“The Signal”

Once again, we were anxiously waiting for the signal. With our piles of blankets pulled up close to our noses, we listened to see if we could hear that signal. Normally, we were none too ready to get up on those cold Ohio mornings. The only heat source in the house was the coal stove in the living room. Our bedrooms were freezing cold, so we’d wait as long as possible under our warm blankets before getting out of bed on a wintry morning. This morning was different though, because it was Christmas.

All eight of us kids could hear the sounds that were signs that Mom was up. There was her early morning cough, the shuffle of her  feet on the linoleum floor in the kitchen, the opening of the door to let out the dog, the scrapping of the grate to remove the ashes, and the coal being added to renew the fire. Yet we still waited for the annual signal to get out of bed.

Being the youngest, I remember asking why we had to wait to get up. After all it was Christmas morning! Weren’t the rest of them anxious to see what they got as presents? We’d get the usual socks and underwear. Mom would knit mittens, hats, and scarves. There’d be the candy canes and mixed nuts. Maybe this year we’d get that special gift, if Mom and Dad had enough money.

One year Mom told me not to tell my sister, Elsie, that she was getting the typewriter she wanted. I promised not to say a word. So, when Elsie asked if I knew what she was getting, I didn’t say a word. No, not me! I just made a typing motion with my hands and tapped the side of her face. Elsie smiled!

Oh, there is another sound. Is it the signal? No, it’s just Mom letting the dog back in. Oh, when would it come? When would we hear that signal? When could we see what we got under that huge Christmas tree? Well, it seemed huge to me! It was usually about three feet tall, but looked bigger sitting up on top of the old record cabinet. Up there it was at least six feet tall!

Wait, I think I finally hear it! The signal that we can get up! Mom is ringing the Christmas bell to let us know that she lovingly warmed up the living room so it is toasty warm. It was her annual first gift of Christmas morning.

They are gone now; Mom, Dad, and that tiny old house. Mom, Dad, and our oldest brother are awaiting the return of Jesus. The old house had to be torn down. It was worn out and caving in. Elsie said that the only thing holding it together was the love that was still there.

Remembering the days long past reminds me that there are other signs we should be paying attention to today. They are signs that another signal is about to take place. Oh, it is not the sound of a tiny Christmas bell telling us that we can get out of bed. No, this signal is the sound of a trumpet telling us that Jesus is returning.

He is lovingly preparing a warm house for us. It is almost time for those who are sleeping in their graves to get up. Are you anxious for that day? Will you be ready for the signal and that great getting up morning? Please meet me there!

  Phyllis Andrew 3ABN Accounting