a_nativity_christmas_front_coverA Nativity Christmas

Tawney Anderson

It was Christmas Eve.  Jenny was humming to herself as she sat on the living room floor, gazing at the wooden nativity cradled in a plastic box.  She was 8 years old, athletically built and very bright.  The light from the sun reflected upon her golden hair, almost giving a halo effect.  I miss the farm so much, Jenny thought.  As she put the nativity on the fireplace mantle, she began to sing the words of Silent Night.  First out of the box was Joseph, then Mary. Jenny remembered how her father carefully carved them in his garage shop, closely examining each detail.  “I don’t like it here, God.  Please move us back,” she whispered. Jenny continued to bring out the nativity characters until they were all in place.  Then she smiled as she lifted the last piece from the box.  Her dad had just finished carving the donkey two nights ago.

“Mommy, I’m finished!” Jenny yelled.  Jenny’s mom, Sharon, entered the living room.  She was a rather tall woman with brown hair and a warm smile. 

“Oh, my!” she declared.  “I think it gets lovelier every year.”

“See the General?” Jenny asked as she pointed at the donkey.  They hugged.  In the distance they heard the baby begin to wake.

“He’s on time again.  I could set my watch to your brother’s tummy!” Sharon said.  “Your snack’s in the kitchen, Jenny.  Finish packing while I get Joshua ready.”

“Ok, mom,” Jenny said. Jenny could hear her mom’s footsteps on the polished wooden floors and her words of delight as she greeted Joshua.  Soon we’ll be at grandpa’s and grandma’s farm and have another wonderful Christmas.  She couldn’t wait to see all the animals again… especially the General, grandpa’s old donkey.  A shadow crossed Jenny’s forehead.  If we just hadn’t moved into town in the first place, Jenny thought, I wouldn’t have to be so far away from my animal friends!  Jenny carried to her room the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and her glass of milk.

Jenny’s room was not a typical little girl’s room.  Yes, she had bright colors everywhere but practically no dolls.  Jenny was not a fan of dolls.  By the time she was three years old, her parents finally figured that out and started giving her horses…much to her delight.  Everywhere there were pictures of horses as well as horse figurines.   Sitting on the headboard, were a stuffed grey donkey, a black and white cow, a white goat, a brown dog, a golden cat, a red rooster and a red robin.  These were her favorites.  Over the years, she had carefully collected them because they represented her friends at the farm.  Jenny was humming while she chewed. She could hear the phone ring and her mother answering it.  Suddenly the sun dimmed in her room and her window gave a little shake.  Jenny’s countenance fell.  She put her plate and glass down and rushed to the window.  She had heard the news the night before.  A fierce winter storm was forecasted.  In her prayers she had asked God not to let the storm hit until after they had arrived at the farm. 

“Please, God,” she had pled.  “Don’t let it come until after we’ve arrived.” Jenny pushed her nose against her window.

Outside dark clouds were gathering in the distance, blocking some of the sunlight that had shown brilliantly on the small patches of snow.  The stiff wind blew their American flag straight from the North.

“God, you just HAVE to stop the storm!” Jenny cried.  She knew what this meant.  If the storm hit before they could leave, her parents would not risk the journey.  And it was Christmas Eve!  Jenny threw herself on her bed. 

“Oh, if daddy hadn’t made us move into town three years ago!” she said.  She hated being away from her grandparents and the animals.  And she hated that she couldn’t talk about it.  Her mom would shush her or her dad would scowl and leave the room.  It wasn’t fair!  Jenny sat up.  She was determined this holiday would be different.  She was going to tell them both in front of grandpa and grandma that she was moving back to the farm – permanently!

“I’ve got to finish packing,” she said.  With a new determination, Jenny ran to her bookcase and quickly scanned the titles.  “Aha, there you are!” she exclaimed as she laid it next to the suitcase.  ‘A Christmas Nativity’ had a worn cover but the print and the pictures were still clear.  Jenny ran out of her bedroom, down the wooden floors and into the kitchen. 

“Mom, when’s Daddy coming home?  The storm will be here soon and we just HAVE to get to Grandpa’s and Grandma’s tonight!” Jenny begged breathlessly.

“Daddy’s moving as fast as he can, honey,” Sharon said. “He just called and is leaving work early.  Our job is to be ready when he gets here.  Good thing I had Grandpa Bob take all the presents to the farm yesterday.  Now you can be a big help by finishing packing and putting your suitcase by the door.  Don’t forget your parka, hat and gloves…but wear your boots.”

Jenny ran back into her room and threw herself onto the suitcase, forcing it to close.  Running into her closet, she emerged with coat, hat, boots, scarf, mittens…all piled into her arms.  She threw them into her suitcase.  Tossing her slippers off her feet, she put on her boots and pulled the scarf over her neck.  Thinking twice about her slippers, she opened her suitcase and threw them in as well.  She saw Prancer sticking out from her covers and grabbed one of his legs. 

“Oh, Prancer, I almost forgot you!  We’ve got work to do tonight.  Where’s your saddle?”  Jenny rummaged around the bed then looked under it. 

“Aha…that’s right.  You were a famous race horse last night and we left your saddle in the barn.”  She quickly put the saddle back on her toy horse.  It was a rich brown color and contrasted nicely to the palomino’s shade.  Jenny heard a noise outside as she zipped up her suitcase.  Running to the window, she recognized the truck.   Grabbing everything, dropping some things, picking them back up again, Jenny made her way to the front door in time for her father, Mike, to open it.  Mike was a kind looking man in his mid-thirties with blonde hair.  Just then a large cloud covered the remaining sun, lowering the light in the house by half.  At the same time, Sharon entered the living room, carrying Joshua.  The darkness had a sudden impact on them.  Mike looked outside and searched the skies. It was so quiet in the house that Jenny could hear the wall clock ticking.

“I don’t like the look of it, Sharon,” he said.  “I think we should wait and go tomorrow.”

“We can’t, daddy!”  Jenny cried.  “The General is waiting for me!”

“I know, honey, but in a little while, it won’t be safe to drive,” Mike reasoned.  Jenny was so upset, she accidentally dropped Prancer and his saddle fell off.  This made her anger snap, like a rubber band wound too tightly.  She picked up the toy horse and saddle and faced her father.

“It’s all your fault!  We wouldn’t have to worry about storms and tires and things if we had never moved!  Just because you wanted to leave, didn’t mean me and mom wanted to go, too!  I hate it here!” Jenny yelled.  She ran to her room.  She could hear her mother calling her, accompanied by Joshua’s cries but she didn’t care.  She knew she was in big trouble but there, she said it.  She curled up on her bed as big tears spilled onto her cheeks. In the living room, Mike hung his head and sat down on the couch.

“Mike,” Sharon said reassuringly, “she doesn’t mean it.  She’s just upset because of the storm.”  Joshua fussed in her arms.  Mike leaned back on the couch and looked at her.

“Do you like it here?” he asked.  Sharon busied herself with Joshua a moment.

“It’s…it’s fine,” she whispered.

“The truth,” Mike answered as he patted the cushion next to him.  Sharon sat down and put Joshua on her lap.

“Sometimes, Mike,” she answered.  “But I’m a country girl and so is Jenny.  She misses her grandparents and the farm very much…and frankly, so do I.”  Mike slowly nodded and looked around the living room.  His gaze landed on the nativity set.  After a moment he got up and went to the fireplace mantle.  He picked up the baby Jesus and stared at it. He turned to face Sharon, the love for her so apparent on his face.

“I know I was selfish to make us move to town.  I guess I thought everyone would eventually adjust,” he said. “Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the farm, now would it? What are we waiting for?” he asked with a smile.  She picked up Joshua and walked into his arms.  He motioned down the hallway.

“Wish me luck?” he asked.

“You’re on your own!” she laughed.  Mike walked down the hallway and tapped on Jenny’s open door.  She turned to face him.  The marks of her tears wounded his heart.  Mike sat next to her on the bed.  He gave her the baby Jesus.

          “He’s always with us, Jenny, and today is no different.  Let’s go.”  Jenny jumped up and hugged her father.

Did you enjoy the first chapter of author Tawney Anderson’s new book: A Nativity Christmas?

DON’T stop now! Get it today on AMAZON by clicking HERE!