Three Christmas Angels – An Alpine Legend
Once upon a Christmas Eve, three angelic spirits, one of past, present, and future, visited a small village tucked into the side of the three countries. Nestled in the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps, the tiny berg was almost entirely concealed in Mont Blanc.
Over crusted snow and frozen lac, they floated. Only the field mice noticed their coming as they glid over the champs of winter wheat. Each spirit, decked in red and green garlands, and flowing velvet robes, descended soundlessly upon the village plain by moonlight. Their assignment called upon them to visit the most worthy of homes and leave a Christmas gift- a token of esteem.
The first ageless spirit of the past chose the most modest home in the city. Some might’ve considered it miserable, given the humble nature of the disheveled hut. Its occupant, Old Pierre, was a man lean of body and friend. Every day, he collected people’s refuse. He rehomed throw-aways- chairs, broken plates, boots, tea kettles, and pieces of pottery. Humming as he assembled his works of art, he created beautiful towers, never knowing how he memorialized the small Alpine village. He redeemed things from the garbage and gave them purpose again, making them lovely.
With only the dark of the night to conceal their handiwork, the spirits moved with haste. The second spirit held the hopes of Christmas present. He slipped wordlessly thru the thin walls of the home where a family of seven slept. Five children, tallest to shortest, slumbered between a papa and a maman who bookended them. Papa André had once had a dream to do something grand with his life, to fill it with adventure and purpose, but at 17, he met Rose, and new hopes took flight.
Every sunrise, he woke to ring the churchbell to help the small village begin its day on time. Seizing broom and mop, he cleaned the inside of the church sanctuary and dusted the pews. He wiped the pulpit until it shone with a glorious gleam. Few noticed what he did, and even fewer thanked him for his service.
The third spirit of the future determined to visit a humble seamstress, Nancy. Named for the famous city of Nancy in Alsace-Lorraine, Nancy had a heart of gold, not just a veneer that covered the gates of Place Stanislas.
Her neat little bungalow held, but she and her cat, Patchwork, named thus because he slept on a patchwork quilt made from the remnants of sewing projects. She gathered leftover fabric to make baby clothes and blankets. Measuring, cutting, and sewing to make items for the most needy. With wrinkled hands and bent fingers over lamp oil, she worked tirelessly with needle and thread.
Upon awakening the following day, the three chosen honorees were surprised by the parcels inside their front doors. First, for old Pierre, a smoldering iron to make his immortalized creations. Next, for Papa André, Rose, and the five Petites, a globe and almanac to visit the world beyond their door each day. Finally, for Nancy, a beautiful intricate sewing machine so that she could put together her wonderful creations swiftly.
HAD BEEN CHOSEN AS THE FAVORED THREE THIS YEAR.
SOME MUMBLED AMONGST THEMSELVES,
WHO WOULD BE WORTHY OF SUCH GIFTS?
JEALOUSY THREATENED TO DRIVE THEM INTO RIFFS,
BUT LUCKILY, THE SPIRITS LEFT MESSAGES ON EACH GIFT, “DO NOT SHARE THIS PRICELESS WONDER,
AND LET NOT THE SECRET FLIT FROM YOUR LIPS.”
SO OLD PIERRE AND ANDRÉ
NANCY, PATCHWORK, AND ROSE TOGETHER WITH THE FIVE LITTLE ONES
WERE TICKLED DOWN TO THEIR TOES.
BUT MINDING THE SPIRITS,
THEY PONDERED THE MIRACLES IN THEIR HEARTS
AND CONTINUED BLESSING THE TOWNSPEOPLE AS THEY HAD FROM THE VERY START.
WHO COULD HELP BUT REWARD SUCH GIFTS OF SACRIFICE, CREATIVITY, AND HUMILITY?
FOR THE ANGELS WERE SENT
AS EXPRESSIONS OF GRACIOUS DIVINITY.