Emma sat in the rocking chair, happily smiling at her family and their obvious delight. Her reflections included many lost souls going without. Those whose expectations didn’t live up to the hype of all that Christmas had become.
She felt lucky and blessed that for her and her family, it was a privileged time. One they shared with happiness and joy. The ability to rise above what was (for their lives had been touched by tragedy and pain) but it wasn’t something they dwelled on during this special time of sharing and giving.
Still, her mind wandered to the Westwood and Marks families, wondering how they coped, the loss still fresh in their minds. Although she understood, she hoped it was a long time before tragedy touched their family in such a painful manner. Even the thought felt selfish, but she couldn’t help it. She wanted to hold onto this moment forever.
Nathan’s sixth sense kicked in because he came to her, knelt down and pressed a gentle kiss to her temple. “It’s a wonderful time, Emma. Others may not feel as blessed, indeed suffer through with a heavy heart. I know you can’t help but feel for them.”
“Thank you for understanding. I find it heart rendering that for some, this is so joyful and for others, it’s not.”
“I adore your tender heart, Emma.”
“Let’s see if we can’t induce the others into an outdoor game.”
“What did you have in mind?”
“A lovely long walk through the trail out back.”
“That does sound appealing.” Emma quickly stood and asked if anyone wanted to join them. Sarah and Jake were the first in line, followed after a thoughtful deliberation by the others who also decided it was a good idea.
Jim and Jenna lead the way, pulling snow off branches and tossing it at each other and at the others. Before long it was a free-for-all which continued throughout their walk. Then the occasion turned into a brisk walk followed by a slower pace as everyone partnered up and quiet solitude prevailed.
Upon their return after the two-mile hike, they warmed their bodies by the fire, reminiscing about Christmases past. Finally, someone suggested a game of chess. Before Jake and Daniel could dust off the old game, Emma squatted in front of her father and said, “One last gift, dad.”
When Jake opened the gift, Emma witnessed the pleasantly surprised glow in his eyes as he took in the beautifully detailed black and white glass pieces. He looked up at Emma and leaning forward to hug her. “Very special, Emma.”
“Who’s up for chess?”
Daniel yelled, “Our game is on-going, and I’m still going to beat you. Perhaps one of the others would enjoy the challenge.”
Jake invited Jim to join him and the game was afoot. Others danced around the front room listening to music while Emma, Jenna, and Sara settled in the corner with Sarah to work on her latest puzzle.