Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Provocative Ponderings" By Sarah McNeal

The Enchantment of Christmas Dreaming 

I remember the magic of my childhood when Christmas was just around the corner. It usually began at Thanksgiving when Pop took us to the Charlotte Carousel. The excitement of sparkling costumes and marching bands lasted long after the parade had ended. With Santa riding on his North Pole float at the end of the parade came the promise of Christmas and all its mysteries. I was a solid believer. My sister and I wrote those letters to Santa with all the faith in the world that we would get all that we wished for, and even if we didn’t get absolutely everything, we knew Santa would have a very good reason for it. We spent hours and hours pouring over the winter Sears and Roebuck Catalogue looking for the wonders of toys.

We would pretend to be asleep so Santa could come, but our eyes and ears were fine-tuned for bells and reindeer hooves on the roof. Of course, we never stayed awake quite long enough. Parents must have magical powers of their own, because mine seemed to know exactly when we really fell asleep.

Those years in my early childhood were magical because I believed in all the possibilities. There is no way to recapture them except to enjoy Christmas through the eyes of the children in our world. I also like to read about the miracles and enchantment of Christmas in stories. Holiday stories bring back, at least for a time, the joy of believing in the good of humanity, peace on Earth and the wonder of Christmas dreaming.

My Christmas short story, Gifts from the Afterlife, has just released at the $.99 store.

How dark must it get before Lydia sees the light?

Lydia Sinclair’s life has run off the rails. She has lost everyone she loves and Christmas has lost its meaning. As Christmas approaches, Lydia wants to go to sleep and never wake up again. Perhaps an angel, some ghosts and a childhood sweetheart can convince her that life is worth living again. Can Lydia let go of what once was, renew her joy in Christmas and find the promise of hope for her future?

She felt the heat surge up her neck into her face. Lydia turned away from him and headed toward her house. If she ignored him, maybe he wouldn't insist on asking her about her feelings or about that kiss, and she could escape from her vulnerability.

Just as she reached her back door, he caught up with her, grasped her arm, and turned her around to face him. His sea green eyes were flecked with heated gold as he peered at her. "Don't just walk away. Tell me what I did wrong. Was it because I kissed you?"

She wanted to say something, to tell him that the kiss meant everything to her. It wasn't the kind of kiss that led straight to the bedroom. It felt more like a prelude to something richer, deeper, longer—like an unspoken promise. She tried to form the words but they resisted expression.

He pressed his fingertips to her lips. His voice, when he spoke, rose just above a whisper. "Wait. I know what you're going to say. It's too soon. Hell, you hardly remember me." He held on to her. The wind feathered his hair and swept it over his brow. "But for me, you've been here my whole life." He fisted his free hand and tapped his chest over his heart.

Snow gathered in his hair and melted on his face. He sighed. "All I ask is that you give me a chance. I know it's been hard for you in recent years—so many losses, so much sadness, but when you're ready..." His words trailed off.

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Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

Those years in my early childhood were magical because I believed in all the possibilities. There is no way to recapture them except to enjoy Christmas through the eyes of the children in our world.

No better explanation could have been written about the magic of Christmas, Sarah. I believe wholeheartedly in those words. Great post, my dear.

I am wishing you the most blessed holiday season this year. May you feel in your heart the true meaning of Christmas and know that there are so many who love you.
Merry Christmas, Sarah, to you and yours!

msspencerauthor said...

Lovely post; lovely excerpt. I find I enjoy Christmas more now than when my kids were little--we all join in the mystery now! (like, everyone pretends the stockings were filled by Santa & we all sneak around the house filling them for each other).Meredith

Cheryl Pierson said...

Sarah, this really was a beautiful post. I remember so well as a child how mysterious and wonderful Christmas was. My best friend, a year older than I, told me "the truth" when I was 8 and she was 9. I didnt' believe her, and I got so MAD at her I stomped home and told my mother, very tearfully, that my friend was trying to TRICK me into believing there was NO SANTA CLAUS! I guess she and Dad must have had a talk and worked it around to where we talked about it 2 or three times, and finally I came to the realization that my friend was right. I was just so disappointed. My husband says I'm the "world's biggest 4th grader" when it comes to Christmas. I was the one who was up before my kids were, so anxious to see their faces on Christmas morning. LOL Great excerpt too, Sarah! Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Renee, what wonderful words. Thank you for them. They mean so much to me.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Meredith, I love your Christmas stocking "sneak." How inventive and fun. Thank you so much for coming by.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Cheryl, I love your husband's idea of you--a 4th grader at Christmas. How wonderful to have kids around filled with excitement and awe over the mystery of Christmas. Thank you, as always, for kind remarks. I hope this year is a wonderful Christmas season for you and yours.

Jenny Twist said...

This is SO spooky! I've just written a short story on that very subject! It was supposed to be a flash fiction piece but came out too long, so I imagine it will have to wait till next Christmas to find a home!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Great minds run on the same track, Jenny. LOL I hope you get your story to the right dimentions for next year's anthology. I know it will be a huge success.
Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment, Jenny.