Season’s greetings!! We hope all of you are enjoying
the holiday season! We’d like to thank those of you who
contributed to this newsletter. I, Jenni, think this is one of
my very favorites. I was really touched by what you shared. This
is our final issue of 2004 and you’ve all been great this year
so I made ya’ll a little treat. You can view it here:
A Holiday Treat from Jenni or
Audrey, you be sure to check that out! There’s
something special waiting for you.
Anyhow, onto the newsletter and you’ll be hearing from us in 2005!!
Jenni and Karen
The annual holiday party had ended at Willowveil Castle in Dyeland. A few people remained, tossing the stray bit of wrapping paper or tinsel into a garbage can, munching on cookies as they did. But there wasn’t too terribly much to be done and soon they’d settled around the fireplace. Monica and JenniAnn walked in carrying trays filled with mugs of apple cider, eggnog, hot chocolate, and, of course, cappuccino.
“Thank you, baby.” Tess smiled as Monica handed her some hot chocolate. JenniAnn and Monica handed out the rest of the drinks and then joined everyone else settled on couches, chairs, and over-stuffed cushions that lay about. For a moment, they all only stared into the fire, enjoying the silence after all the noise of the party. Then Tess spoke up. “Y’know, babies, this reminds me of a very happy holiday I had years ago.”
“Let me guess, you helped the magi pick out gifts?” Andrew said with a grin.
Tess rolled her eyes. “No, Angel Boy. I would have gone with something much more practical than myrrh. Honestly… myrrh…” she shook her head but then continued. “No… this was many years later on a New Year’s Day. I had the day off as did many of my friends, or at least some free time in between assignments. Ruth, Phil, Adam, Sam, Andrew, and Monica... Remember?” Tess looked to them, a nostalgic look on her face. The other two angels nodded, fondly recalling. “We just talked about our favorite holiday memories and I learned things about some of my dearest friends of hundreds, even thousands of years that day. I’ll treasure the memory always of that time with my friends and angel babies.” She looked at Monica and Andrew with love and they smiled back at her warmly.
“Tess, that sounds like it was lovely. Y’know, we should do that. Share our favorite holiday memories or traditions. It’d be nice,” JenniAnn suggested, immediately beginning to think on hers. “Someone else can start while I pick one. Jess?”
“Sure,” Jess smiled. "On Christmas Eve if we stay home my family and my cousin's family, with my Grandma, all attend church service. After church we go to my cousin's house and spend the evening there. We eat lots of food. We spend time with the same old Christmas guests. When the clock strikes midnight my Uncle reads ‘The Night Before Christmas’. Once he has read it everyone goes home. On Christmas day we have supper either at our house or at my cousin's house to celebrate the holidays.”
“That sounds like great fun! And what if you don’t stay home?” Monica queried, helping herself to the extra mocha latte she’d brought in with her. She checked to make sure Tess hadn’t noticed. She hadn’t, only Andrew had and winked playfully at her. Then they gave their full attention back to Jess.
Jess started again. “If we don't stay home we go to my other grandparents’ house. They have a really small place and it is fun to see how long it takes to cover the small artificial tree with presents. We usually pile at least 14 people in the living room. It is really crowded and messy, but it is all worth it to be with family. We do the church thing on Christmas Eve and the supper just like at home only my Grandma makes the food when we are away."
“It’s good to hear your family gets together for Christmas. I think that’s one of the best parts of any holiday,” Andrew commented and smiled at Jess.
“Family’s very important to me, too. Especially at the holidays,” Kar started. “When I was little, our Christmas was held on Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house. It was always pretty much the same year after year... first we had supper, ham salad sandwiches (made from ground bologna and pickle relish...don't ask me why), chips, and veggies. Then we opened the presents. My brother and I always got to go first. It was all pretty cut and dry and looking back on it all of these years later, pretty dull... especially if you happened to be an adult. My brother and I loved every minute of it. Both of my grandparents are gone now and we no longer have our Christmas on Christmas Eve, but for some strange reason, it isn't Christmas for me unless I am able to find a bag of cut rock candy (the hard candy that has a small Christmas design in the center). My Grandfather always had a bowl of them setting around from the time they came out in the stores until they were gone from the stores. I couldn't stand them then and I can't stand them now, but it isn't Christmas for me until I buy one bag. I don't need a tree or lights or any other kind of decoration. After working in retail for so many years, I have developed a real 'bah, humbug' mentality towards the whole season. But it is amazing how happy it makes me feel when I get my bag of candy... it can now be Christmas. The bag never gets opened. It winds up shoved in a drawer in the kitchen and when we find it again (usually sometime in July), it is now an inedible brick of colored sugar and winds up getting tossed in the garbage. It will be replaced again in a few months with the new bag. A bag that will probably never be opened either.”
“Aww… that’s a sweet, in more ways than one, tradition Kar. Thanks for sharing,” JenniAnn expressed.
“Thanks, I’m not sure why I do it. Maybe it's just my way of trying to regain my childhood. Or maybe it's my Grandfather's way of popping in to say hello... I am not really sure. Maybe you could find out for me, Andrew?” Kar asked, smiling brightly at the angel.
“I’ll see what I can find out,” he promised. “Monica, how about you? Surely you have a favorite memory?”
“Of course. I’ve dearly loved all the Christmases we’ve spent with Joey and Wayne. But I must say my very favorite was that first one. Serena was so considerate of Joey and he was so very brave to go out into the night himself. Of course, it was rather exciting to play the Christmas angel, as well.” Monica blushed a bit.
“You did it very well, Miss Wings. Truly a heavenly vision.” Tess squeezed her shoulder affectionately. Monica smiled gratefully at her friend and then waited for the next story.
“I’m sure it was amazing. I think my favorite Christmas was the first one with Josh, my dog. He was so excited that morning, almost like he got what it was all about,” JenniAnn recalled. As if on cue a smallish black dog pranced out from the storage room where he’d been sleeping. He looked about and then stood still as a statue, staring Andrew down. “Umm…” JenniAnn stood up and scooped the dog up. “He, uh, doesn’t like guys. It’s not personal,” she blushed, sitting back down and settling Josh on her lap where he continued to eye the angel suspiciously.
Andrew had to laugh. It was rather ironic.
“Shh… Andrew’s very nice, Joshy. And very, very sensitive and… ahem. Ah, who’s next?” JenniAnn looked up and around nervously, feeling she may have gushed too much.
“I’ll go next. Mine’s actually a memory of Boxing Day,” Andrew volunteered. "It’s celebrated in several countries around the world though in different ways. But on this particular assignment on December 26th I was working in a homeless shelter. The people in this town marked the holiday by giving to those less fortunate. It was amazing to see all the food and clothes and toys pour in. But that wasn’t even the best part.” Andrew smiled wistfully and then grew quiet, seeing the scene in his mind. Everyone else stopped and just stared at him, waiting.
“Well, don’t leave us hanging! What happened?” Tess finally prodded.
“This woman came in to drop off some food. It wasn’t much, she’d only recently come to the area and had little to give. One of the men at the shelter helped her unload what she had. When he went to thank her, she saw his face… It was her own husband! They’d come from a war torn village and had been separated, each mistakenly told the other was dead. The look on their faces… They wept and held each other and thanked God. It was so wonderful.” Andrew recalled fondly.
“Andrew, that’s truly moving. A real miracle,” Monica spoke, as the rest marveled over the memory.
“That it was. I felt blessed to be there. So who’s next?” Andrew asked and then realized everyone in the small group had spoken. By then it was nearing midnight anyway. The mugs had been emptied, the last of the cookies boxed up and given out. Now it was time to part for the evening. The angels had assignments to attend to and the humans had families and friends to visit and last-minute holiday chores to complete. The group all hugged each other and wished for each other a blessed 2005, filled with love and friendship and all they held dear.
And so we at JABB hope you’re all enjoying the holiday season. May you spend all the time you desire with friends and family as Tess did. May you be a reminder of God’s love as Monica was. May you recognize the miracles in your life as Andrew did. And may you all return to us in 2005!
God’s blessing be upon you all!