Dec 3rd 2010
(This story uses some of the characters from Season for Miracles and Saving Christmas as minor characters. However, as always the story is independent.)
Pastor Jack walked slowly through the empty church. In a matter of hours it would be full for the midnight carol service and there was a lot to do before then. He set down the pile of holly he had in his arms and looked at the front of the church. He wanted to do it differently this year, but for the life of him could not think how. Footsteps behind him made him jump. Who could it be?
His smile widened at the sight of his wife. Her red polo necked sweater peaked out of her long black coat, matching the black hair and red cheeks perfectly. “Hi, Izzy. What are you doing here?”
Izzy smiled back, moving to hug him tightly. Her cold lips pressed against his warm ones. “Holly, Chrissie and I thought we’d come give you a hand,” she said. “Kyle volunteered to baby sit. Then he roped Matt in to help him.”
Jack laughed. “They’ll regret that. Two children under the age of one.”
Holly giggled. “Oh, yeah, they will. They are perfectly capable of keeping villains at bay, but can they cope with two babies? I think we might find the men asleep before the babies tonight.” She reached out and took a handful of the holly. “I know just the place for this.”
Chrissie went to help her attach it to the ends of the pews.
Jack looked suspiciously at the bag Izzy was holding. “What’s that or don’t I want to know?” Before she could answer, Jack’s phone rang. He pulled it from his belt. “Good afternoon...Of course I can. I’ll be right there...No, no of course not. I’ll see you in a few minutes. Bye.”
“What’s up?” Izzy asked as he put the phone back on his belt.
“I have to go.” He looked at her. “I’m sorry.”
Izzy shook her head. “Don’t be sorry, love. It’s your job. Go on. We can manage... go run...”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes,” Holly said from the other side of the pew.
Hiding his misgivings at allowing the three women loose in ‘his’ church he nodded. “I should be no more than an hour.”
Izzy laughed as she kissed him. “Since when do your pastoral visits only last an hour? You’ll be as long as they need you, the same as always.”
Jack smiled and headed down the aisle.
Holly’s voice floated after him. “We’ll work quicker without him telling us you can’t do this and you can’t do that.”
Jack rolled his eyes. Lord, I leave this in Your hands. Just don’t let them turn Your house into a rave party.
Jack’s visit dragged on and he didn’t get home to eat until eight. Izzy told him nothing and they didn’t get back to the church until half an hour before the start of the service.
“Don’t look so worried,” Izzy told him. “Anyone would think you didn’t trust us.”
“It’s not that, love. I’ve never left such an important task totally in someone else’s hands before.” He flicked on the lights and stood in amazement. Never in his wildest dreams had he ever imagined the church looking so pretty. A tree with tinsel and lights sat to one side of the steps, a wooden nativity scene underneath it. Holly and ribbon hung on the ends of the pews.
A wreath wrapped its green leaves and red berries up the stairs on one side of the platform, across the length of it and down the stairs on the other side. A full length cross stitched sampler hung it over the edge of the pulpit with a nativity scene embroidered on it.
They had done a good job. He might just have to get them to do it next year. And as he watched the church fill for the midnight carol service and saw the congregation look round and smile he knew God would be glorified thorough it, and that was what counted the most.