This is fiction, written and originally posted this time last December. I've tweaked it in places, where my year-older written voice wouldn't leave it be. And who can resist tweaking, anyway?
Either way, I'd like to share its message again.
Cranky, that was me. Had been all day, to be honest. Because work hadn't gone well, and I learned my boyfriend would be out of town for Christmas, and I spilled rootbeer on my winter-white sweater at dinner.
Still felt soggy with stick. And I despised looking unkempt. Which was the exact effect of the muddish splatter high across my left boob, given the once-over the ticket counter lady gave me. Made me feel this big.
I crossed my arms, hiding the stain and all it made me feel, as I sat in the auditorium of my niece's high school. Merry people talked in excited circles around me, trapping me in my stiff third-row seat. Who makes that kind of seating anyway? It's so uncomf--
I felt a nubby jab on the tender underneath of my arm.
"Meggie, what's the deal?" my sister asked.
I shrugged but kept my mouth closed, knowing better than to unleash sour complaint.
"Well, perk up! It's a Christmas concert."
Right, I grumbled to my lap. Don't get me wrong - I loved vocal concerts, hearing holiday music, soaking up youthful talent. It was just really poor timing for me. I wasn't open to Christmas spirit.
My heart was sore at Jacob, who'd changed plans on me. Despite the fact we'd never been apart on Christmas Eve, not in eight years, and I'd been hoping for a special night, and a special proposal. Instead, he and his siblings were all going home, he'd said, without extending an invitation to me. I had--
The house lights went all but black, signaling the sea of audience to fall quiet.
"Mama!" A small boy's voice broke through the still. "There's somebody back there!"
Heads turned, short of unison, to the rear of the auditorium. Choir members in black robes slipped through the doors, and goosebumps poked my arms when I saw each held a candlestick. The small dancing flames lit their carriers' faces and they sang, the sound of their a capella voices rising with the room's acoustics. As they made for the stage, the pace of their single-file lines matched the unrushed tempo of the first song.
O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant...
I saw my niece, Jem, whose strong alto voice I heard melt into the hymn's harmony. The slightest of smiles appeared in the flicker from her candle, hazy, and my heart warmed.
O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem...
The rich voices - amazing, they were coming from teenagers - hugged me, and I pulled comfort from the lyrics.
Come and behold Him...
And suddenly my brain, that little part responsible for my mood, flipped as a switch. Love blew past the grumps, settled in. Contentment took its place. And gone were my cranky thoughts. They were replaced by... by... the Spirit.
Who cared about a rootbeer stain, really? And work was work; I'd no reason to dwell on one day. Jacob? I'd tell him I wanted to go on the trip with him. If he had some problem with that, well, then I'd stay with my own family, and reassess my relationship with him later.
Born the King of angels...
It was Christmas, after all. I should have been happy, focused on my God-given blessings.
I reached for my sister's hand and gave it a squeeze. She smiled and brushed a tear from her eye.
"I feel it, too," I whispered. "I feel it, too."
The 'nets have already slowed, and I think I'll be adding to its silence for a bit. Will catch up with you in a week or so.
May each of you be blessed. And Merry Christmas.