Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spread the Christmas Joy with Mary Ellis | Day 3

Joy from Mary Ellis
--> When I think back to the Christmases of my childhood, I always smile at one particular memory. For as long as I can remember, our extended family would gather at one of my aunt’s homes (now the homes of my cousins—my generation) on Christmas Eve. We would enjoy a lavish potluck dinner with the host family providing the main course while everyone else brought side dishes and desserts. Afterward, we would mingle to catch up on family news—coming babies, recent graduations or promotions and other milestones, small or grand. At some point during the evening, the families would separate to attend the church services of their own particular denomination. But beforehand, the children would anxiously await the arrival of one special secular guest—Santa Claus. My uncle (who has just recently passed away) would dress up in full costume and arrive with great fanfare down the staircase. (He left his sleigh and reindeer on the roof.) Over his shoulder he carried a velvet sack filled with wrapped gifts for all the good girls and boys from infants through college-aged. Surprisingly, the sack usually contained even a present for me.

Apparently, I was the last child to still believe in Santa Claus after my cousins had abandoned the notion and discovered the truth about the man-in-red.

But my mother and aunts didn’t want anyone to spoil my fun, so they instructed everyone to keep quiet about who really wore that silken beard of white. Since I was the youngest of my generation my cousins played along, and yours truly continued to believe the myth longer than average. However, someone at school or perhaps a neighborhood kid finally burst my bubble and spelled out the truth. Once I overcame my initial shock I thought about how pleased people seemed to be that little-Mary-Jean still believed. And so I played along with their subterfuge, becoming wide-eyed and anticipatory when that jolly man arrived every Christmas Eve. People would watch my reaction from the corner of their eyes, pleased that the deception continued for another year. Finally (perhaps the year before I started college…) when Santa arrived and presented this little girl with her treasure, I had so say “Hi, Uncle Louie. Thanks for the gift.”
Everyone moaned, while my mother looked broken-hearted. But all good things must come to an end. Now that my dear mom and uncle are gone, I will remember the joy they preserved for me because of their love. And because of the unending love of the Father and the gift of His son…once again I have something to believe in. 
Merry Christmas. May God’s blessings rain down on you and your families.

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Mary Ellis has written ten bestselling novels set in the Amish community. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Living in Harmony, book one of her current series won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Book two, Love Comes to Paradise has been nominated for a 2013 Lime Award. Book three, A Little Bit of Charm, has just released from Harvest House. An Amish Miracle, a collection of novellas, releases December 3rd from Harper Collins. She is currently working on a three-book historical romance series set during the Civil War. The Quaker and the Rebel releases January 1st, 2014.

She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236