I'm trying something different for the next few days and posting a Christmas story I wrote a while ago. Because it's a bit lengthy, I'm publishing it in parts. Cross your fingers that I can make this work! I hope you'll enjoy "Prudie and the Christmas Wish."
PRUDIE AND THE CHRISTMAS WISH
Angels weren't supposed to giggle. An occasional serene smile was allowed, but giggling was definitely frowned upon, especially at this time of year when all of heaven and earth celebrated the birth of the Christ child.
Prudie frowned. She had not been asked to join the heavenly choir. Her voice had a distressing tendency to stray off-key. More than once, the choir-mistress had frowned at Prudie during auditions. Prudie had resigned herself to joining the congregation of listeners.
Seeing the baby angels tumble about as they played hide-and-seek in the clouds, though, caused a laugh to bubble out as she waited for Brother Michael, assistant to Saint Peter, to see her.
Probationary angel Prudie assumed what she hoped was a proper expression. Being summoned to Brother Michael's cloud was serious. She clapped a wing to her mouth to cover the smile that kept slipping onto her lips.
Behind her wing, Prudie winced. Her heavenly name of Prudence was a constant source of vexation to her. She secretly thought that the name-giver had bestowed it upon her in a misplaced effort to reform her. Or maybe all the good names had been taken.
She'd tried to live up to the name. Really, she had. But who could live up to a name that evoked images of sensible shoes and sober faces?
"Yes, Brother Michael?"
The chief assistant to Saint Peter flipped through the pages of the Heavenly Record. "I see where you have experience in helping mortals resolve their difficulties."
"A note here states you have had difficulties in the past in remembering your place. Angels do not communicate directly with mortals."
"I explained to Saint Peter about that. He said he understood."
"Saint Peter is blessed with an abundance of patience." Brother Michael's tone made it clear that such was not the case with his own store of patience.
Prudie studied the toes of her silver-tipped slippers.
"You have an opportunity to help a young boy," Brother Michael said. With a sweep of his wing, he opened the heavens to reveal a boy kneeling beside his bed, his face tear-stained.
Prudie's tender heart was immediately touched. "Who is he?"
"Danny Dawson." Brother Michael turned a page. "Let's see ... he turns eight years old next month. He's not praying for himself. He's praying for his parents." The scene shifted to reveal a man pacing an empty apartment. Like a movie unfolding before her eyes, the setting switched to a tidy brick house. A pretty woman with sad eyes sat in front of a computer.
"Sara and Greg Dawson have forgotten how to love each other."
Forgotten how to love? Prudie wept inwardly at such a loss.
"Probationer Prudence?" Brother Michael's voice drew her back to her assignment. "I trust there will be no more incidents like those that occurred in your first assignment."
Prudie winced as she remembered how she'd interfered in the lives of the mortals assigned to her. Angels were sent to earth to guide those they were appointed to help, not to meddle.
"No way ... I mean, no, Brother Michael. There will be no more such incidents."
For the first time, Prudie thought she detected a glimmer of a smile on Brother Michael's normally stern countenance.
Her lips kicked up at the corners before she remembered the gravity of her task. "Thank you, Brother Michael." Eager to start, Prudence lifted her wings in preparation to fly.
"Sister Endurance will oversee your efforts."
Prudie started to object but thought better of it when she noticed the set to Brother Michael's jaw. "Yes, sir," she murmured.
"God be with you."
For the following week, Prudie watched Danny's family. What she saw caused her heart to weep silent tears. Danny's mom, Sara, stared at the screen of her computer monitor for most of the day. His father, Greg, was no happier in his job at a law firm. They needed each other. What's more, Danny needed both of them. Together.
By the end of the week, Prudie had a plan. It involved Danny. She frowned as she realized he could get in a bit of trouble, but she couldn't see a way around it. It would come out all right in the end. It had to.
(To be continued.)