She pushed the mounds of blankets away from her sock-covered feet. It was this season when her Jimmy was taken from her. Now her bed was cold and the car was always frozen every morning.
Her grandchildren would be gone this year to their other grandparents, so what was the sense of baking their favourite gingersnaps and sugar cookies? Why bother putting up the Christmas lights? That had been Jimmy's job, and now he went and left her in the shadows.
Anna closed her eyes and walked to the bathroom. She was getting good at walking around in the darkness. She slipped on her deli uniform, pinned her hair up, and trudged into the kitchen.
Leaving the lights off she placed a mug under her coffee machine. The yellow light blinked on. She turned away from it and folded her arms, listening to its hiss. That's when she noticed the frost on the window. She rubbed her eyes, trying to make sense of what she saw. How could it be? The streetlight illuminated it from the outside. Maybe that's why it appeared so ethereal.
She stepped to the window and breathed over the feathery, frosty design. Her name, Anna, had been etched in delicate crystals, and with the next breath Jimmy's name swirled across the pane, along with the names of her three grandchildren. Light sparkled from the window and bathed her in a shimmer of warmth. She squeezed her eyes shut and opened them quickly again like she had done on Christmas mornings long ago - to be sure it was really true - that there was a gift under the tree that bore her name. The names of her precious loved ones whispered across the window like northern lights and then they were gone, and the frost returned to silent kaleidoscopes.
The coffee machine gave one final hiss and spurt. She didn't want to turn away from the wonder washing over her. She hadn't felt this new and alive for. . . well since Jimmy's last Christmas.
Anna finally reached for the coffee mug, sat down, and warmed her hands around it. She grabbed a pen and scratched out a list across the back of her power bill: sugar, sprinkles, lights, and a real tree. What else would she need? Oh, ginger and cloves.
Anna stood up and moved to the window. With the first rays of sun, the frost glittered in lavender and pink. Her light had come. The Artist had remembered her and had brushed a ballet of hope across her icy soul.
She had waited in darkness long enough. Welcome, Christmas, welcome.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you" (Isaiah 60:1).