The Carriage Driver³ – Christmas Passage
The church was near empty at her memorial. Snow piled high at the door. A thick frost framed the glass windows. A white dove flew about, ready for the opening of doors to continue the journey. The weathered hands, of the preacher's wife, tapped on the organ keys to announce the flight of the soul of her friend. Candles flickered in anticipation.
People began to gather at the door; it was Christmas Eve, and they were there for their hope and peace, and good cheer. Snow fell in a light flurry. Long cloaks and warm clothing keep their bodies warm.
At the end of the service, the preacher walked slowly to the double doors and opened them wide. The light from the many candles and lanterns burst through the door. The white dove seeing her chance spread her wings wide and made her way in flight.
The gasps of the congregation were of joy, in the presence of a soul as she made her way into the night. They filed into the church. Each said a blessing as they were now made more aware that they had one more blessing to count. The mothers held a little tighter onto the hands of their children. The fathers gripped the shoulders of their wives with deeper understanding.
The weathered hands of the preacher’s wife played music that went straight to the heart of the congregation. The pastor closed the door as the last person entered. He began to walk up the aisle when he heard a tapping at the door. When he returned and opened the door, a small child was there. The child took a seat.
The white dove followed her instinct toward where Griffin and Nuelle were.
The preacher walked to the pedestal and opened his book. He seldom had to look at the words on the pages any longer. He thought his congregation would think less of him if he revealed he knew the stories. The message was part of him.
The white dove found Griffin in the barn with Nuelle. A fire was on the hearth where the Blacksmithing was done. The area was much warmer than the crisp air of her flight. She landed near the edge of the blanket that was draped over Nuelle to keep the chill off.
Griffin put down his cup of hot apple cider. “Hello, little one. Do you know what night it is? It’s Christmas Eve. Not many wish to join me for a ride on Christmas Eve.”
She hopped along Nuelle’s mane. Griffin returned to his cider. “You let me know when you are ready.” His thick jacket kept him warm on this night of nights.
In the quiet a chorus of voices reached him. The barn seemed to take on a glow, and the dove made herself quite at home as the music reached her.
Out of curiosity Griffin stood and retrieved his book. After peeking inside, he said, “I see there are two of you traveling tonight.” You will find we are in no hurry here. Those that arrive earned more than they ever thought possible.”
After several choruses, quiet again settled over the barn. Griffin rose and reached into his pocket. He cut an apple into four pieces. He fed two to Nuelle and offered a tiny piece to the dove who had made a special evening for the two in the barn. Griffin checked the blanket and saw to Nuelle’s every comfort.
He led them out into the snow and let the little dove guide Nuelle. They reached the church as the parishioners began to walk cautiously down the front steps. The organ music again began to accompany their movement.
The families got into their buggies and carriages in twos and threes. The jingle of their carriage bells, added to the air filled with music, on this Christmas Eve celebration.
The preacher walked back inside. As he walked back up the aisle, he noticed the lad that had arrived late for service. He was kneeling, and his head was bowed. The preacher reached over and put his hand on his shoulder. At that moment, a dove flew upward into the rafters of his little church.
The preacher lifted the child and placed his body on the well-polished church pew.
The preacher's wife came to see what had caused the delay. She wept for herself and her husband and the child. She made her way back to the organ where she played a song of freedom and the wonder of a child. The notes of the song filled the church and then escaped into the night. The notes carried to all those in their buggies and their carriages returning to their home. The people turned to look over their shoulders.
The snow fell about in small flurries. The dove perched in the church rafters spread his wings and glided through the door and landed on Nuelle’s shoulder next to the first dove. The two brushed wings and chirped.
Nuelle, given her rein, walked slowly off into the woods. The lanterns on each side of the Griffin’s seat provided light. Bells on the carriage for the occasion announced their presence in the woods. The two doves bounced about and chirped.
Deer looked up from their foraging as their carriage passed. The horizon ahead appeared warm and light. Nuelle traveled in the direction of peace on earth and good will toward men. The bell in the steeple rang.
The first dove flew down to the snow-covered ground near the step. Griffin stopped. The white dove turned into a young woman. Her cloak went to her ankles; the cloak’s hood pulled onto her head, provided warmth. Her cheeks were pink, highlighting her beauty. There was such an assurance in her stature.
The second dove flew to her arms. He took the form of the small boy again. He nestled in his mother’s arms safe for eternity.
Griffin witnessed the scene. This night he sensed more majesty than he was accustomed. The Lord seemed to arrange this Christmas passage. Griffin looked over Nuelle, then the carriage. Everything seemed in good order. He gave his coat a quick brush.
He climbed down and held out his hand to help the two into the carriage. He reached beneath the seat and retrieved the blanket. He spread the blanket over the young woman’s legs and tucked it around her child.
When he was sure, they were comfortable he climbed back to his seat. He looked over his shoulder, and asked, Where do you want to go?”
“We want to go to Bethlehem to be among the first to greet our King. Take us home.”
Wishing each and every one of you who stop by, a holiday filled with the presence of love and joy. Merry Christmas