This week I have the pleasure of hosting Friday Fiction.
This is part of a WIP
A SEASONS FOR MIRACLES
Maddie Pierce pulled her brown curls into a pony tail. She threw her hands up in the air.
“How could Pastor Fred just up and leave a week before Christmas?” She directed the rhetorical question toward her friend and colleague Rose.
“I...” Rose didn't get her sentence out before Maddie interrupted.
“Don't bother to answer the question Rose. We'll deal with what needs to be done.” Maddie was
exasperated. “How could Fred do this to the church, to me?”
Maddie flipped through the church directory. “There's got to be someone who can fill in
temporally,at least until the Baptist Association sends us a replacement.”
“Maddie, aren't you the Sunday school teacher?”
Maddie didn't like her friends tone.
“Yes, but Fred was suppose to help. I can't handle twenty preschoolers by myself!”
“Yes you can Maddie. If Jesus could feed the multitudes, you can handle twenty, out of control four and five year old's.” Rose let out a hearty laughter.
“Not funny Rose. Not funny.”
“Hey, I gotta run. I'm going to be late for my fitting.”
“Sure. See you later?”
“Of course. At dinner.”
“We'll talk then.”
She envied her friend. Rose was getting married in four weeks. Maddie knew she shouldn't, but she wished she was the one getting married.
She felt alone and in a lurch. With less than two weeks until Christmas, twenty screaming preschoolers and a church that was depending on her, Maddie needed a miracle.
She left her office and went into the decorated sanctuary. Huge live pine wreaths hung on the stained glass windows. Poinsettias lined the alter. Maddie stopped and took in all the beauty that surrounded her. The scent of Christmas floated in the air. She inhaled the sweet, strong smell of cinnamon.
Maddie made her way to the decorated alter. A feeling of sadness overwhelmed her. The tears
began fall. Maddie knelt on the alter steps. “Lord, I am at my wits end. I really need your help. I really need a miracle right now.”
She was deep in thought and didn't hear the door to the sanctuary open or the footsteps approaching the alter.
Joe pulled his car into the space reserved for the pastor. “Well Lord, I'm here. Now what?” He
turned off the ignition and exited the vehicle. The church was small, but not tiny. It looked old. Joe paused before entering the building.
He didn't see any other vehicles and was thankful. He wanted to get settled before meeting the
parishioners. Joe proceeded inside and stopped. His gaze locked onto a figure kneeling at the alter. He wasn't alone. Someone else was in the church.
Maddie blew out the candle and wiped her tears away. “Lord, I'm leaving it in your hands.”
A wonderful, peaceful feeling came over her. Maddie got up, turned around and almost ran into Joe.
Her face turned beet red. “Oh, I'm sorry,”she stammered. “I... thought I was alone.”
“No need to apologize,” Joe extended his hand. “I'm the new pastor, Joe Walker.”
“Yes. I'm filling in for Pastor Fred until after Christmas.”
Maddie felt awkward standing in front of a stranger, even if he was pastor.
“I'm Maddie Pierce, the Sunday school teacher.”
“Nice to meet you Maddie.”
“I didn't know Pastor Fred's replacement would be coming this soon?”
“I didn't know myself,”Joe laughed to ease the tension.
“Where are my manners? Let me show you to Pastor Fred's office. I mean your office.”
Maddie led Joe down the corridor to what would be his temporary home for the next five
“This is it. It's not much. If you need anything I'll be in the Sunday school room down the hall
to the left.”
“Thank you Maddie. I think I can manage.”
What was she thinking, of course he could manage. He was a pastor.
Joe was left to settle into his new office and his new position. The office was cramped, not much moving
around room. It was decorated with elements of Christmas and the Lord's Supper hung behind the mahogany
desk. The office wasn't what he was used to, but it was where the Lord had led him.
He lit a cinnamon scented candle and sat down in the leather chair. “Lord, thank for this wonderful opportunity and blessings. Amen.” Joe examined Pastor Fred's sermon notes. The writing was illegible.
Joe tried to focus on the words the former pastor had written down, but his thoughts drifted to the pretty Sunday school teacher down the hall. He tossed the papers on the desk and made his way down the hall to the preschool classroom. Joe prayed Mattie wouldn't mind the intrusion.
Maddie stood in the middle of twenty hyper preschoolers all vying for her undivided attention.
Lord give me patience.
“Miss Mattie. Miss Mattie. Pick me. Pick me,” the young voices echoed.
Mattie tensed at the sound of Joe's deep voice. The children quietened down when Joe entered
“Pastor Joe, what a pleasant surprise. Come in and meet the children.”
“I hope you don't mind? I wanted to meet our little ones.”
“Of course not. Children, let's show our new pastor what we've learned.”
The children settled down and formed a circle around Mattie.
Joe grabbed a nearby chair and waited for the children to begin.
Mattie was nervous. She twisted her ponytail. They had practiced at least a dozen times, but never performed in front of a stranger. She clapped her hands twice to get the children's attention.
“Alright children, let's begin.”
Mattie pressed the play button on the CD player and music filled the small Sunday school room. The preschoolers lined up in front of her and started to sing. Mattie's nerves calmed once the children began. Their squeaky voices rose above the music.Blessed baby Jesus. Blessed baby Jesus. Oh how we adore you. Oh how we love you. They repeated the tune twice before Mattie switched off the music.
Her faced beamed with joy. She was so proud of her little group.
“OK class, criss cross applesauce.” And with that direction the preschoolers sat cross-legged
on the stained-glass colored carpet.
Mattie walked over to where Joe was seated.
He embraced her.
“How do you get them to cooperate?”
Mattie fumbled her words. “I... I guess they just like me.”
“Well, of course they do and you're doing a wonderful job with them.”
Parents began to filter in and they didn't get a chance to finish their private conversation.
“Come on. I'll introduce you to the parents of our littlest members.”
Mattie watched Joe embrace each parent as if he'd known them forever. He was a handsome
man. Not too tall, maybe five nine. His dark brown hair was cut short and neat and his eyes...
His eyes were an incomprehensible shade of blue.
The parent's seemed to like him and the children gravitated toward him. Mattie had found
her assistant, Pastor Joe Walker. She would enlist his help with the pageant. Mattie prayed Joe
would accept the challenge.
After the parent's left with Mattie's little charges she and Joe were the only ones left in the
church. She busied herself and began to straighten up things.
“Here, let me help.”
“Thanks Pastor Joe.”
“Please call me Joe.”
They continued putting things away.
“Maddie if you don't mind me asking, how long have you been teaching the little ones?”
“No, of course not. I got my position right after Thanksgiving.”
“So, only a few weeks then?”
“Yes. I got hired right after Miss Peggy became ill.”
“Pastor Fred's sister.”
“Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.”
He laughed. “I meant I'm sorry to hear about Miss Peggy.”
“She became ill about a week before Thanksgiving and Pastor Fred ask me to take over.”
“I could see how much you enjoyed working with the preschoolers.”
Mattie's face lit up. “Oh yes! It's very fulfilling.”
“Mattie, I have another question. Where will I stay?”
“Yes. I didn't see a parsonage.”
“There isn't one. Pastor Fred lived with his sister. There's never been a need.”
“I guess I could stay at the motel.”
Mattie shook her head. “There's not one. Sorry.”
“I guess I wasn't prepared.”
“I'm getting ready to head home. Why don't you join me and my folks for dinner?”
“Mattie, I couldn't impose.”
“It's not an imposition. My folks would love to meet the new pastor and we could figure out