Christmas holds many memories for me, from sitting in my mother’s lap, miserable with chicken pox, to counting and recounting the record number of books I had received, to hosting our annual Christmas open house in the parsonage.
But when I was young, our family observed a special Christmas ritual.
Rule #1—Thou shalt not enter the living room where tree and presents reside, before breakfast.
Rule #2—Thou shalt eat a full and proper breakfast.
Rule #3—Thou shalt clean up and do all the dishes.
Then and only then might we process to the living room where we opened our gifts decently and in order.
This instilled a sense of discipline and respect, instead of chaotic self-gratification.
As suspense is a vital component of a good story, so particular life celebrations also benefit from suspense. We enjoyed Christmas more fully because of our parents’ decrees. Of course, the day culminated with a feast of turkey and fixings.
An earlier writing shared by Eleanor...
Eleanor K. Gustafson
Eleanor K. Gustafson
The lamp flickered, compounding light and shadow in the dark recesses of the stable. The baby's high, thin cry echoed strangely in the timbered structure. As the new mother drew the infant to her breast, her haggard face softened. She crooned a three-note melody, never before heard.
The bone-weary husband watched the baby's clumsy attempt to nurse. The day had been long, very long. Now, after the tension and excitement of the birth, a feeling of unreality swept over him. “That is not my child." The old haunting doubt deepened the lines on his face; sadness dragged at his arms.
The child slept, mouth still making sucking motions. The exhausted mother also dozed, arms enfolding her precious bundle.
The husband, gazing at them both, leaned to touch the baby's head. “This is not my child," he whispered. Then his face changed and the lines fell away. “But he's no other man's child, either.”
Straightening, he went to the stable entrance to receive the approaching shepherds.
Why am I suited to write a story about extraordinary horses and an extraordinary God? I grew up loving horses, and God drew me to himself at an early age—through a story. A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, I have been actively involved in church life as a minister’s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager. Additional experiences include gardening, house construction, tree farming, and parenting. One of my major writing goals has been to make scriptural principles understandable and relevant for today’s readers through the undeniable power of story. My previous title with Whitaker House is The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David.
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