s attitude, and that was mine as well. Long ago I grew tired of the commercialization and hoopla of Christmas. People expecting presents. Crowded stores. Noisy family get-togethers and certain obnoxious relatives. Christmas music everywhere—same songs over and over. Christmas stuff going on at church. Those confound bell ringers! “Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!” Bah humbug! Where can I go to get away from it all? That question was heavy on my mind.
I growled when the first Christmas card of the season arrived. On the front was a quaint night scene of a little cabin with a snow covered pine tree beside it and a star shining brightly from above. And of course, “Merry Christmas” was emblazoned across the bottom of the card. I did not even look to see who it was from. I headed for the trash can, still snarling. As I tossed the card in the trash my growl turned into a, “Hmm.” I headed for my computer.
“Cabins in the woods; Cabins in the woods,” I muttered as I searched. “Yes, here is one that looks like the cabin on the card—an escape from Christmas!” I reached for my cell phone hoping the cabin was not already rented for the season.
I packed my bags and headed north, glad I lived alone and did not have to deal with some woman’s paranoia about being “home for the holidays.” A grim smile sliced my face. I was leaving the humbug of Christmas behind. I would not return until after the stupidity of New Years when I would empty and toss most everything in my mailbox. Although I did not receive a lot of cards, the few were too many.
Turning from the highway onto a dirt road I felt a deep stir of excitement, a whole month hidden away from everyone and everything—hidden away from Christmas! After a mile I came to the sign I was looking for: Woodhaven Get-away. The narrow drive twisted through the woods until there before me stood my escape. At the sight of it I breathed a sigh of relief.
A roaring fire, a stack of good books, hot coffee and no Christmas. I glanced at the television, but it would remain off. Christmas was not going to blare at me through that stupid machine. I even shut off my cell. Total isolation. Perfect.
When I sat in the overstuffed chair before the fire I noticed an open Bible on the lamp table. I glanced at it and read, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” The passage was Hebrews 13:2. I shook my head and snickered. “Foolishness,” I mumbled. Angels reminded me of Christmas. I shut the Bible and shoved it aside.
The next several days I spent reading, writing in my journal, playing solitaire, and going for walks. I lost track of time. I am not sure how many days I had been there when I woke up to snow. The forest outside my window was beautiful in spite of my frown. Snow was ok, but I did not want to get snowed in. I checked my calendar. Hmm. December twenty-fourth. I refused to acknowledge that it was Christmas Eve, even though the thought crossed my mind.
I went for a brief walk in the snow, but for the most part I spent the day inside by the fire with a book in hand. In fact, that was where I was when I was startled by a knock at the door. “Who could that be?” I groused, my brow wrinkled to aggravation.
When I threw open the door, there before me stood a young girl, perhaps twelve or thirteen years old. Snow flecked her black hair. She worn no coat and was shivering violently. Her eyes…her sky blue eyes pleaded with me to come in where she could get warm. I stepped aside and she scurried in and over to the fire. After scanning the drive I closed the door and stared after her. What was this child doing out here all alone and without a coat?
“I’m Wilson Hedron,” I offered. “And what is your name young lady?”
The girl turned and stared at me. “Your name?” I repeated. She turned back to the fire holding out her hands. Her shivering had stopped. “Where is your coat? Where are your parents? Are you staying in a nearby cabin? Did you get lost? How did you get here?” She responded to none of my questions. My shoulders sagged. “Are you hungry?” She turned and nodded her head.
When I finished fixing a breakfast of eggs and bacon with sourdough toast, I found her curled up in my overstuffed chair with my lap blanket for a cover. She smiled up at me, eyes sparkling. I could not help but smile back. “Breakfast is ready.” She rose and joined me at the small kitchenette table.
While we ate I asked all the same questions, again with no answers. “Cat got your tongue, or can’t you speak?” She grimaced and shook her head. “Can’t speak?” She nodded. “Are you lost?” She shook her head. “Can you write?” She nodded.
I got a piece of paper and pen. “What’s your name?” She wrote, “Christmas.” I shuddered. I did not want Christmas invading my life. “Last name?” She wrote, “Angel.”
“Christmas Angel,” I muttered. I wanted to throw her out the door. I glared at her. She smiled in return, increasing my irritation.
“Where are you from? How did you get here?” She had laid the pen down. She did not pick it up. In a huff I went to my chair, picked up my book and left the poor wretch to herself, hoping she would leave, coat or no coat. “Christmas Angel; bah humbug!”
After awhile I became aware of a deep silence. I turned to see what the girl was up to. She was not there. I got up and looked around. There was no sign of her. But on the bookcase by the window was a manger scene, and overshadowing the manger scene a large wooden cross with a crown of thorns hung over it. “She has no coat?” I huffed. I hurried to the door and swung it open. To my astonishment there were no tracks in the snow. No tracks coming and no tracks going. I turned and looked at the discarded Bible and then the manger scene. A lump rose in my throat. I shut the door.
“I left Christmas behind, but Christmas has come to me.” I gazed at the cross and tears welled to my eyes. “In leaving Christmas behind, I left You behind didn’t I?” The tears trickled down my cheeks. “Christmas a humbug? You a humbug? Forgive me, Lord.”
I tossed a couple of logs on the fire, picked up the Bible, and turned to the Gospel of Luke and read the Christmas story. “No,” I mused, “Christmas is not a humbug.” I got up and left the cabin. I needed to walk. I needed to think. It was dusk before I returned. As I stood there in the driveway looking at the cabin with a snow covered tree next to it and a bright star shining in the sky I thought of the Christmas card I had thrown in the trash. A slight laugh escaped me. “I’ll have to pull it out and see who it was from when I get home.
Christmas morning I turned on the television and found a Christmas concert. It was the first Christmas I had enjoyed in years. I have enjoyed every Christmas since. Angels unawares? Yes, my friend, angels unawares.
For more of my Christmas short stories; “Imagine Christmas” is an anthology of great stories for the hilidays.
May Christ bless you with a “Merry Christmas”!