Read Sarah's Christmas Miracle Online
Authors: Mary Ellis
Tags: #Religious, #Amish, #Christmas stories, #Fiction, #Religion, #Holidays, #Christian Fiction, #Christmas & Advent, #Christian, #General
ith the address tucked safely in her purse, Sarah tried calm her racing heart. She couldn’t believe Albert had parted with the envelope. He had not, however, allowed her to see her
’s letters. No matter. She had no desire to see Caleb’s private correspondence, only to learn his whereabouts. Albert had possessed two different addresses. Two letters had been mailed more than a year apart. According to the postmarks, her envelope contained his most recent address.
I will write to him—
Suddenly, the sound of horse hooves on pavement pulled her from her plans. Some fool in a buggy was trying to pass her! It was dangerous enough when a car passed on roads without buggy lanes, but an Amish buggy? Even though the road ahead was flat and straight, a horse couldn’t accelerate the way a motor vehicle could to clear the lane quickly. She tugged hard on the reins to slow her mare.
“Sarah!” A male voice called.
This particular fool apparently knew her. She glanced to the left and recognized the ruddy complexion of Adam, her beau.
“Turn into the next driveway,” he called, slapping the reins against his horse’s back. His buggy lurched forward and he passed safely.
She followed him into the next farm drive, which fortunately had a turn-around. Once the horses had stopped side by side, she leaned forward to find him grinning at her. “Have you lost your mind?” she asked.
Adam laughed, set the brake, and jumped down. “Maybe so, but I couldn’t believe my good fortune in seeing you.” He approached with flushed cheeks, wearing the scarf she’d knitted for him last Christmas. “I thought I would have to wait for Sunday’s preaching service.” He lifted his boot to her buggy’s bottom step.
“It’s a good thing someone wasn’t driving fast from the opposite direction when you were on the wrong side of the road.” She crossed her arms over her coat. “That was very foolish.”
“I am a fool for love.” He leaned in for a kiss.
She turned her face so he met her cheek instead of lips. “You’ll have lots to be thankful for tonight in your prayers.”
“I will,” he agreed. “Say, where were you coming from? The only people I know on that old gravel road are the Sidleys.”
She turned toward him again. “
, they are who I went to see.”
He arched an eyebrow. “You went to visit Albert Sidley?” A muscle in his neck jumped while his jaw tightened. “Do I have something to worry about? Has another man stolen your heart?”
If he’d meant the questions to sound lighthearted and teasing, he did not succeed. But Sarah took pity on him. “No, Adam. I haven’t fallen for Albert, but I am concerned about his family. I intend to ask my
to speak to the bishop. They might need the district’s help and are too proud to ask. That farm needs maintenance on the outside, and I would expect on the inside too. Plus, their cellar probably isn’t well stocked since Mrs. Sidley’s passing. To my knowledge, none of her sons has married.” She smiled sweetly. “I think they could use a work frolic, and the district could stock them up with canned goods before winter.”
Adam rubbed his stubbly chin. “That’s a good idea.” He waited to see if more was forthcoming. After a few quiet moments he asked, “But why did you go there in the first place?”
Sarah let out a great sigh. “If you must know, I went to see if Albert had an address for Caleb. He was my brother’s only Amish friend after he started working.”
Adam grit his teeth for no apparent reason. “And did he?” he asked.
.” She patted her purse. “I have his address in case
decides to write. She was feeling mighty blue the day we were baking Christmas cookies. Time doesn’t seem to have eased her sorrow.”
Adam leaned into the buggy and kissed her forehead. “You have a generous heart, Sarah Beachy. I’m a lucky man.”
“That you are, but I want to get home before full dark.”
He stepped back. “Good idea. I’ll see you on Sunday. After the preaching service, we’ll have the whole afternoon to visit.” He smiled and then hopped up into his buggy. “I’ll follow you until the turnoff.”
“You just keep to your side of the road,” she called before clucking her tongue to her horse.
They set off with Adam close behind her. Despite darkness and a light snow beginning to fall, Sarah felt safe and protected all the way home.
Second Sunday of Advent
The snow that had begun Saturday afternoon continued throughout the night. Sarah and everyone else in the county awoke to eight inches of fresh new powder. Fortunately, the hosting family, the Troyers, lived on a state route. The Highway Department snowplows had been out early clearing the pavement, so the Beachys, and most other district families, arrived at the preaching service on time.
As soon as
parked their buggy, Sarah and her sisters jumped down and headed for the house. They each carried a basket with something for the lunch table. Rebekah had baked corn muffins, Katie carried
’s broccoli casserole, and Sarah brought jars of spiced apple rings. Because the Troyer home was the largest in the district, they held church services in their front room instead of in an outbuilding. Adam and his brothers had already moved out the normal furniture and set up long rows of benches. As Sarah helped organize the food in the kitchen, she spied Adam passing out hymnals. He looked so handsome in his black vest, coat, and starched white shirt.
He winked impishly when their gazes met, and she quickly averted her eyes. With church about to start, she didn’t need to be thinking romantic thoughts.
Not that anyone could accuse me of having overly passionate ideas.
She thought Adam to be handsome, dignified, and responsible. By all estimates he would make a good spouse. So why hadn’t she accepted his proposal and allowed their engagement to be announced? The problem lay with her. She wasn’t ready to quit her job and start having
…babies that could one day grow up to break her heart. Amish families set no store by fancy clothes, furniture, or personal possessions, but they did take pride in their children.
What happens if your son grows up and turns his back on the Amish way of life? Or the daughter you molded to be just like you runs off with an
and never looks back?
A sour taste rose up Sarah’s throat as she finished slicing pies and setting out desserts. When the bishop called them to worship, she tried to put aside her anxieties. Fear was the handiwork of the devil, but how did a person live a life without fear?
For the next three hours, she concentrated on the hymns, Scripture readings, and the two sermons. She loved Advent season—the weeks leading up to the celebration of the Savior’s birth. The bishop’s sermon focused on John, the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, who had prepared the way for Christ. Never once had John allowed people to focus their attention on him. With Christmas less than three weeks away, hearing a story about selflessness helped prepare a Christian’s heart. When Sarah thought about self-sacrifice, she thought of her mother. Everything Elizabeth did was for God or for her family.
When church concluded and folks lined up for the buffet, Sarah noticed that her mother was one of the last to eat. With a grumbling stomach, Sarah had been one of the first in line. Feeling slightly ashamed of her behavior, she took her plate of food to sit with Adam and his older brother and sister-in-law.
“How did the Beachys fare during last night’s storm?” asked Adam, making room for her on the bench.
“All right,” she said. “We all bundled up and helped shovel paths to the henhouse and the barn. The cows need to be milked no matter what the weather. Then we moved firewood onto the porch for easy access.”
“Good thinking. Hey, did you make these spiced apples?” Adam popped a ring into his mouth.
, but that was last summer.” Sarah bit into a piece of cold fried chicken.
Adam’s sister-in-law grinned. “If you would have brought a bottle of catsup, he would have declared it the best catsup he’d ever tasted. A man in
tends to act like that.” She smiled at her husband.
Adam squirmed while Sarah blushed, but fortunately they were interrupted. “Hurry, Uncle Adam. You don’t want to miss the fun.” Joshua Troyer pulled on Adam’s elbow. Bundled in his coat, hat, and mittens, the child looked ready to play.
“Good gosh, Joshua. What about lunch? Have you eaten?”
“I ate already, and now we’re going to build a snow fort. Come outside with us.” The boy ran off to join his siblings and cousins as they pulled on boots by the door. Soon the group trooped out. Even the girls were ready for some fresh air.
“Apparently, not everyone looks on snow with a pessimistic eye like I do,” Sarah said, sipping tea.
“They love it. If I’m not needed here, I think I will wander outdoors when I finish eating…just to supervise the
’s play, you understand. Sometimes snowball fights can get out of hand without an adult nearby.” Adam wiggled his brows.
Sarah watched him consume his plate of food in record time. He brushed a kiss across her cheek when no one was looking and then followed the last of his nieces and nephews. She savored a second cup of tea while doing the dishes. But when the other ladies headed to the front room to sew and chat, she chose not to join them.
Too many questions I would rather not answer.
Slipping on her heavy wool cloak, bonnet, and gloves, she wandered outdoors. The sky had cleared after the storm. The sun sparkled off a world of white.
The young male Troyers had erected two snow forts about twenty-five feet apart. They would periodically stand up to lob snowballs into the other fort. Adam and his brother were busy building the forts higher and sturdier, each taking their share of direct hits. A coating of snow covered their hats and jackets.
Sarah hurried around the house before anyone spotted her and began hurling snowballs in her direction. In the front yard she found activity more to her liking. The little girls were building a snowman. They had already rolled the giant bottom ball and also the middle sphere. Only the best part, the head, remained. The girls invited Sarah over to help, so she went in search of stones for his buttons near the foundation of the house. By the time she returned, they were setting the snowman’s head in place. One niece had procured a carrot for his nose, another found an old straw hat to keep his head warm, and a third cleverly added straw for his beard. One older niece lifted up the youngest one so she could line up coals for his mouth and nose. And not one of the children bombarded another with a snowball as they worked!
“I see the girls are behaving better than the boys,” came a voice over her shoulder. Adam had crept up during the snowman’s final adornments.
supervisor encourages a more peaceful play atmosphere,” said Sarah.
“That might have something to do with.” Adam encircled her waist with both arms and hugged tightly, despite their heavy layer of clothes.
“Do you think he needs a coat, Aunt Sarah?” asked the tallest niece.
“No, dear. He’ll be fine with just the hat.”
Sarah?” Adam whispered in her ear. “How do you like the sound of that?”
“It sounds as though she’s putting the cart before the horse.” A well-placed elbow connected with his ribs. “Let’s get these kids inside to warm up before they catch colds.” She swung the youngest girl up to her hip and herded the rest toward the house.
Adam nodded, lifting up the second smallest child.
In truth, Sarah didn’t know how she felt about it. Becoming their aunt meant becoming Adam’s wife. And as fond as she was of him, she wasn’t ready for her own home and children yet.
Too many heartaches lie in wait down that road.