Spending Christmas Alone – A story with a happy ending

“I’ll be fine. I promise.”

Arlene smiled into the phone as she switched off the porch light and locked the door.

“You won’t be lonely?” Her oldest daughter couldn’t resist calling from the car as they pulled away, headed to the airport.

“Enjoy your trip, already! You and Mark deserve this vacation. Go!”

As she hung up, she took a long moment to look over the photos of her family on the sideboard. Children, all grown. Grandchildren, nearly grown. Her David, gone on ahead of her to glory after fifty years together. She was so very blessed.

Time to get ready for her company. She hummed quietly as she put on water for tea. “Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side.”

She’d been planning this Christmas celebration for weeks. As each call came in, from children and grandchildren, with apologies and alternate Christmas plans, she’d been sad, at first. How could it possibly happen that she’d be alone on Christmas?

Sophie was just getting back on her feet after the chemo and Arlene had spent several weeks living with them on the West Coast to help out. Her youngest daughter would have her brood around her at her own home for the holidays and Arlene couldn’t be happier for that!

This year Tom and Shannon were due at Shannon’s parents for Christmas. They’d been kind enough to give up their turn last year since it had been her first Christmas without David and everyone had wanted to support her.

Then, Mark surprised Nora with a long-awaited trip to Greece as a combination Christmas/anniversary/thank-you-for-taking-me back gift. Arlene was so thrilled they had reconciled, she could hardly complain.

She’d had a long conversation with David over Skype yesterday. How fortunate that missionary families now had the blessing of computer technology to keep in touch!

But, now she was really alone.

Oh, she’d entertained offers from friends at church but then it occurred to her that she had the opportunity to enjoy what she’d always wanted through years of raising her family and caring for the needs of others. Politely, she’d declined all invitations for the chance to spend a quiet Christmas with her dearest friend.

So, here she was. The fireplace snapped brilliantly. Crisco was curled up in his basket on the floor by her chair. Her favorite orange tea scented the air. The Christmas candles in the windows proclaimed the season to the world but all that mattered to her was right here.

Arlene tucked her prayer blanket around her legs and checked the small stack of books on the table beside her: prayer journal, hymnal, her favorite devotional reader and her Bible, frayed, worn and familiar. She snuggled into her chair and took several deep breaths followed by a sip of tea. Then she closed her eyes.

“Here I am, Jesus. We’ve got all night tonight and all day tomorrow. Let’s celebrate Christmas with uninterrupted worship and conversation, just us, my dearest friend, just us.”

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1 Comment

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  1. Momma says:

    Family gatherings are wonderful on special holidays but I liked the way this woman was spending her Christmas. Knowing all the children were safe and happy was a great gift. And time alone was also a great gift. One we don’t always appreciate. Good going, Lori. MOMMA