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A Christmas Wish (for the holiday tag game)

14 Dec

My good friend, Ron Berry tagged me for the holiday tag game. The rule was, I had to write a Christmas story..so here goes:

A Christmas Wish

Logan pulled the covers up tight beneath Josh’s chin. At just six years old, Josh had a firm grip on Logan’s heart. His bright blue eyes sparkled like the Northern star. Josh was no doubt proof that God was big on second chances.

“Just three more nights, huh Dad?” Josh pointed to the calendar with the big green circle around the twenty-five.
“Yeah, just three. Now get some sleep. We’re going to see Santa tomorrow and ride the train.”   Josh piped in, “And wear our pajamas… and drink hot chocolate?” His smile stretched from ear to ear at the mere thought of it.  Logan nodded and kissed the tip of Josh’s nose. “Good night, son.”

He took one last look before turning out the light.

The smell of the fresh cut tree lingered from room to room. It was a far cry better than the first Charlie Brown tree he brought home twelve years ago.  Their first year together. Just him and her.  Just the thought of it brought about a silent yet forgotten chuckle. One he’d tucked away several years ago. Logan allowed himself a moment to drift back to those days long ago. Long before Josh came to be. Long before he was ever a discussion.  As much joy as Josh brought into their lives, Logan’s heart ached for those quiet nights alone with Sarah under the white light and candy cane covered tree.  He tucked away his hidden loneliness and headed for bed.

I wish I could tell her how much I miss those days… how much I miss the way it was when we were young and free. God, it’s been so long since we… Logan scolded himself for even thinking it after all they’d been through as he unplugged the tree.  He crawled in on his side of the bed and like clock-work he rolled over to face the wall and pretended to fall asleep long before he actually did.

The morning came and Josh couldn’t wait to give Santa his list. He’d kept it a big secret, even from his dad..his best friend in the whole wide world. It was the first secret he’d ever had and today he was going to tell Santa just what he wanted for Christmas.  He could hardly sit still the whole ride to the train. They chit-chatted about the upcoming church play, about the snow they hadn’t seen in forever, and how they still had a gingerbread house to bake. Nothing of the list. Not a word. 

It was their tradition. Just the two of them. One Logan was thankful he’d started when Josh was just barely old enough to unwrap a gift. Now, with Josh well over six years old, it was the one tradition that gave him a much needed excuse to get out of the cold house that use to be a home.

“Got your list ready?” 

Josh held his folded up piece of paper high in the air with a smug grin. Santa would know what to do. He would make all Josh’s dreams come true. He was eighth in line to sit on Santa’s lap. He knew ’cause he counted with both his hands and still had two fingers left over. That made eight.  Logan waited off to the side with his camera ready as Josh crawled up in Santa’s lap and leaned over to whisper in his hear. After several seconds, Santa shot an empathetic look towards Logan just as the flash rendered him blind for blink or two.

Oh, no..what’s he telling that man? God, please don’t let him be…

Josh hopped down after handing Santa the folded up note. Santa gave a quick nod and patted Josh on his head before taking the next kid on his over-sized lap that jiggled like a bowl full of jelly.

The next few days passed with very little Christmas talk from anyone other than Josh. An occasional group of holiday well-wishers would make their way through the neighborhood offering yuletide carols and waving through the large picture window of the living room. A card or two came through the mail but Josh was the only one interested in who was sending them. He lined them up on the mantel where their three stockings were hung by the chimney with care. 

The twenty-fourth had come and it was time for Josh to be nestled in his bed with visions of sugar plums dancing about in his excited little blond head.  “Daddy, don’t forget to leave some milk and cookies for Santa.” Logan swallowed hard to force down the lump in the back of his throat. It was the only time of year he ever dared to cry and he didn’t dare let anyone see him. His six-foot three inch stature didn’t mesh well with soaking wet cheeks. He gave a quick nod as he pulled the door just closed enough to leave a tiny stream of light running across Josh’s power ranger covered floor.  He poured a cup of milk, took a few gulps and took several bites out of the day old chocolate chip cookies…Santa’s favorite.

“Good night, Sarah. Merry Christmas,” he whispered. Silence answered back as he once again turned to face the wall.  What felt like an eternity later, the clock finally struck midnight and Logan drifted off into a loveless sleep. Moments later, Josh came barrelling through their bedroom like a bolt of lightening.

“Santa came!  Santa came!”  He ran into the living room  and stopped in amazement at the enormous amount of presents surrounding the tree.  “He ate some of the cookies. Look” Logan took his normal seat beneath the tree to hand out the presents one at a time. More power rangers, a remote control spy vision car, heelies, and playstation games flooded the room.  Just one present left. Josh opened it to find the three foot spider man he’d admired in the toy store window. Still, his smile wasn’t near as big as Logan had envisioned. Josh’s bottom lip trembled for a moment when his eyes caught a glimpse of one more gift.

“That has to be it! That’s the one I asked Santa for.”  Josh dove for the present to find his dad’s name on it. “This is it. Open it Daddy. I know this is it.” A confused Logan carefully unwrapped the box to find a framed photo of Sarah and himself  on their very first Christmas. Tucked neatly inside was a folded letter in a white envelope with his name on it.  He looked up with tears in his eyes before opening the letter.

“My dearest Logan,

I know how hard this is for you. I know this is not ever what you had planned for us so many years ago. It wasn’t exactly what I had planned either. Sometimes life doesn’t ask us what we want.

I want you to know how much I love you, even when you don’t feel it. Even when you turn to face the wall and feel all alone, my heart aches for you …and I love you with all that I am. I’m sorry for not saying it more. I’m sorry for missing every opportunity to touch your hand in public. For letting the moments slide when I could have complimented you on a job well done or for remembering every birthday and anniversary. I’m sorry you feel so empty now. I hope someday you’ll forgive me.

I need you to do me a favor. It’s time for you to live again. It’s time that Josh hears your laughter and enjoys wrestling with you again. It’s time for happiness to fill our home once again the way it did so many years ago.  We can’t change the path our lives have taken but we can move forward and change the future. 

I’m asking for your forgiveness. I know you’re still angry. I know you’re hurt. I need you to understand that I did what I had to do. It’s who I am. It’s why you loved me in the first place.  I love you more than you will ever know but it’s time to move on. Please.  Today’s a new day and a new chance to love , laugh and live more than you ever have. Take that chance and run. Josh deserves that much. So do you. 

I will always be here. I will always love you.  Please let go of the past and step forward in the freedom of a brand new life. After all, that’s the very freedom I gave my life for. Don’t waste it.

With all my love,

Sarah”

Logan held the letter close to his broken heart as Josh dove into his lap. “See Daddy, I knew Santa would tell mommy you needed her. I asked Jesus too so I knew she’d send you a Christmas present.” Logan rocked Josh in his arms for several seconds before  he stood up to place the picture by the framed triangular flag on their mantel.

“Daddy! It snowed. Look, it snowed.  Mommy sent some snow from heaven. Can we go make snow angels?”

Logan let out the first belly laugh he’d had in two years as he grabbed their coats and gloves from the hall closet and headed outside to play.

(In honor for all those that put their lives on the line every single day so we can live to see another Christmas of freedom. Thank you. )

*****************************************************

I’ll be posting the next victims of the holiday tag game in just a day or so. Be prepared. It could be you.

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22 Comments

Posted by on December 14, 2008 in encouragement

 

Tags: , , , , ,

22 responses to “A Christmas Wish (for the holiday tag game)

  1. Ginger

    December 14, 2008 at 6:56 am

    Thank you, Ron, for tagging Kat so she’d write this touching story. It brought tears to my eyes, but made me remember that laughter is what helps us heal and makes us strong.

    Happy Holidays.

    ginger

     
  2. Katrina Wampler

    December 14, 2008 at 6:58 am

    I am glad you enjoyed this story. Not sure how it came to be. Just sat down tonight determined to get this story written and this is what came of it.

    You’re right, laughter is the best medicine. I’m sure there are many that will need it this holiday season. Makes me so thankful I have all my family around me.

    Happy Holidays to you as well.

     
  3. Joyce A. Anthony

    December 14, 2008 at 7:10 am

    Wow!! ((Hugs, love, blessings…)) This has to be the most beautiful story I have read in ages. Kat–I don’t don’t what to say other than–I love you, Sweetie!!

     
  4. Katrina Wampler

    December 14, 2008 at 7:11 am

    aaaahhhhh, thank you. You know I love you, too. Thanks for taking the time to read it.

     
  5. unwriter1

    December 14, 2008 at 10:49 am

    I knew what I was doing when I tagged you. You write a beautiful piece. Is this a true story? This was magnificent! The angels were on your shoulders as you penned this. it is heartwarming and sad at the same time. I’d nominate this for story of the year.

    Thank you for writing this.

     
  6. Marvin D Wilson

    December 14, 2008 at 11:49 am

    A real tear jerker, Kat, and VERY well written. This is an example of why I am so excited about working with you as your editor. This story has everything. Intrigue, suspense, tension and release, all the emotions – well done!

     
  7. Katrina Wampler

    December 14, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    No Ron, this is not a true story. Well at least not for me. I am sure it is true for many this holiday season. I’m not really sure where it came from. I was just determined to get it done before another day slipped by so I sat here until A Christmas Wish was born.

    I am so glad you all enjoyed it.

    Thank you Marv for the great compliment! I’ve learned from the best. 🙂

     
  8. JoJo

    December 14, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Oh you made me cry! You should write for Chicken Soup for the Soul! This is beautiful!!

     
  9. Heather Mihok

    December 14, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Oh gosh, I need some tissues. Here come the waterworks. A beautiful piece!

     
  10. EATHAN

    December 14, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    OMG!!! I CANT STOP CRYING- My Katrina, thats why I love you so. You have such a passion for writing and your amazing insite for what people feel and need, reminds me how incredably special and talanted you are. You stories come from deep in your heart and I know that first hand. I am so blessed to call you my wife!!

     
  11. Katrina Wampler

    December 14, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    aaaaahhhhhh, now I’m crying! Thank you so much. To those of you that don’t know, Eathan is my dh that lives in PA…I live in NC. We are a good 8 hrs apart and see each other just a couple times a year. He reads what I write but doesn’t always leave a comment so it’s such a blessing to have his thoughts on this piece.

     
  12. Lesa Witherington

    December 14, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Lots of things get me teary eyed and choked up, but this one had tears rolling down my cheeks! Such a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing! I think I”m going to spread it around for you.

     
  13. Katrina Wampler

    December 14, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Thank you Lesa for your kind words. I’d appreciate you telling anyone you can to come check it out and give their opinion.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

     
  14. Penny Ehrenkranz

    December 14, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Nicely written with an unexpected ending. Thank you for sharing.

     
  15. PJ

    December 14, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Oh Toots! What a wonderful story! And to think it was just written “off the cuff”! This is total confirmation that God has blessed you with such a wonderful gift, and that your writing comes straight from His love for you.

    I agree with Ron that this should be nominated for best story of the year, and with JoJo, that you should look into writing for Chicken Soup! This is exactly what they need!

    Oh how very blessed I am to call you my friend. I can’t wait for the next story!

    Love you Toots!
    PJ

     
  16. Hollee Chadwick

    December 14, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Marvelous! Well done.

     
  17. Ginger

    December 14, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    When I read Kat’s story, I was struck by some similarity in it and the one I wrote for Christmas. I’m sharing it on my blog tomorrow and I hope you’ll stop by and comment. I can only hope that it measures in some respect to the depth and compassion in Kat’s story.

    Ginger

     
  18. Katrina Wampler

    December 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I will definitely be there. What’s the link?

     
  19. Michelle Rothwell

    December 14, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Awesome! This one took me a while to recover from as it’s always hard to realize loved ones are gone. Those that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ have a place in heaven so they are not gone for long. But for those military people who sacrifice themselves for their loved ones and the rest of us, those are the true heroes.

    For those serving in other countries for us this Christmas, thank you so much. May the Lord’s protection be around you and your loved ones this Christmas season.

    Thanks, Katrina for reminding us to NEVER FORGET!

    Blessings to you girlfriend,
    Michelle Rothwell, Founder
    Dora & Diego Homeschool Spanish
    http://www.DoraHomeSchoolSpanish.com

     
  20. Deb Hockenberry

    December 14, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    This was a beautiful and touching story. It makes you think of our deceased heroes during this Christmas season.
    Deb 🙂

     
  21. joylene

    December 14, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Your timing is perfect, Kat. Our son is serving in Afghanistan and he lost 3 comrades yesterday. Needless to say, every time someone like you reminds us to be grateful for their sacrifice, those thoughts go out into the world and give comfort. Merry Christmas and God Bless.

     
  22. HREO

    December 15, 2008 at 11:56 am

    thx for u good post
    http://www.4roz.com
    فور روز

     

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