The Christmas Chronicles is a blog hop between 5 historical romance authors. Our desire is to bring you joy through these letters, grounded in the true spirit of the season, and written from the fictional viewpoints of each book’s heroine. We’re so glad to have you join the event. Each day this week, a new Christmas Chronicles post will go live, complete with a letter and a new ornament giveaway for that blog post.
To find your way to the other four blog posts, read on! We have a list for you at the bottom of this post.
A Christmas letter from Grace Kessler
Where Treetops Glisten
December 9, 1943
I realize it’s been a while since I wrote my big sister, and I don’t want you to feel unloved. I think of you daily and pray for you and the children while Ralph is off to sea fighting the Japanese. Are you enjoying your visit with Dad and Mom? They must be doting on the new baby—and enjoying the San Diego weather. I’m so pleased they could visit, despite the wartime travel restrictions.
December in Lafayette, Indiana is chilly as ever, but we haven’t had snow yet. That will change soon, I’m certain. Linnie can’t wait for snowmen and snow angels and snowball fights.
This will sound strange to you, but I have to tell someone so I can sort it out. I miss our sisterly chats growing up and do wish we lived in the same town.
You see, I have a Christmas tree this year. I didn’t plan to, not at all. For the past two years, the sights and sounds of Christmas have only dredged up memories of George’s death and all that followed. This year I was again determined to let the holiday pass with only a nod of acknowledgment.
But God intervened. Well, Linnie did, but I’m convinced God used her.
For the past week, Linnie has had a new babysitter. I hesitate to tell you who’s watching her, because I can already hear the gasps of shock. And this is why I will make sure this letter arrives after Mom & Dad have returned home. They need to hear in person.
Linnie’s babysitter for the month of December is Pete Turner. It’s hard to believe that a bully and delinquent could turn around his life so thoroughly, but Pete has. He gave his life to the Lord, he became a lawyer like his father, and he just completed a combat tour as a fighter pilot based in England. He’s home on furlough this month.
Last week he brought Linnie home from one of her wanderings, and she’s latched on to him. They understand each other, and he actually likes her. This will be hard for you to understand because your children are so quiet and well behaved—according to Mom, at least—and Linnie is…not. So when someone enjoys her, this means a lot to me.
Today when Pete brought her home from school, she sweet-talked him into buying a Christmas tree for us, knowing full well why I don’t decorate. When I broke down in tears, Pete tried to dispose of the tree. A true gentleman. But I stopped him.
Decorating the tree was difficult. Each ornament brought out memories of the happy years George and I shared—and the unhappy years since. But Pete told me, “Boxing up memories doesn’t make them go away.”
Linnie showed me right then what happens when we box up our memories. In school, she’d made a heart-shaped ornament, but she never gave it to me, knowing it would make me sad.
Oh, Peggy! How I cried. Not because the ornament made me relive the moment I received the telegram, but because my grief and anger had crowded out all joy, even the joy of celebrating our Savior’s birth. I had deprived my sweet child of the wonder-filled Christmas she wants and deserves.
Never again. For the past week, God has shown me that I’d worn grudges and grief like a cocoon, but I needed to forgive. I even needed to forgive Pete Turner, even if I’m the only member of our family who can do so.
With each crack, each instance of opening up, each moment of forgiveness, more light seeps in and I melt a bit more. I’m blinking in the light, coming out of two years of darkness, and it hurts – but in a good way. Soon the light will feel warm and right.
Didn’t the angels tell the shepherds, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people”? Doesn’t “all people” include Linnie and Pete and me?
Jesus came as a small babe, as helpless as your newborn. But He also came as the Light in a dark and dreadful world. How can I continue to choose the dark and dreary when He offers so much more, promises so much more, is so much more?
It’s time for me to choose joy and light and love again. No matter the cost.
Love and kisses to you and yours,
Where Treetops Glisten
by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin
The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime. Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas.
Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
We invite you to join us each weekday this week as we hop through cyberspace and history, gleaning the love and joy of the Christmas season from each heroine’s journey.
Monday, December 1st: Regina Jennings (Heroine: Abigail Calhoun, A Most Inconvenient Marriage)
Tuesday, December 2nd: Joanne Bischof (Heroine: Sarah Miller, This Quiet Sky)
Wednesday, December 3rd: Amanda Dykes (Heroine: Aria St. John, Bespoke)
Thursday, December 4th: Karen Barnett (Heroine: Abby Fischer, Out of the Ruins)
Friday, December 5th: Sarah Sundin (Heroine: Grace Kessler, Where Treetops Glisten)