A little bit of Christmas from the fairy tale forest! My husband, Trenton James Stephenson, is a wonderful writer of original fairy tales, and we thought it would be fun to share his newest Christmas story with you. I even got to help a little with this one. No long analysis in this episode, just a little something to make you smile and help us celebrate God's love this holiday season.Support the show
Christmas Bonus E.2
“The Red Ornament”
Welcome to Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales ™. I’m your host, Autumn Woods, and I’m so excited you’re here. I’ve missed sharing stories with you and look forward to doing it again next season. As many of you remember, my amazing husband, Trent, is a storyteller in his own right, and is writing an original collection of fairytales. Many of them have a Biblical slant and several of them are Christmas stories. We read these together every year as part of our Christmas traditions and I love bugging him to come up with more to add to the roster. We have a new one for you this year that we tag-teamed on, and another on the way which turned out to be more for Passover and Easter, so we’ll kick off the spring with that one.
For now, let’s get lost, as we read the story of
(The Red Ornament by Trenton James Stephenson and Autumn Woods).
Rebecca Brittal loves Christmas. That festive time of frivolity and faith never ceases to touch her heart and bring joy to her home. As the year arrives at its eventual wane, her house is never without the standard yuletide garb. Outside, her trees are wrapped gaily with several strings of tiny shining bulbs singing the cheer of the season. Her shrubbery, even to the edges of her residence, is adorned in similar array that no area of her residence appears dim. She also covers her front door and windows with rich evergreen wreaths, each accented with a large crimson bow, as if every room were celebrating on its own.
As visitors are welcomed by this holiday apparel, they are only ever more amazed when they cross the threshold into her house, wherein they find warmth and revelry unmatched by any of her neighbors. Upon her banisters spiral green garland with red and gold ribbon. The same frames her blazing fireplace, where two stockings can be seen hanging plump and prepared for Christmas day. Next to the fireplace is a rich and luxurious green fir with lights shining all around and a plethora of presents wrapped and ready to be distributed at their due course.
Also upon the tree are an array of diverse ornaments hanging delicately on the branches for all to admire, but for Rebecca, there is one ornament in particular that she considers most precious. For any other surveyor of this collection, this ornament of grand distinction is actually very plain; a red bulb of thin material with no writing or special design, only some visible cracks. However, for Rebecca, this frail orb recalls not only the earliest memory of Christmas she has, but also represents one of the most important Christmases as well.
Upon her second ever 25th of December, she received the round object with glee, though the exact memory has faded slightly with age. The object, so much larger in her hands at that time, carried with it a sense of wonder, and every time she caught her distorted reflection in the red shimmer, her smile grew and she giggled with delight. It was hers, and through it, she was somehow able own a piece of the joyous season and keep it for herself.
From that Christmas on, the plain red ornament has been represented as a regular fixture for all to behold, but unlike the other pieces that hang upon the tree, this ornament remains a permanent presence all year round. Rebecca loved her crimson orb so much that she couldn’t bear to be away from it, so every New Year, as other holiday fixtures were packed away, she would tack it against her bedroom wall to always be with her and give her joy. In moments of unbridled happiness, the ornament was there to share in her delight. In times of deep despair, she would simply gaze upon it, and remember that no bad times could ever last.
The ornament itself loved its place of distinction, but more than anything, it loved Rebecca. The thing hung on its hook year after year and watched its beautiful owner from that tender age when they first met grow into a lovely adult. It saw when she lost her first tooth. It saw when she brought home her first friend. It hung there when a relationship would blossom with a new boy, and it hung there when she cried after their eventual separation. Oh, so many times, the ornament watched as ignorant stupid lads spurned its lovely owner, but never would it have dreamed of interfering. It did hate to see Rebecca sad, but it always knew that she would be okay. She didn’t really care about them as deeply as she let on. She only cried at the rejection. But it had seen Rebecca love, truly love. It saw the way she loved her parents. It saw the way she loved her friends. And it saw the way she loved it.
Never had that kind of love been shown towards a boy, until he came along. Benjamin. Oh, that handsome Benjamin. He was tall, yes. He had lovely hair and a great smile, oh yes. But what Benjamin had over all those other boys, was a certain something. Not just a charisma or a wonderful personality. He had a devotion, and longing for Rebecca that was sorely lacking in all those other would-be suitors. It was plain to the ornament that Benjamin loved Rebecca, and so the ornament loved Benjamin. Many of its happiest moments were in those years when Benjamin was first courting Rebecca. Never had it seen such a duration of smiling days. Long talks on the phone when they weren’t together, and cozy nights-in watching old movies when they were.
Then came the day when Benjamin proposed. It was the first time the ornament had seen such a flow of happy tears. Her face outshone any Christmas light it had ever encountered. And this was only exceeded by her countenance on the day of their wedding. Such bliss, to see its owner in such awe-inspiring happiness.
A couple of years passed. Rebecca and Benjamin moved into a new house, and all seemed well enough, but then troubles began to arise. In the fourth year of their marriage, Benjamin had been let go from his job around November, and little had been shown in the way of prospects. Christmas time neared, and nothing seemed to be changing. Benjamin grew more irritable as the days wore on, and he became increasingly more short-tempered with Rebecca. The floor was a sea of eggshells for the couple, and the ornament, hung on its normal limb out in front, felt a distinct chill that it hadn’t before.
One-night, December 23rd, a fight broke out between them. A horrible fight. The ornament had seen Rebecca upset before, but not like this. It recognized the same sadness she had had in her youth; that sadness of rejection when she and a boy split-up, but now there was a new and powerful variable thrown in. These two were in love, and this made the sadness unbearable to watch. They yelled at each other. They called each other terrible names. And then the orb heard a word it had hoped it never would hear. One of them yelled out “divorce”. This could not be. The ornament loved both of them. It had to do something. But what could it do? The ornament was beside itself.
In its distress, the little red orb nudged itself down the branch as if trying to totter over to the couple. Oh, if it could only scream out to them, but the only screams were between the two loved ones embroiled in their thunderous exchange. The ornament stopped short just before the edge of the branch and hung teetering perilously close to certain doom. It knew that one more nudge could fling it off the tree and send it crashing to the floor, rendering it as irreparable as the rift between his beloved Rebecca and Benjamin. All at once, it felt a strange peace come over itself. There was a way it could help. It knew what it must do.
Rebecca finally had enough. She went to their bedroom and violently slammed the door. Gathering courage, the orb allowed the resulting tremor that reverberated through the house to give it one final nudge, and dropped from the tree to the ground, shattering as softly and completely as a little girl’s broken heart.
Benjamin heard the quiet crash and turned to see his wife’s most precious possession lying on the floor in several pieces. In that moment, all of the hatred left his heart, and he rushed to pick up the dismembered ornament. He laid the pieces on the kitchen counter and retrieved some glue from the drawer. He wasted no time in matching up the fragments and applying the adhesive to reconstruct the spherical puzzle. While engaged in this task, the door to their bedroom opened and Rebecca walked out, still shaken from their altercation. She slowly walked into the kitchen to find her husband applying the final piece to her ornament. She asked what had happened, and he said that the ornament had fallen after she slammed the door, and he couldn’t stand her going through Christmas without it.
Rebecca cried. The ornament could see again, although somewhat disjointedly, that they were happy tears. Tears that spoke of forgiveness. The two lovers embraced each other, and gave their apologies for all the cross words that had been uttered. All was as it should be once again.
This is why the ornament is so prominently shown on the tree every year. As a reminder, that through its own cracks, it was able to mend a powerful rift. It should be known that Benjamin did find work soon into the New Year, and his relationship with Rebecca grew stronger ever since that December 23rd. The ornament still hangs in its same honored position, but now with visible fissures that when viewed closely, look almost like a smile.
This is absolutely not based on true events, but for many years, like Rebecca, I’ve kept certain Christmas ornaments on the wall all year until the time comes to put them on the tree again. Even though they aren’t faith-based pieces, they are a reminder that Christmas Day passes away, but the miracle we’re celebrating and its effects last forever. Jesus sacrificed His glory and His life out of love. Like the red ornament, He took on the pain and suffering of those He loved and died to end the enmity tearing His family apart. His body was broken for us and His blood poured out for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus’ sacrifice resulted in too many beautiful joys and blessing to count, but one of the greatest things it achieved is the ministry of reconciliation between us and God, and with each other. The restoration of the ornament and its family are like the resurrection of Jesus and the once and future reunion of God and His people. Now, we get to share that legacy of joy and love with others and continue Jesus’ mission of freedom and restoration.
So, go out this holiday season in whatever way you can, and share the beautiful gift of freedom you’ve been given with the people around you. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year from the fairy tale forest. I’m Autumn Woods, and I can’t wait to see you on the path in 2022 the next time you get, Lost in the Woods.