“What a heart-warming and sweet way to remind us of the good we can do when we step outside ourselves and love our neighbor,” wrote one reviewer of June McCrary Jacobs’ “A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom.”
This book is the winning entry from Cedar Fort’s 2013 Holiday Writing Contest. Think you’ve got a publish-worthy Christmas tale? Take a gander at our 2014 Christmas Fiction Writing Contest.
“A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom” is available in book stores and from online retailers.
Amber and her friend, Paul, have been busy organizing the fundraiser to help Mary Noel’s parents cover her exorbitant medical bills. As the date for the ‘Angels for Mary Noel’ festival draws near, Amber shares a heartfelt moment with one of her students, Janae Montanez.
The children in Amber’s class had formed a little choir of sorts and were diligently practicing their two songs for Mary Noel under the competent tutelage of the school’s music teacher, Mrs. Nichols. The ultra-talented Kathleen Nichols voluntarily worked with the children for thirty minutes after school each day. The children were memorizing the words to “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” and, with daily practice, were becoming fluent and poised in their presentation.
Amber practiced the words of the songs with her class as part of their daily recitation lesson, and the parents loyally worked on practicing the lyrics with their child each night. Mrs. Nichols worked on choral skills, tone, and pitch. Amber watched the children blossom in their knowledge of the songs and their presentation skills. She was certain their performance at the festival would have a huge positive impact on Mary Noel.
“Miss Kellen, do you think Mary Noel will like our choir?” Janae asked one day when the other children were outside at recess.
“I think she’ll love it,” Amber answered with a smile. “What do you think?”
“We want Mary Noel to feel better and come back to school real fast. Even the boys miss her. My daddy says most boys don’t like girls when they’re little. But the boys in our class like Mary Noel.”
Janae smiled a toothless grin at her teacher. Then she lowered her head and, more serious now, said, “I really miss my best friend. The hospital people won’t even let me see her ’cuz I’m too little for vistin’ hours. Mommy says hospitals think little kids are too noisy to be in there with sick people.”
Amber’s lips curled into a smile. “There are rules at the hospital just like we have rules here at school. Let’s hope that Mary Noel does feel better and is able to come back to class after Christmas vacation. We just have to be patient.”
“I know what patient means. It’s a person who goes to see the doctor.”
“That’s true, but it also means to wait for something calmly. You know, without getting mad or upset.”
Janae thought in puzzlement. “Oh, I get it. I think.”
“All you need to understand right now is that Mary Noel is your friend, and she’ll be glad that you and the other children sang two angel songs for her at the festival.”
“Goodie! Bye, teacher!” Janae stuffed her arms into the sleeves of her hot pink parka and skipped out to the playground.
Amber smiled inwardly as she was once again reminded why she’d become a teacher. I’m fortunate to be given the opportunity to shape young minds, even if this isn’t always the easiest job in the world.