This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction
The house is on fire! I woke up early for some reason that morning after a Christmas celebration with my family. We were doing some remodeling on an old log cabin we had purchased and were living in, so thank God our children were sleeping right next to us because the wall to their bedroom was torn down to make way for a room for each of them. It was 1977, a year I’ll never forget.
Both my husband and I jumped out of bed, each grabbed a child and headed for the front door. Terrified, we raced toward that door like a herd of wild horses, trying to escape the billowing smoke that followed us. I firmly gripped my daughter’s hand as we made our way to safety. Suddenly she pulled away from me and ran to the Christmas tree screaming “My Lite Brite, it’s under the tree”. She was fast, I’ve got to give her that. And I understood her determination to retrieve the toy she had yearned for all the previous year..
My husband stood at the door urging us to move quickly. When we were all together and opened the door to run outside, tentacles of fire swished through the kitchen threatening to gather us up together so that we might perish. My husband shut the door and we ran down our long drive, where we deposited the children in our car. Then both my husband and I raced back and each jumped in a vehicle parked next to the front of the house. My husband was a mechanic and neither car belonged to us.
The house now looked like a giant fireball. While my husband moved yet another vehicle, I drove to the nearest neighbors house screaming “Our house is on fire! Call the fire department!” My friend ran into her house to the telephone, calling over her shoulder as she ran “Leave the kids with me!”
Since we lived five miles out-of-town and had only a volunteer fire department in our rural village we worried they might not get there in time. They didn’t. When everything was over all we had was a smoldering, black frame of a house, hacked by fireman’s axes and full of water. It was a total loss.
I have to go back and give a bit of history to make you understand how we were in God’s hands that early Sunday morning.
My family got together every year at one of our houses the week before Christmas to celebrate the holiday together and exchange gifts. The family always slept in sleeping bags on the floor because we had such small houses. This year was different. No family sleeping on the floor. In fact, no family in the house at all. My father had experienced a recent heart attack and because he and Mom got a motel room my sisters and brothers-in-law decided to do the same.
However, this tale isn’t about the tragedy that befell us in those early hours, but rather the blessings of that Christmas.
We had actually just signed papers on a new house in town with more room for our family. We’d had an offer on the cabin, hence the small remodeling job we were doing.
Since it was Sunday morning our Pastor showed up quickly, offering us a place to stay. And the blessings just kept pouring in. The people we were buying the house from owned an apartment complex and moved us into an apartment right away while they hurried to vacate their house sooner so we could move in. Friends came in droves, like the wise men offering gifts. They presented us with food, clothing and necessities. Our local grocery store fixed a huge basket with food and goodies for the “real” Christmas Day that was the following week. Our local hardware store provided us with coats,hats,mittens and boots to keep us warm. A clothing store gave my husband and me new clothes and friends and people we didn’t know brought new clothes for the kids.
Imagine our surprise when we were presented with a jar containing over $2,000, raised by the local Lions Club. More and more blessings flowed in. As we were going through everything for insurance purposes a woman asked if she could have our charred stereo. She had visions of restoring it. A few days later she showed up waving something in the air as she made her way up the drive. “I thought you’d like to have these” she said. She handed me a manila envelope, and when I looked inside the tears flowed. I had forgotten I’d put my children’s baby pictures in the bottom of the stereo. They were in perfect shape, untouched by the fire.
So, as Christmas fast approaches remember that every valley has a rainbow at the end but you sometimes have to go through adversity to reach your destination. And remember, there are angels God has handpicked to guide you along the way.
Have a blessed Christmas.