Boomers Write 2nd Place Winner
Boomers Write Short Story Contest 2008

The Christmas House

By Cheryl A. Williams

She lay on the sofa, unable to sleep in her bed after tossing and turning for hours. There was so much on Anna’s mind. Christmas would soon be here and she had done absolutely nothing to prepare. So many people were depending on her and she was barely able to depend upon herself.
How was she supposed to celebrate Christmas without her mother? She had spent every single Christmas with her mother for the past fifty years. The thought of even putting up a tree seemed like an impossible task. For the past twenty years, her mother had come to visit for the holidays. She would make the two-hour drive with loads of gifts for the kids and family.
Christmas had been her mother's favorite holiday and nothing made her happier than seeing the expressions of her loved ones opening their gifts. But what Anna missed the most was her mother's infectious enthusiasm. She was like a little child at Christmas, and she always had been. Her happiest memories of her mother all revolved around this holiday.
This year would be different. Her mother had passed away unexpectedly in July. Anna lay on the sofa and looked at the ceiling, wishing more than anything that she could talk to her mother for just a moment. She needed to know that her mother was happy and at peace.
At that exact moment, Anna froze. Her mother's wind-up musical Christmas House started to play... all on its own. With a ghostly melody, it began playing:

"Silent Night, Holy Night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in Heavenly peace
Sleep in Heavenly peace"

It played from beginning to end, with absolute perfection. The tempo never changed, as it is prone to do with a wind-up music box… and that was because it was playing just for her. Anna knew without a doubt that the song playing was a message from her mother to move on, and enjoy her Christmas with her family.
Anna lay there, too stunned to even move. She did not feel afraid, even though she knew she had received a visit from the other side. She had no reason to fear, for she knew that the visitor was her mother, come to ease her worrying and to fill her troubled heart with peace. Anna also knew that this was her mother's way of saying, "Even if you cannot physically see me there with you this Christmas, I am still there."
Teardrops ran down Anna’s face as she headed back to bed. After all, she had a busy day coming up. She would put up a tree and go shopping and bake some cookies. She smiled, and whispered softly, "Thank you, Mom," before falling sound asleep.