Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cathy Elliott | Spread the Christmas Joy

Where’s Joseph? 

At eighteen months, my grandgem Sidney already said a number of words. Enough for her gramsey (me) to understand…and happily obey.

When I arrived for Christmas, my daughter had decorated their home beautifully, as was her custom. Sidney, anxious to show me something, pulled my hand, guiding me into the family room. We stopped in front of a low table where a nativity scene had been set up. Sidney made a funny face, and pointed.

I looked at the little figures around the baby Jesus. Hmm… Mary, shepherds, animals, wise men and more. I saw nothing amiss. What was she trying to tell me?

My daughter filled in the details. “Do you notice someone’s absent? Joseph is missing. We’ve searched and searched. But we can’t find him.”

I looked at Sidney. Did she know where he was? The little family looked incomplete, indeed. What had happened to Joseph? He couldn’t just walk away. I didn’t think he would, even if he could.

Soon, caught up in the delights of the holiday, I forgot all about him, my thoughts turning to Christmas Eve church service, filling stockings, and last minute gifts to wrap. I’d always loved the beauty and warmth of the season. But having little Sidney in the mix changed everything. Seeing the tree lights twinkle through her eyes made it all new somehow. I’d lift her up and together we’d touch some ornaments, sending them swinging on the branches. Then, we’d investigate the winged angel that graced the treetop.

“Pretty angel,” I’d say.

“Angah,” she repeated.

--> What a smart child. She’d be reading the Encyclopedia Britannica before we knew it
The family gatherings came to close with a final feast at a cousin’s home. I noticed everyone else admire our little Sidney almost as much as me. She toddled around, dropping a brilliant word here or there, making her gramsey proud. In fact, my eyes were on her and not on what I was doing when I set my water bottle on a table. And missed my mark. It started to fall and I grabbed it, sending the cap flying across the room. It rolled under a sofa. Oh, no.

My daughter saw my clumsy feat. “I’ll get it, Mom.” She jumped up to save me from embarrassment, leaned down, and reached under the sofa, feeling around. Sidney followed her, knelt, and peered into the dark space, too.

When my daughter stood and held the bottle cap out to me, Sidney looked up and asked, “Josah?”

Aww…what a memory! “She thought you were looking for Joseph,” I whispered to my daughter, marveling at our bright baby. Did everyone have such clever grands? I had a suspicion they did.

It took a bit of time, but Joseph was found at last, though how he came to reside behind the couch is a mystery still. But the next year, when the nativity scene was set out, everyone was in attendance. Even Josah.

Cathy Elliott is a full-time writer in northern California whose mysteries reflect her personal interests of crafting and collecting. She also leads music at church and cherishes time with her grandchildren. Cathy’s other plot-twisting works include A Vase of Mistaken Identity, Medals in the Attic, and A Stitch in Crime. She is also a contributing author to Guidepost’s Every Day with Jesus releasing in 2017.
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