Christmas on Maine Street

Katrina and I have been hunkered down in our family home in Roan Mountain, Tennessee this week, where I’ve just finished a sermon in my Sermon on the Mount series and have succeeded, to my great relief, in writing the first draft of my short story for this year’s Christmas Eve service at the Donelson Fellowship. The title and opening may change, but I thought I’d post a preview of the opening of “Christmas on Maine Street” or, maybe “Mainely About Christmas.” I hope it whets your appetite to join us December 24th.

The man who didn’t believe in Christmas stood on the darkened porch of his Victorian home, binoculars in hand, muttering to himself as he gazed at the revelers across the intersection. He was unhappy. It was December 22, the night of the annual Winter Solstice Festival in Freeport, Maine, and the streets around his house were clogged. Everyone came from near and far, turning the town square into a living snow globe. Children frolicked in colorful overcoats. A jazz band played on the corner. Saint Nicholas and his reindeer posed for pictures beneath the Sailors and Soldiers Monument. Open-air vendors hawked lobster rolls, funnel cakes, roasting chestnuts, and steaming cups of clam chowder and New England coffee.

Bonfires blazed up and down the street. A thousand lights twinkled from the trees; the streetlamps glowed with holiday cheer; and an occasion flurry of snowflakes created a mystic atmosphere. A one-horse sleigh jingled and jangled as it took passengers around the block for a dollar a ride.

Hidden in the shadows at the end of his front porch, Ralph Hannaford was as concealed as a spy as he studied the festivities across the street….