A Christmas Stolen
Christmas is the best time of the year until evil comes knocking.
Danica Jordan's is looking forward to her first Christmas with her newborn niece, but when she arrives home, she finds an open door and an empty crib. Searching the house, she discovers her sister asleep in her room. Panic sets in when the two sisters realize Baby Angelica’s been abducted.
With the baby abducted, Christmas stolen, and an investigation in full swing, Danica comes face to face with the two men who ruined her life.
This Christmas could be ruined, or Danica could realize that Christmas isn’t a thing but a symbol of God’s love that can never be stolen—no matter the circumstances.
Leah Barnes sat in the rocker as she softly hummed a Christmas carol and gazed at her newborn daughter, Angelica.
The doorbell rang.
Leah wasn’t expecting anyone for several more hours. With the snow falling it could be a while before her sister would be here to spend the holiday with them.
But with the birth of Angelica, it seemed as if every person she knew was stopping by for a peek at her sweet little Christmas angel. The doctors had told her she had no chance of ever conceiving, let alone carrying a baby to term, but God gave her a miracle—just as He had more than two thousand years ago at the very first Christmas. And how special this Christmas would be because of this precious little wonder.
Leah set the baby in her bassinet then went and opened the front door.
The young woman, a stranger, had on a parka, the hood covering most of her face. Huge black glasses hid the girl’s eyes. She smiled at Leah. “Hi. My name’s Maria. I’m from Mothers’ Helpers.”
“I don’t know what that is.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. I was told you’d been contacted and would be expecting me today.”
“I really have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Mothers’ Helpers is an outreach program at our church. The Good News Church. Anyway, volunteers lend a helping hand to new mothers. We come to your house a few times every week for that first crucial month.” She handed Leah a pamphlet. “This explains all about it.”
“I don’t go to Good News. They must have given you the wrong information.”
“Do you have a new baby?”
Maria smiled and took a few steps inside forcing Leah to step back. “Then that’s why I’m here. Someone must have given your name to Anna Mae—that’s the lady in charge. Anyway, we’re here to help make life a little bit easier for you. We know how difficult it can be with a new baby. It’s a service we provide for the community, not just church members.” She took another step toward Leah.
Leah stepped back again. “Oh. That’s nice, but I’m fine. I really don’t need anything. But thanks.”
Maria took a few more steps and closed the door. Her smile brightened. “We better close that door before your house is freezing. We don’t want the baby to catch a draft, do we?”
“I’m sorry you came out in this weather, but you have the wrong place.”
“Your name and your address and a new baby so not the wrong place. Someone must have wanted to surprise you. I guess Anna Mae dropped the ball and forgot to call.”
“That’s really nice, but we’re fine.”
“We’re here to help in whatever way we can. It’s stressful to have a new baby. We can go grocery shopping if you need. Wash a few clothes for you. Or maybe you’d just like to take a short nap and a shower.”
“That’s really great of you but my husband’s been taking good care of us. Angelica and I don’t need a thing.”
“How wonderful for you. Is he here? Now?” The woman flipped off her hood, revealing dark black hair that hung straight down. The long bangs met the big glasses. It wasn’t the best look. This young woman could definitely use a little fashion help.
“He’s at work. But he made sure we had everything we could want or need while he’s gone.”
Maria partially unzipped her parka. “Well, I’m here now so I might as well help out a little. Maybe I can wash up a few dishes for you or sit with the baby while you take a shower.”
She sure was persistent. Leah didn’t want to be rude, but she really didn’t need any help. “Maybe the church can give you the name of another new mother. Someone who really does need some help.”
Maria shrugged. “Yeah, I’ll check with them later. But isn’t there something I can do for you since I’m already here?” Maria moved past her and into the living room. “So your baby is Angelica? That’s a beautiful name.”
“Thanks. I wanted to name her Angel because she’s my little Christmas angel but my husband’s grandmother’s name was Angelica, so we decided that would be the perfect name.”
“How sweet. Where is she?”
“In the bassinet.” Leah pointed toward the corner where the pink wicker bassinet sat.
“Oh my. She’s so pretty.” Maria stared at the baby.
“She really is, isn’t she? I thought maybe it was just me. You know because she’s my daughter, but I think she’s beautiful.”
“I agree with you. She’s so beautiful. That curly red hair and those big blue eyes. She’ll break a lot of hearts someday.”
Angelica opened her eyes, her nose crinkled, and a squeaky cry emerged from her tiny mouth.
Leah didn’t want to breastfeed in front of a stranger. “Sounds like she’s hungry. Thanks so much for com—”
“Not a problem. Hey, why don’t you start feeding her, and I’ll make you a cup of coffee or tea or hot chocolate before I go. Then I’ll get out of your hair. But you can call us if you need any help in the next few weeks.”
“I don’t want to put you out.”
“That’s what Mothers’ Helpers is all about. Are all about?” She brushed her bangs away from her eyes and grinned. “I don’t know which way is grammatically right, but either way, we just want to make life a little easier for new mommies.”
Leah lifted her daughter out of the pink bassinet. “A cup of tea would be great. If you really don’t mind. It’s sitting on the counter.”
“I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Leah settled into the rocking chair and hummed. By the time Maria was back with the tea, Angelica was happily having her second breakfast of the day.
Maria set the teacup on the table beside Leah. “I put some sugar in it. I hope it wasn’t too much.”
She didn’t actually use sugar in her tea, but Leah took a sip anyway. “It’s perfect.” Not the best tea she’d ever had but it was nice of Maria to try. She took several more sips to show her appreciation.
Maria smiled as she sat down on the sofa. “What a sweet picture the two of you make.”
“Speaking of pictures, why don’t you take a picture of us? My phone is on the coffee table.”
“Great idea.” Maria picked up the phone then snapped a picture.
“This is so nice of you. Do you know who gave the church my name?”
“Sorry, I don’t.” Maria adjusted her glasses. “They just told me this is where I should come.”
“Whoever it is, I’d like to thank them even though we don’t need the service.”
“I’ll find out and let you know.” Maria motioned toward the three Christmas trees in the living room. “Wow. Your decorations are great. You guys went all out for Angelica’s first Christmas, huh?”
“Not really. We do this every year. It’s a fun way to honor Jesus’s birthday. Of course, this year we made sure it was all set up before Thanksgiving since we weren’t quite sure when Angelica would make her appearance. She was a little later than we expected.” Leah yawned. “Sorry.”
“Not a problem.” Maria walked over and touched a tree limb. “You do this every year?”
“Yep.” Another yawn.
“Isn’t that a lot of work?”
“Yes, but once it’s all finished, I love it. Every time I look at the trees or something else, I can feel God smiling down at me.”
“Wow. That’s cool.”
Another yawn. “Sorry. I haven’t had much sleep lately. My husband’s offered to get up in the middle of the night to help, but since he has to work I didn’t want him being tired all day.” Leah held the baby to her shoulder and tapped lightly. Her own eyelids drooped. She was tired, but to fall asleep while she was talking with someone was ridiculous. “I think she’s all done.”
“You look exhausted. I think you need a nap.”
“No…I’m…fine.” Her lids closed.
Maria took Angelica from her arms and placed her in the bassinet. She walked over to Leah. “Let me help you to bed. Then I’ll just sit here and watch your little angel sleep while you get a little rest as well. Sleep as long as you like. Angelica’s in good hands.”
Question 1: 1. Do you believe the person you need to forgive should ask you for forgiveness before you actually do forgive? Why or Why not?
Answer 1: No
Question 2: 2. Once you forgive someone, does the anger and hurt automatically go away?
Answer 2: No, it's a process.
Question 3: 3. If you still feel hurt or anger, does that mean you really haven’t forgiven?
Answer 3: No
Question 4: 4. What if the person isn’t sorry or doesn’t ask for forgiveness, should you still forgive them?
Answer 4: Yes
Question 5: 5. In the story, Danica felt the blinking of the cross was a sign from God. Do you believe God does send us signs?
Answer 5: Yes
Question 6: Has there been a time God gave you a sign about something important to you?
Answer 6: Yes
Question 7: 6. Danica thinks about how her parents managed to balance the legend of Santa and presents with the meaning of the real Christmas. What are some ways you do that in your own life?
Answer 7: Various
Question 8: 7. How do you feel about Kat/Katrina? Was she a victim or a perpetrator?
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