Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Jan Elder | Spread the Christmas Joy

A Pony for Christmas?

I was extremely blessed to grow up in a Christian home and Christmas was always a special time for my family. It wasn’t just packages, presents, ribbons, and bows. Mom, especially, really focused on what Christmas was all about—the birth of the Christ child, Jesus the Savior of the world. Every Christmas Eve, we celebrated “the reason for the season” by reading from the second chapter of Luke. Then we’d each open one present and mosey off to bed to await the joy of Christmas morning.

When Christmas morning arrived with all of its holiday excitement, my brother, sister, mom, dad, and I would open our gifts, one at a time, each person in turn displaying their bounty for everyone to admire. My dear mom would then fix us a super-duper pancake breakfast including sausage, scrambled eggs, and toast. If one of us had received a game for Christmas, we might spend the rest of the afternoon playing around the dining room table. Pretty boring, huh? But for a family of introverts, celebrating with quiet contentment made us all smile.

Sometime during Christmas day, my mother—an author in her own right—would assemble all of us in the living room for a short story or poetry reading. The composition was usually something my mother had written herself or perhaps a story that had meant a lot to her when she was growing up.

When I was around twelve, I clearly remember her reading one story in particular. It was called A Miserable, Merry Christmas, a short snippet from the autobiography of Lincoln Steffens. My mother had read it as a little girl and typed it up for us. To summarize, there once was a little boy who desperately wanted a pony for Christmas. In fact, he wanted it so badly, he asked his father not to get him anything if he couldn’t have a pony. He woke up on Christmas day, and indeed, there was nothing in his stocking, nothing under the tree, nothing at all for him amidst the pile of presents his sisters received.

After watching his sisters open their gifts (and they did have the decency to feel his pain) he retired to the stable to weep. Finally, he aimlessly wandered to the front porch steps to watch the world go by and steep in his own profound sorrow. Oh how he had wanted that pony, and oh how miserable he was without it!

As he perched on the cold porch steps a man strolled by leading—you guessed it—the most wonderful pony he’d ever seen. The beautiful prancing creature sported a black mane and tail and a white star graced his noble forehead. But the man walked on by…just sauntered down the road, out of the little boy’s life, pony trailing behind.

Well, as you can imagine, that was it for the melancholy kid. His heartbreak knew no bounds. He had counted on his father to give him what he wanted most and his father had let him down.

As his heart broke into jagged little pieces, he hears someone call him. “Say, kid,” it said, “do you know a boy named Lennie Steffens?” Oh the joy that flooded his soul! The precious pony was for him, and he came complete with a boy-sized saddle, currycombs, and plenty of hay back at the barn. That young lad had received even more than he’d asked for…more than he could ask or think.

The story has stuck with me after all these years and it makes me think of one of my favorite verses, Ephesians 3:20. The Living Bible translation says, “Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.

God wants to give His children good gifts, but often I think He’s too slow or I question if He understands exactly what I need. I want things when I want them, not in God’s time. As I’ve grown older, I try to be a more patient and have more faith that God will give me what I truly need if I seek his kingdom first. He knows what’s best for me. This last year has been a rough one; sickness, a heart attack, a death in the family, but like the boy in the story, there have been many times when my cup has overflowed with his goodness.

This Christmas season, thank you God for the gift of your son. I really need nothing more than more of You for Christmas. Any other present is just gravy.


Jan Elder is a Christian romance writer with a zeal for telling stories other women can relate to. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader’s faith, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story.

Besides writing romance, she enjoys the occasional hazelnut cappuccino while watching Turner Classic Movies. Always an avid reader, she devours books voraciously, both Christian and secular. She was born a cat-lover, and all novels present and future will include a feline in some way or another.

Happily married for twelve years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.

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A Semi-Precious Christmas
On a bright, crisp December morning, jewelry store manager, Peridot Keaton-Jones, arrives at work expecting to find her beloved uncle, Marty. Instead, she’s greeted by the muzzle of a gun pressed to her temple. When thugs assault her, threaten her life, and steal thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, Peri can only pray her uncle is late for the first time in his life.

Christopher Lane is a TV news cameraman in the right place at the right time. He witnesses the heist, calls the police, and offers help when Peri needs it most. She can't deny her attraction, but is he really her hero, or is he just after a story? And with Christmas right around the corner, can Peri and Chris avert a holiday disaster?

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