Three Days Before Christmas
Bounding down the stair steps in high spirits Monday morning, Timothy greets his Grammy and enjoys the delicious breakfast she has prepared for them both. Timothy's favorite this morning, hotcakes and link sausage, topped with melted butter and honey. "Umm," and a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. How could anyone ask for anything better this morning, was Timothy's thought, just three days of school before the Christmas break.
"Good morning Timothy, and Merry Christmas!" Grammy said, eyeing his sweatshirt, after giving her grandson a grand hug, his sweater also expressing the Reason for the season.
"Merry Christmas, to you too, Grammy," responded Timothy. "I just gotta let my class know what this season is all about," he said, pointing to his sweatshirt.
"Good for you, my boy," Grammy encouraged.
Having finished with breakfast, he then all bundled up to confront the frigid air outside, Grammy sends him out the door to catch the arriving school bus.
An Unpleasant Joy At School
Arriving at school, Timothy enters his classroom, still wearing his "Merry Christmas" sweatshirt expressing his joy for being, yet to the dismay of his teacher. By their smiles, however, some of his classmates appreciated seeing his delight in the season expressed so outward.
"This violates school policy, you know that, don't you, Timothy?" the teacher stated. "Therefore, I must ask you to remove that sweatshirt."
"Yes, Ma'am," Timothy responded, "but I'm sorry, I just can't take it off, just yet, without you first giving me a chance to explain, please, what Merry Christmas is all about."
"I know what ‘Merry Christmas' is all about, Timothy," the teacher explained. "But, I also know The Rules."
(The law of the land where good has become evil and evil good, as induced by that evil one aspiring a hateful glare.)
"And so do you,” the teacher went on. “And so do all the others in this classroom. And now, please, remove that sweatshirt. I wish to have no disruptions this last week of school before my winter break."
Timothy's noncompliance toward his teacher's demands, found himself facing the school principal.
"Timothy," the principal said. "I'm shocked. What you have done is not like you. I'm sending you home for the rest of the day that you may think about this stunt you've pulled. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Sir," Timothy responded. "But..."
"There'll be no buts," the principal interrupted. "Mr. Jenkins will be here soon to take you home."
"But Sir, you won't even let me explain what 'Merry Christmas' is all about?" Timothy pleaded, desiring to share what Pastor Jacobs shared with him.
"I know all about Christmas, Timothy, but there's no room for it here, as states The Rules," was the principal's final word. He would hear no more. "Ah, but," the principal continued, smiling, perhaps hoping to calm Timothy's disappointment, "Think of it as extended time off for your 'holiday.'"
Nevertheless, tears swelled Timothy's eyes as he waited for his ride home; his Merry Christmas sweatshirt still unremoved.
(Jesus removed from this public school; that evil one aspiring a hateful glare applauded at his plan gaining momentum, and the new Rules enforced throughout the land where the right has become wrong and wrong right.)
A Saddened Joy
Christmas Day finally arrives at Mid-central with the excited anticipation of all, particularly those who believe in its blessed reality – young and old alike. Too joyous a day to be feeling low, but that is the case with Jessi Whitcombe this day. Rather than gift opening around the Christmas tree, it's at Jessi's bedside. In spite of her illness, however, she experiences inner peace and joy, realizing the meaning of this special day. Even though, this Christmas she carries a burden in her heart for her best friend.
"How's Timothy doing, Mommy? Have you heard?" Jessi asked. "He's still in the hospital? Grammy is there with him, I'm sure?"
"Yes, dear," Sarah Whitcombe answered. "Grammy is there, probably right at his bedside, just like we're at your bedside now. But, he's not doing so very well, I'm afraid."
"When I'm feeling better, I want to go to him," Jessi said.
"That may help," D.L. said to his little girl. "You know, honey, Timothy may be able to hear you speaking to him, even while still unconscious. If God so wills, He can bring Timothy out of it. Maybe he'll even remember some of the things you say to him. I've heard of just such a thing happening."
"Why did it have to happen, Daddy, to my best friend?" Jessi asked with tears, "he being taken home from school that day. Why did he have to be sent home anyway? He didn't do anything bad."
"I know, dear," D.L. responded, "But nobody on Earth, not the school, the principal, or Mr. Jenkins, could foresee the accident happening."
"I want him to get better, Daddy, so we can play together again. I miss him so much. I will continue praying for him."
"Yes, sweetheart, you do that. And he wants you to get better, too," her dad said. "Now, I think you should try to get some sleep so that you can get better. Later we'll enjoy Christmas dinner together."
"Okay, Daddy, I'll try to sleep, and I'll be remembering Timothy for him to get better."
(Looking on with glee, that his plan and that of his C.E.O. seemed to be coming to completion, that evil one aspiring a hateful glare, applauded. "For sure, my boss will indeed reward me handsomely for their demise, like snuffing out two birds with one stone," he hissed.)
A Home-going Celebration
Mid-January into a new year, a large crowd gathered in the church for the child's memorial service. The day was unusually warm, boasting a sunny and blue sky. Perhaps untypical for a Mid-Central winter, but maybe then God was sending a particular message, signifying that all was well with the physical death of His child.
Earlier in the week, Grammy labored with long, hard tears in the writing of the obituary that would appear in the bulletin; for her young grandson, it had to be just right. Jessi so labored with her that day at Grammy's kitchen table, recovering from her surgery. They comforted one another, both suffering the loss of an only grandchild and best friend. Finally, she did get the wording for the bulletin just right, expressing well his short life:
Timothy James O'Brien was a beloved grandson and friend, and for sure, the joy of his parents if they could have only met him. He went home to Jesus at the full young age of 8 years, for sure God's "angel unaware" sent to Earth for a particular purpose. He was indeed a blessed gift from God. I feel so fortunate to have been entrusted by our Heavenly Father to care for him, in the stead of his parents, during his joyful short life. I praise the Lord that Timothy is in Heaven now, in the presence of his Savior, and now united with his parents and granddad. Surely we will all miss him, but I (and all those who know him and love Jesus) greatly anticipate that day when we all will be reunited. Signed: Grammy Maggie O'Brien
The pastor's message expressed well Timothy's joy. A video presentation of Timothy's short life followed. Afterward, others, youth, and adults alike shared what young Timothy met to them. Lastly, Jessi stood before the congregation.
"He was my best friend, and still is," she began, eyes tear-swollen. "I miss him now, and I cry when I think about all the good times we had playing together. But I know Timothy is now with Jesus, and I'll see him again when we'll play together on streets of gold.
("Hm, hm, hmm," that evil one aspiring a hateful glare, chuckled, still prowling about, seeking her demise.)
Continued at Chapter Six
© 2017 Charles O Newcombe