Short Story, Uncategorized, Words on Wednesdays

Can You Hear the Angels Sing?

Hello, friends! Merry Christmas! Today, I decided t post something special. Can You Hear the Angels Sing? is a short story I just finished. It’s my Christmas gift to you, my readers! Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

Hurry and get things done. That was how Laney spent her time. From her schoolwork to spending time with her sister, she was always thinking ahead to the next thing. She was efficient, moving from one task to the next as soon as it was finished. She enjoyed making a list of things to do and seeing them get checked off, one after the other. She found satisfaction in getting everything done in as short a time as possible, from homework to shopping for Christmas.

Jocelyn, Laney’s ten-year-old sister, was different. She was what Laney called whimsical and dreamy. Jocelyn took the time to enjoy the little things, not always in a hurry.

“Okay, that’s everything, I think.” Laney read over her list one last time, making sure she didn’t forget anything. “Mom, I’m going to start organizing the pantry.”

“Alright, but are you sure that’s how you want to spend your Saturday?” Mom studied the lengthy list. “You’ve got a lot on here. What about going to the Christmas production at the theater with Jocelyn? I don’t see that here, or the shopping you two planned to do this afternoon.”

Laney felt a twinge of irritation. Didn’t Mom know by now that she could get things done quickly and have plenty of time for other things? “I’ll remember. And yes, this is what I want to do today. It’s almost Christmas, Mom. The house should be clean and tidy for it.” With that, Laney got up from the table and pushed in her chair. “The pantry shouldn’t take too long.”

“Good morning, Mom. Hi, Laney.” Jocelyn came into the kitchen, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. “What are you doing?”

“I’m organizing the pantry.” Arms full of canned soup, Laney deposited them on the table.

“Oh. You didn’t forget about our plans for this afternoon, did you?” Jocelyn tried not to sound worried. When Laney got busy, she tended to forget. “It’s the last performance of the Christmas production, and I don’t want to miss it.”

“Yeah, I remember.” Laney turned back to the pantry shelves. “Let’s plan to meet at the theater, okay?”

“Okay.”

Later that afternoon, Jocelyn came downstairs, dressed for the Christmas production. She walked into the family room, where Mom was sitting at the desk paying bills. “Where’s Laney? Is she still here?”

“No, I don’t think so. She left about fifteen minutes ago.” Mom looked up with a smile. “Are you excited for the performance?”

“Very. Is it okay if I leave now? I’ll be careful. The theater isn’t very far.”

“Yes, go ahead. But I want you to wait inside the theater for your sister, alright? Don’t be standing around on the street. And when you do go shopping after, be home by five. I already told Laney that, but remind her if she forgot.”

“Yes, Mom.” Jocelyn ran to get her coat and boots. “Bye! See you later!”

Laney stood impatiently in line, tapping her foot to the music. It seemed to always take forever at this store around Christmas. She looked down at her watch. 

Oh no, it’s past two already! How did the time go by so fast? Did the performance start at two or two thirty? I can’t remember. Should I leave now and try to make it?

 Laney looked around, trying to make a decision.

  Jocelyn will be so sad if I miss it, so I’ll try to slip in for the rest of it, if it isn’t already over.

Running down the sidewalk, Laney made it to the theater in record time. People were just coming out, talking about how good the performance was and how this was “most certainly the most wonderful time of year.” Laney spotted her sister walking out with a friend. Well, might as well just tell her the truth about why I wasn’t here. Suddenly feeling nervous, Laney waved to her sister to come.

“Hey, Laney, where were you? Were you in the back?” Jocelyn pulled her scarf tighter around her neck and shivered. “It’s cold out here.”

“Uh, no, I wasn’t. I’m sorry, Lyn,” Laney said, using the nickname her sister had had since she was a baby. “I tried to be here, I really did, but I got stuck in line.”

“That’s okay.” Jocelyn smiled, but Laney could tell she was sad. Why couldn’t I have just made time for this? It would have made her so happy.

“Do you want to go shopping now?” Laney glanced down at her watch. “We have a little over an hour before Mom wants us home.”

“Absolutely!” Jocelyn’s face brightened. “Let’s go to Target first. I saw something there the other week that Mom would really like.”

For the next hour, Laney didn’t even think about how much time they had or why they should hurry. She and Jocelyn had fun together, laughing and picking out the perfect stocking stuffer for each of their family members. While Laney checked out, Jocelyn stood by the door, watching out the windows. She looked up as Laney approached, taking the bags out of the basket and putting it away.

“Look, Laney, it’s snowing. Just in time for Christmas. Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Yeah, it is. Come on, we need to get going. It’s almost five, so we need to hurry.”

To get home faster, Laney went a different way than usual, one that was shorter and more direct. It took them through the more historic part of town, where all the charming Victorian homes were. A grand stone church was the centerpiece of the neighborhood, one that Jocelyn always admired.

Today, Jocelyn stopped in front of the old stone church, a look of awe on her face. Laney turned back impatiently. “Come on, Jocelyn, we need to get home. What did you stop for?”

Jocelyn moved closer to the doors of the church. “Listen, Laney. Can you hear that? Can you hear the angels singing?’

“What angels? Those aren’t angels. That’s just the choir practicing. And by the sound of it, they need it.” Laney grabbed her sister’s hand, trying to pull her along. “Let’s go.”

Jocelyn refused to move. “No. Laney, just stop and listen!” she insisted. “They sound beautiful. Just like angels.”

Laney knew that Jocelyn wouldn’t come willingly unless she gave in, so she did. She stood next to her sister on the steps of the church, hands in her pockets. The choir finished their song and launched into a rich, melodious rendition of Silent Night. Standing there, listening to the words of the familiar carol, Laney began to feel something. It wasn’t big, but it was there. The words suddenly didn’t sound like just another song to get through. They sounded real and beautiful. Laney began to picture the first Christmas in her mind. The long donkey ride to Bethlehem. Trying to find a room in a town that was already full. The cry of a baby as his young mother wrapped him up warmly and placed him lovingly in the manger. The shepherds out in the field. And yes, the angels singing. 

Jocelyn’s got it, she realized. She knew what Christmas is really about. Not just rushing from one thing to the next, trying to get everything done on time, just so. It was about the miracle of the baby in a manger and taking the time to notice the specialness of the season.

Laney looked down at Jocelyn’s curly hair, dotted with snowflakes. Slipping her hand into her sister’s, she gave it a gentle squeeze. “You were right, Lyn. They do sound like angels.”

Jocelyn’s smiling face gave Laney a warm, happy feeling. “It’s the best sound in the world, isn’t it?” She watched the choir for a few more seconds, then looked up at Laney. “I’m ready to go home now. Mom will be wondering where we got to.”

Arriving at home, Jocelyn raced her big sister into the kitchen. “Mom, we’re back!”

“There’s my girls!” Mom smiled at them, her hands never stopping in rolling out the cookie dough. “Did you get all your shopping done?”

“Yes. Sorry we’re a little late. We stopped to listen to a choir practice at the church in the Victorian neighborhood.”

“That’s fine. I can’t wait to hear them. Dad and I were thinking we’d go there for the Christmas Eve service.”

“Really? That’ll be fun.” Laney handed Jocelyn one of the two Target bags. “Here, this one’s yours. Race you upstairs!”

“Hurry and put them away and come down for dinner!” Mom called after them.

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