Rhoda’s leaden feet trudged wearily thru the crowd of Christmas shoppers, as she headed for the bargain table to sift thru the pile of announced specials now at seventy percent off. At least that is what the loud speaker had just announced, as she thrust her hands amid the grasping clutches of women pulling out scarves and knitted hats of various colors. Rhoda’s hand grasped a cobalt blue and navy striped scarf with sparkling silver highlights. It would be the perfect gift for her granny to wear trudging out to her mailbox on those cold snowy mornings.
Hearing the cheerful laughter of children, sounds she could hardly bear, Rhoda was ready to go home to the silence of her loneliness. Hesitating in the glass enclosed entryway of the department store, she desperately tried to stuff her gifts in her backpack and two large sacks. She fumbled through her purse, her keys eluding her grasp as her feet made their way to her SUV at the far end of the parking lot.
As she walked, the clouds hung dark and brooding. She wasn’t looking forward to her first family get together without her husband Peter. She really hadn’t been in the mood to buy gifts but she felt compelled to put on a good front for the rest of her family. She didn’t want her brother and sister feeling sorry for her.
Rhoda’s heart dipped in her chest as she breathed out a shallow discouraged breath of fog billowing from her nostrils. Momentarily the thought floated through her mind there was a pungent sulphuric odor somewhere near her, but she discounted it to be her disheartened attitude, as she drug her heavy burden toward her destination.
Her mind raced back to last Christmas when they had gotten the news from the doctor of Peter’s cancer. He had seemed more full of joy that Christmas than she had ever known him to be, yet she couldn’t identify with it herself. She regretted not joining in his joy with him, because now that opportunity to laugh with him was gone forever.
Pulling open the back door of the SUV, Rhoda released her burden as the packages tumbled on the floor, she felt hot breath on her neck and something poking her ribs. “Lady, you are going to open the passenger door and slide across under the steering wheel!”
Rhoda gasped a sharp intake of cold brisk air into her lungs, which she could not seem to breathe out. She hesitated, trying desperately to think what to do. Was her life going to end now? Mebe it would be for the best. She could end the days and hours of loneliness.
Just then an old dirty blue ford pickup bumped into the back of her SUV. Her first thought was she really didn’t want this big car anyway. Her second thought was to realize her assailant had released his hold on her, making a dash forward through the milieu of parked vehicles fading into oblivion.
“Are you alright lady? I hope I didn’t do any damage to your car. Why did that man run?” all she could do was stand with her mouth dropped open to her knees. He was a twin for Peter. Maybe just a little more twinkle in those luminous green eyes, as he brushed away the stray blond hair blowing across his brow, putting his hand on her shoulder.
“Peter!” she softly whispered as she turned to rush into his arms, grasping at empty air. He was gone and so was the truck. She walked around the SUV and saw a dark blue mark on her light blue bumper.
It had happened after all, she reminded herself as she drove toward home. She needed to call the police and make a report. Perhaps she could save another life as hers had been saved. Was that why she had escaped? Was that why she was still living?
Another thought entered her mind, could God have sent an angel who looked like Peter to show her he was alive and wanted her to be alive this Christmas?
As she passed a church with a cross lighted on the stone wall, she was reminded of Jesus dying to give Peter life everlasting. Suddenly she knew what Peter would want her to do in his memory.
Rhoda knelt before the altar in the little country church and asked Jesus to be born in her heart. She felt the joy fill her soul, that she now knew Peter had tried to show her last Christmas. He had given her a gift from God and she hadn’t opened it until now. “Thank you, Father, for the gift of Your Son.”
Rhoda opened the door to her grandmother’s modest cottage Christmas day. As her arms wrapped around her sister she said, “Bless you sis. Isn’t Jesus wonderful?” Gloria’s bright amber eyes grew wide as Rhoda shared with the family how an angel had announced Jesus to her, as she handed out angel cookies.
As her family prepared to leave for their homes on Christmas day, it was their tradition to sing a song of praise for the gift of the Christ Child. Rhoda had dreaded this moment until yesterday. She lifted her voices with theirs, singing loudly not only for the joy in her heart, but for Peter too. She felt alone no more. She would make it the rest of this Christmas day, because of an angel who saved her life by announcing God’s love for her. She would celebrate the life given her, as Jesus was born anew in her heart, until that glorious day she would see her Lord face to face—and her Peter again.
Rhoda gathered up the remaining box of packages she had purchased that day and turned toward the door of the children’s home. She felt a breath of hot air on her neck and froze. Looking over her shoulder, shaking in the cold brisk snowy air, she realized it was just her imagination. Or was it? She imagined Peter walking beside her. She knew he was celebrating in heaven, and she knew she would never be alone.
Reaching for the door latch, she heard angelic children’s joyful voices, and remembered Peter’s last words, “My love, I’m going to the home Jesus has prepared for us. I’ll be looking forward to meeting you there. I know you will have lonely days, but I’ll be praying He will give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways, until we meet again in His glorious home.”
“Are they not ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”
Have you given your life to Jesus? If not, do it right now my friend. Let Jesus be born in your heart, just as He was born into our world 2000 years ago. His message is still the same. He comes to be born in you for the same reason today—to save you and walk with you through this life until you reach your final destination of that heavenly home prepared with His loving care for you. His angels will guard and keep you as you journey, walking in His Spirit, full of JOY, when you accept Jesus as Lord of your life.
JESUS—THE REASON THE ANGELS CAME PROCLAIMING “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a GREAT JOY which shall be for ALL people—GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!”
© 2004 Pamela Gray Karges