A Jolly, Holly Christmas
One of my most memorable Christmases started out as a natural disaster. When I was eight, we experienced the worst flood in recorded Oregon history. It was only a few days before Christmas when our streets became shallow rivers and the governor proclaimed a state of disaster. My sister and I assumed the flood was simply our new water-world playground and didn’t understand the seriousness of washed-out bridges and downed power lines and submerged homes. But when we realized this flood was about to nix our usual three-hour trek to our grandparents’ home near the coast, we were not very merry.
Naturally, our mom, a single parent, protested the sensibility of holiday travel during a state of disaster (most of Oregon’s rivers were involved in the flood and even more so near my grandparents’ coastal home). But Christmas at Grandma’s house was our favorite event of the year. And thanks to our childish persistence, our mom gave in—or maybe she just wanted a little ‘peace on earth.”
So we packed bags and gifts and piled into our 1954 Chevy and headed out. Flood waters climbed higher the closer we got to the coast, taking our usual route—alongside the Umpqua River. We were almost beyond the river, when we learned that the road behind us had been closed due to landslides and flooding. And the one ahead of us was also flooding . . . about to be closed as well. The state policeman looked as flummoxed as our mother, but told us to cross “at our own risk.” What else could he say?
Of course, we urged our mom to go for it, watching nervously as the Volkswagen Bug ahead of us entered into the high water and following not too far behind it. To our shock and concern, the VW started to float away! But my sister and I continued to cheer on our mother—keep going! She had no choice but to continue plowing through the fast moving water, which appeared to be nearly two feet deep! Thankfully our old heavy Chevy did not float away, but the water seeped in through the doors, pooling onto the floors.
We made it safely to the grandparents—with exciting stories to tell. But once there, we learned there would be no Christmas tree. All the roads to the woods, where we normally chopped down a tree, were closed. I’m sure our little faces were full of disappointment. That’s when my grandpa picked up his ax and led us outside. There was a parking strip outside their old Victorian home, where he’d planted a row of holly trees that had grown to around twelve feet tall. To my surprise, he laid into tallest beautiful holly tree with his ax, falling it to the ground. I watched on in horror, certain that Grandma would have a fit—she loved those trees.
My grandpa must’ve seen my shock, chuckling as he explained how the city had told him to remove that tree for traffic visibility around the corner of the intersection. Leave it to Grandpa! So it was we had a twelve foot holly tree for Christmas. It was a little prickly decorating it, but with its shiny green leaves and red berries, it was the most beautiful tree ever! So what the governor proclaimed a disaster turned out to be a jolly, holly Christmas after all.
More about The Christmas Blessing
When she receives the news in late 1944 that her baby’s father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope. Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant’s paternal grandparents. The only problem is, they don’t know that she—or their grandson—exists. When Amelia discovers that the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son? Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma?
Beloved author Melody Carlson pens a story of love, hardship, and reconciliation that will leave readers filled with Christmas joy.
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with combined sales of more than six million. She is the author of several books, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, Christmas at Harrington’s, The Christmas Cat, The Christmas Joy Ride, and The Christmas Angel Project. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon.