December has rolled
around again and with it all the lovely traditions of Christmas. We
all have our special rituals. For some it's special foods, for others
it's a vacation in the son, another may treasure family time with laughter
and talk and board games. For many of us, it's a Christmas Eve service
at church, with carols and candles reminding us once again of the miracle
of that first Christmas in Bethlehem, when the Light of the World shone in
the darkness of a lowly stable.
Whatever your tradition, I hope you
get plenty of it this December and that it brings you joy and peace
A modern tradition
I've instituted on this webpage, is a Christmas short story for my readers.
Last year I brought out a collection called "The Man Who Loved Christmas."
You can download it here,
for free. This year's story is called "The Man Who Hated Christmas."
Here's an excerpt.
Man Who Hated Christmas
away!" Arthur Groves shouted through his front window. A whole
slew of chattering neighbours had gathered on his front porch. He knew
what they wanted, they'd been hounding him for days, but he was having none
of it. Christmas lights! Humbug!
a young voice cried out. "We'll do all the work."
"No. Get off
my property or I'll call the police." He hid behind the heavy curtains,
"Of all the miserable
old . . ." a man's voice grumbled before a woman interrupted. annie,
his next door neighbour. He recognized her soft tones. He could
always distinguish her voice from the others. She never ranted or shouted,
but something about her quiet ways commanded his attention.
"Hush, Joe," Annie
said now. "Mr. Groves is very lonely. Let's not make Christmas
worse for him than it is. I feel so sorry for him, shut away in that
Arthur winced. He
didn't need anyone feeling sorry for him, least of all Annie McLennan. The
dratted woman kept inviting him for coffee. When he refused, as he
always did, she left plates of cookies or a cake on his doorstep. He'd
worn a path through the snow carrying them back, uneaten, to her doorstep.
"But what about
the lights contest?" complained another of his interfering neighbours. "How
can we win 'best lighted block' if old grouch there won't even let us put
up one puny string of lights on his front door?"
voice took up the grievance. "Just because he'd rather hide in the
dark than join the neighbourhood, why should the rest of us suffer?"
"It's not fair!"
Fair, thought Arthur,
what do you know of fair? I'll tell you what's not fair. It's
not fair that my son, -- my fine, generous, beautiful Jack, is dead. He
grabbed at his hair, pushing away the pain of loss with a small physical
hurt. He huddled beneath his window, where no one could see the anguish
that consumed him.
"Let's leave it for now."
He heard Annie McLennan invite the whole group to her house for hot
chocolate and cookies. The woman seemed to think cookies could cure
His lip curled.
Let them eat their cookies. So long as they left alone, he didn't
care. He snuck another peek through the curtains, just to be sure.
When the last of them vanished through Annie's front door, he let the
curtain drop into place and went back to his worn easy chair. The chair
where he'd sat with baby Jack on his knee. The chair where he'd checked
over the boy Jack's homework and where he'd listened to his teen aged son
dream of a better world. Where Arthur had sat with his back turned
when Jack, in his uniform, marched off to war.
To read the rest of the story,
sign up for my newsletter, here, and I'll send
it to you.