Henry came into the bedroom and gently stroking his wife Mary’s head said, “Honey Christmas is almost here, you know what that means. The children and grandchildren will be coming over, good food, you know how much you love Christmas.”
He sat there and began to remember their first Christmas together, years ago. It was back in December of nineteen-fifty that they first met. He was working in his father’s malt shop when he first caught a glimpse of her. She had the most red hair her had ever seen and a smile that seemed to fill the room.
As he came over to serve her and her friends, he tried to figure out how he could ask her out. However, he just choked up. As he took their order he kept finding reasons to come over to their stools.
Finally, all of her friends left and she was just sitting alone sipping on her chocolate malt. He grabbed a rag and came over to the table as if to wash it. He introduced himself but choked up and could not find his voice to ask her out.
Just as he was leaving to go back behind the counter, he heard Mary call out, “How long do I have to sit here before you ask me out.” Henry turned around and looking into her pretty hazel eyes said, “Would you like to go to a movie Saturday night?” Mary agreed and from that point on they were inseparable.
By Christmas that year they were engaged and got married that following Valentines Day. He and his wife called Christmas time, a magical time when anything was possible. They should know they just celebrated their sixty-first anniversary.
Henry said, “Sweetheart, I am going to go call the kids to find out what time they are coming over, I will be back in a little while.” He walked down the stairs slowly, his age was quickly catching up with him.
After several phone calls, Henry had everything set for Christmas, and couldn’t wait to tell his beautiful bride that the final plans were made, the children would be over tomorrow. He called out to his wife lovingly, “Honey, I will be up in a minute, I want to turn all the lights off. I love you.” Henry quickly turned off all of the Christmas lights and the television, though he had not watched it in weeks, he left it on.
As he got ready for bed, Henry began to remember Christmases past, wonderful times, yes they were even magical times. Two of their four children were born in December. Why, they chose to celebrate their wedding anniversary at Christmas rather than the day they wed. He soon fell asleep praying that this Christmas would be more magical than nay other.
The house was filled with the sounds and smells of Christmas as their children, grandchildren, even their great grandchildren were there to celebrate. They all told their mother just how beautiful she looked this year. Julia their oldest daughter brushed her mother’s hair back and gently tied it with a pink ribbon. Tears filled her eyes yet she would not cry for the sake of her family especially their father.
They ate, played games, they read the story of the Nativity, played but all too soon it was time for everyone to leave. Soon, the house was empty again, and Henry could hear the whoosh of the machine that kept his wife’s heart beating and filing her lungs with oxygen.
He came in and sat down next to his wife, he was so tired. He said, “Well honey I think that was about the best Christmas we have ever spent together.” Of course, there was no answer in return. He sat back on the recliner next to the bed as he had for the last 5 years, holding her hand as he fell asleep.
He prayed for the Lord to let him and his wife dance one last dance for Christmas. Every year until she had her stroke, Henry and Mary danced a special anniversary dance at a few minutes to midnight. As he prayed he fell asleep reminiscing about Christmases past.
Soon his old heart gave out, and as he opened his eyes, he saw his beautiful wife all dressed in white. She had her arms out ready to dance. That Christmas magic worked that night. He received his wish as he and his wife went home to dance on the gold paved streets of glory.