The Christmas Fire

propic11_1This 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.






24 thoughts on “The Christmas Fire

  1. The good Lord has many way of answering our prayers. At times we don’t understand why, but eventually the answer shows itself. I am sure that will be a wonderful memory for you and all your family for years to come. Giving is the true spirit of Christmas. You were all safe in his hands. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    Wonderful post.


    1. Sometimes one wonders when their prayers will be answered but God answers them in his own time. The trick is to be listening when the answer comes, don’t you think? The year of the fire gave me so much to be thankful for that I never thought of the negatives.


  2. God is good! What could have been a terrible tragedy turned into a time of great blessing. That is, in part, because you were open to it. Merry Christmas!


  3. Thank you Joe. When I realized that we were out of the burning house and I had my daughter’s hand in a grip she couldn’t wiggle out of I remember thinking ” Thank You God”. For what more good can there be in such an instance than that your family is safe and unharmed. I definitely learned not to worry about material things but to enjoy my family and friends more. Merry Christmas Joe. May 2016 bring lots of book sales and more happiness than you’ve ever dreamed of!


  4. Wow, you were certainly looked after that Christmas! It’s amazing how wonderful people can be. One of the perks of small towns. 🙂

    Hope you have a great (and less exciting) Christmas.


  5. I hope my Christmas is much less exciting than the one in 1977, but if I have more lessons to learn, so be it. I know God will protect me. You are right about small towns. They are awesome! I’ve lived in one all my life and I’ve seen some incredible acts of kindness. I should mention that while I lived in the city of Mazatlan, MX, it was just that type of town although the population is half a million people. There are two American churches there and expats gravitate towards one or the other. When adversities happen the church members jump in to help. I’ve been very fortunate all of my life to live among such selfless people.


  6. House fires can bring out the best in people as you demonstrated. Many blessings flowed then and may they continue to flow. Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Doris


  7. Angels Watching Over me, my Lord. That’s the first thing that came to mind. Amazing. I believe people are naturally good-hearted, but almost lost that belief when our home burned to the ground. Surprisingly the most help and compassion we received was from our insurance adjuster. He was great. Everyone else wanted to take advantage of us. Perhaps because we were truck drivers and couldn’t be there to oversee what was going on. I praise God that no humans, or animals were injured in our fire. That was the important thing. You blessed my heart with your story. Merry Christmas, and the best New Year ever. Cher’ley


    1. Angels were truly watching over us that snowy morning, joining hands and keeping us safe within a circle of love. The most terrifying moment was when my daughter got away from me to grab her new toy. Luckily, the tree was right behind us. When we got to the door the tree went up in flames. But Angel had her Lite Brite! We laugh about it now but she could have died. Just one more assurance that God had our backs. So sorry you went through a different type of situation, Cherley, but such a miracle that everyone, including animals were safe. Merry Christmas and may 2016 be a su per year for you!


    1. In case anyone noticed, I was unable to put any pictures on this post, nor my book info. My MacBook Pro got very ill and had to spend a couple of weeks in the nursing home. I typed this post two-fingered on my iPad then went to the library to finish. Since the library computers are all windows based ( well, you get the picture). Good news is my Mac will be coming home soon good as new. I can’t wait! I also couldn’t do much sharing as the buttons wouldn’t work.


  8. I am glad everything worked out by the grace of God. I am curious to know how the fire started? I kept reading, waiting for you to reveal the cause, thought I’d might as well ask. Answers only come when one asks! Hope you don’t mind.


    1. Of course I don’t mind. Our laundry room and wood furnace were attached to the house. Apparently a piece of lint caught fire from the flame on the gas dryer. Once it started the wood furnace added to the flame and it became a full-blown fire. I’m glad everything worked out well too – I thought my dad was going to have another heart attack though!


  9. Such an amazing and terrifying story, all rolled into one, Linda, and one that has many valuable lessons to share with us all. May this Christmas not bring that type of excitement, but may it bring to you and your family many more beautiful blessings! Merry Christmas, dear lady!


    1. I definitely think this Christmas will be much less exciting, as Ralph and I will be spending it alone with Patty. I really think what God gave me to share is not to become attached to things but to love your family and friends more. I’ve practiced that mantra ever since the fire. Merry Christmas!


  10. Wow, what a gripping story! I’ve never experienced being in a fire (knock on wood) so I can’t even imagine how harrowing that must be. And to watch everything be burned to the ground – how awful. But what happened afterwards is truly magical. It’s stories like this that really show me that there is kindness and goodwill out there in the world – it just, unfortunately, sometimes takes a tragedy to reveal it. And very interesting that you used to live in Mazatlan! Merry Christmas to you, Linda!


    1. I believe sometimes people don’t think about being kind until a tragedy befalls someone- then they spring into action. Look at the aftermath of 9-11. People helped from all over the world. And the many heartwarming stories that evolved made us realize that people do care for one another. Our house fire paled in comparison, but the genuine love shown our family will always make me think of that Christmas as “blessed”. I lived in Mazatlan for nearly 8 years and loved it. I’m glad I returned to the states because I met my husband but poor health has prevented us from going back. It’s ok. We have incredible memories! Merry Christmas!


  11. Just like the hymn “Angels We Have Heard On High”; just like the New Testament teaches, you just have to have the will to believe in what is unseen. Wonderful memories… a metaphoric phoenix rises from the ashes of your cabin house.


  12. What an amazing story. And what a way to grow your faith! Yes, small towns are amazing too. Everyone has an opinion about everyone else, but they all gather when tragedy strikes, no matter that opinion. Kind of like family usually. You are very good to see the blessings. And no matter what, God is there beside us. Sounds like an amazing community of people.


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