Fifteen Tarnished Christmas Bells

David took a deep breath. The musty smells of the old town hall made his nose itch. This place still reminded him of community gatherings, nativity plays or combined Easter services. An old plastic Christmas tree leaned against the wall; bent over and covered in cobwebs. He pushed aside the sagging stage curtain and touched one of the fifteen tarnished Christmas bells which hung in a neat row. He closed his eyes and tried to recall the familiar sounds. All he heard was the squeak of the front door.

Mrs Jessop, good to see you. Whats it been…?

Twelve months, she groaned. The old woman placed her scarf and handbag on a nearby table. Where is everyone? I want to be home early tonight.

Well, Teresa married in January and moved to the coast. Donald wont be here you knew his wife died from cancer a few weeks ago?

Yes, I read the funeral notice in the obituaries but I was too busy to go.

David was about to continue when a soprano rendition of Hark the Herald Angels Sing echoed in the empty hall. He turned toward the door and laughed as his star performer approached. The girls chubby face reflected enthusiasm which oozed from her.

Meredith, you look um… colourful… as usual. He stepped back and gazed at her peculiar outfit.

Mrs Jessop stood with her hands on her hips. Her head moved slowly from side to side. I hope were not dressing in florescent angel costumes this year to sing Angels in the Realms of Glory.

Meredith giggled. Its been a fabulous year David. I earned an art scholarship in London. Her eyes sparkled. I have always wanted to work in London. Perhaps this will be my big chance.

The side door swung open and a middle-aged woman entered as she spoke. David, I cant believe its that time of year again. She smiled and offered a hug. John wont be coming. Hes still away at army training.

Mrs Jessop frowned. Well, well. That was a bit inconsiderate of your son, Joan. He could have at least waited until after carolling season before he joined the Army. With another shake of her head she slumped heavily into a chair.

Almost simultaneously, two other choir members burst into the hall through the front and side entries. The commotion rose with reminiscing and laughter which now seem to brighten the dreary hall.

David glanced at his watch and whistled. Okay everyone, you know the routine. Well have three practices before we start carolling. Lets begin tonight with Merediths choice, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. He paused as the choir members took their places in a curved line, shuffling closer to fill gaps where others had once stood. David cleared his throat. Its sad to think that if we go on like this, within a few years our towns carolling group will no longer exist.

Smiles disappeared and expressions became solemn. Whispers betrayed their thoughts.

Joan, one of the older group members, broke the quiet chatter. Oh please, dont say that David.

He straightened and coughed. Well lets not spoil our practice. Maybe we can have a meeting some time and do some recruiting for next year.

Mrs Jessop made a throaty gruff noise. Oh, but we cant have strangers singing carols with us.

Why not? Merediths face flushed.

Well… because…

David tapped his baton on his music stand. Twelve years ago, we began with fifteen carollers. We all knew each other like family and regardless of which church we attended, we visited each other during the year. We shared each others joys and sorrows. He sighed heavily. When was the last time we commenced our annual carolling practice with a party or polished our bells?

Meredith sat on the floor and crossed her legs; her head in her hands. The line dispersed. Joans husband Rolf, brought a chair over so Joan could sit.

So, its come to this? Mrs Jessop sighed.

The hall grew silent. The only sound was the occasional creaking of the rafters and the wood-rotted door rattling with the slightest breeze.

I still want to sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Meredith whispered.

David tapped his baton again. OK, lets sing our best this year. Well polish our bells and let the whole town know that we want carolling to continue. Lets announce the birth of Jesus like we haven’t done before.

A gentle white snow began to fall outside and the words Hark the Herald Angels Sing echoed in the old town hall and throughout their little town.

穢 Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Shine – Like the Christmas Star

Matthew 5:16 says: In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christmas is approaching fast and stores are filled with decorations and gifts for all ages. Christmas trees, real and fake, dazzle us with lights and baubles. Lets face it; it gives us all a feeling of excitement that Christmas is just around the corner.

Celebrations of the birth of Christ may vary from family to family, from church to church and from tradition to tradition. In reality it doesnt matter how we celebrate as long as the true message of Christmas is our main focus.

As a child, my favourite Christmas decoration was the Christmas Star. We placed the star on the top of our tree year after year. One Christmas, we visited cousins who used a fairy. A star was nowhere to be seen. As a nine-year-old at that time I could not comprehend how a fairy could replace the precious tree-topper. Later in life when I had my own family the idea of a fairy tree-topper never entered my mind. Our own children were brought up knowing the true meaning of Christmas: The birth of Jesus. The brightness of that Christmas star reflected the announcement of royalty birth, Jesusthe light of the world and guided the shepherds and the wise men to Jesus.

In the same way, our hearts need to reflect the love of Jesus who resides in us. Our lives need to reveal the light that burns just like the Christmas Star. We can let our light so shine before menand our families who dont always see eye-to-eye of what Christmas is about. Live as Jesus would live. Speak as Jesus would speak; with love in our hearts that shine like the Christmas Star that can lead others to Jesus.

Lets show love and grace to those who see things differently to us this Christmas. Let your light shine so we glorify your Father, which is in heaven.

Father, let our light shine from within that we may lead others to Jesus and let the true message of Christmas be seen by your love within us. Amen

穢 Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the New International version of the Bible.

Mary

Luke 1:26-28 says And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgins name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

The New Testament begins its account of Marys life with the visit of Gabriel the angel who was sent by God as His messenger. The Lord God himself selected Mary to be the mother of Jesus. The Bible records Marys role in key events of the life of Jesus from his virgin birth to his crucifixion.

Christians acknowledge Mary as blessed among women (Luke 1:42) but we do not all agree that Mary is to be venerated. She is considered to be an outstanding example of a life dedicated to God.

Luke 1:38 says And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Mary used the word handmaid which is usually translated as bond-servant or slave, which refers to someone whose will is consumed by the will of anotherin this case Marys will is consumed by Gods. From this I see her attitude being parallel with what John the Baptist said in John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease (KJV) or, Hemust become greater; I must becomeless. (NIV).

Whichever argument you choose, or doctrine you follow, Mary had to have been one special lady for God to choose her to be the mother of Jesus. She was a handmaiden of the Lord.

This Christmas let us remember that we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth as a human child. It was Jesus who died for our sake and put our sins upon himself. He is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.

He was born of Marya servant of the Lord.

穢 Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the King James version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.

Beyond the Veil

Nothing appeared real. I embraced the moment and took in the scene before me. Was this the beginning, or the end? It didnt seem to matter. I felt at peace.

I was surrounded in a mysterious whiteness. There was a curious sensation of weightlessness like drifting on a summer cloud. I heard singing. I heard music, and beyond the sheer white veil before me, hands stretched out to me.

Come, a voice called.

I reached out and separated the white from white. Who are you? I whispered.

Come, the voice called again. It was a gentle voice, yet powerful and alluring.

I drifted through the mist and looked around. The image lingered. Lord?

Again, I heard His voice. Come. This time the image approached; hands still outstretched. Our fingers touched.

Come, my child. I love you, and I have plans for you.

Lord, show me your will for me. Im lost without you. Im lost in my confusion. Show me what I need to do. Tell me how to cope. I need you Lord.

Take my hand and trust me. Your heart is troubled my child. Why do you doubt? Your confusion will melt away; just like this vision. Only trust and obey. Go back. I have made you for a purpose, and this has not yet been fulfilled.

In an instant the white veil appeared before me again. We had turned full circle. The white on white image of my Lord blended slowly into the mist. I will trust you, I whispered into the air. The veil parted. I stepped out and drifted away.

My eyes were heavy and the sound of muffled voices invaded the peace. Something forced my left eye open and a bright light flashed.

Sally. Sally. Can you hear me? The voice became clearer. Im Doctor Sherman. Can you squeeze my hand?

I squeezed his hand.

Good girl. You scared us there for a while, the doctor responded.

Where am I? What happened?

I squinted at the torchlight in my right eye.

A nurse checked my pulse. Youre in hospital. Its been a long night. We thought we had lost you. Where have you been?

Where have I been indeed, I thought. But instead I asked, How did I get here?

Doctor Sherman sat on the side of the bed. You collapsed in your garden. Your daughter found you. She wasnt sure how long you had been unconscious. She called 000, and here you are. It was a minor heart attack but tests have shown little damage. We dont believe it was serious. Well run some more tests today and get a Cardiologist to visit you when we have the final results. You should be right to go home tomorrow if everything is okay.

I stared at the doctor and then at the nurse. I wasnt even sure how long I was staring. Can I see my daughter, please? I finally asked.

A few moments later Sheena, my precious only daughter, stood beside the bed holding my hand. You scared me half to death Mum.

Im sorry and Im sorry too that I havent been the kind of mother I should be. I色

Its not you that needs to apologize. You were right. John is bad news. Our relationship was wrong. Can I please come home? I need you to help me get back on track. Sheena lowered her head and sobbed.

Sheena, I love you and always will. I think we have some work to do on our relationship, and I have a feeling we wont be doing it on our own.

Sheena looked into my eyes. Tears ran down her face and tilted her head. Who?

Tears stung my eyes. Lets talk about it when we get home. In the meantime, I need some sleep. Please stay. Id like to have you here after my tests. Holding Sheenas hand in mine, I closed my eyes to seek a glimpse of white on white beyond the veil. Thank you Lord.

穢 Chrissy Siggee 2019

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Christian Reads by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

Poems from the Heart of Our Mum – the book

Poems from the Heart of Our Mum

41u5swAc7GL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

The author Ruth Barrington (nee Lawson) had written poems most of her life but she had never had the opportunity to published them. Chrissy introduced her mothers poems by publishing six of her mothers favourites inGlimpses of His Glory. After her mothers death in 2011, Chrissys father expressed his desire to have more of Ruths poems published. Chrissycommitted herself to the task of publishing her mothers writing for her father and the rest of the family. Chrissy and her three siblings also contributed a poem or brief article dedicated to their mother.

Please note, except for Emmaus Way, only minor editing has occurred to Ruth’s Poems. These are her thoughts, her words – from her heart. Making huge changes would make these poems the editor’s poems and for this reason, Ruth’s work has not been altered.

Order Now: Poems from the Heart of Our Mum