Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Greatest Gift Excerpt

Here is an excerpt from The Greatest Gift.

After Drew left the room, Sarah sank back slowly into her chair. He seemed so formal, distant. Oh, he had smiled and laughed when required, but she knew his moods. Something troubled him.

She was a disappointment to him.

After a moment, she realized she still held the letters that had arrived in today’s post: one from her sister and one from her mother. She placed them carefully on the table, smoothing out the creases with her hands. Mama’s letter rested on top. A phrase jumped out from the page.

I considered giving the bracelet to you, but under the circumstances, I decided to give it to Grace.

Under the circumstances. It was Mama’s delicate way of pointing out that Sarah had yet to bear a child. The reminder was unnecessary; Sarah felt the lack every day. She didn’t object to losing the bracelet. Grace was a lovely girl, and Sarah had never expected the bracelet to be hers, or even thought of it. But the letter was one more reminder of all she was missing.

She’d hoped this month might be different. It was Christmas, after all, an appropriate time to conceive if not to give birth. But it was not to be. She pressed one hand to her abdomen. No child rested there—she’d received the proof of it a week ago.

She brushed aside the letter. It fluttered to the floor—a sign of her hope slipping away. Even Mama, with her optimistic nature, had given up.

So had Sarah.

Tonight she would deal with the well-meaning comments. “Soon it will be your turn to have children,” someone would say. Or, “You’ll be setting up a nursery soon, I’m sure.” They didn’t know how much she wanted the statements to be true.

Then there was Drew. During their courtship, she’d known he was kind, wealthy, and well connected. She’d discovered other qualities after they married. He’d make a wonderful father.

He hadn’t reproached her, hadn’t said a word to suggest he was unhappy. And she’d said nothing, afraid to confirm his disappointment. But she saw it in his demeanor each month she didn’t conceive. Every man wanted children. A child was her greatest desire, the finest gift she could give her husband, the man she loved more than anything in the world.

She ached to hold a baby in her arms, a son with Andrew’s light blue eyes.

She pulled back the drapes and stared outside. It was Christmas Eve. Had Mary wished for a child more than a thousand years ago? Or had she been surprised by the gift of a baby boy who would grow up to perform miracles?

Snowflakes were beginning to fall. A small miracle. Sarah wanted another miracle, a larger one. She was far from perfect, she knew, but it wasn’t too much to ask, surely? If this one wish was granted, she’d never ask for another. She saw a star sparkling in the sky, large enough to have been seen in Bethlehem, and made a wish.

Please, God. Let us have a son.

All was silent as snow descended in gentle waves. Earlier flakes had melted immediately, but this snow was starting to stick to the street. She pressed her fingers to the window, felt its chill against her fingertips, and prayed for a miracle.


Name: Lia
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