Excerpt from Gifts from Jesus
Noticing the snowy winter scene on the calendar, Savanna counted only ten days until Christmas. Here in Las Vegas it didn’t even feel like Christmas. The sun was shining brightly, and some of the neighbors still had green grass and a rainbow of flowers in their yards. She frowned, disappointed in herself for not having more Christmas spirit this year. She didn’t sign up to help at the school for the holiday parties or send out the annual Clark Christmas card. She hadn’t even baked any Christmas goodies.
Usually, Savanna had Christmas planned out months in advance. Gifts were purchased and wrapped well before Thanksgiving, covered in old blankets and hidden away in her closet where her curious children couldn’t find them. She always planned a holiday party for their friends and loved giving gifts to neighbors. But the past two years had changed all that. Because construction work had slowed, her husband had received several pay cuts at work. Last Christmas had been small, with simple gifts and less elaborate celebrating, but it had still been enjoyable. She was worried about this year, though. There was no longer enough money for anything extra, even gifts. Tears of frustration pricked her blue eyes as she thought about her two children waking up Christmas morning to no gifts under the tree.
Savanna shook her head and pursed her lips. She was not going to cry. Instead, she looped her long, brown hair into a messy ponytail and started cleaning to take her mind off their money, or lack of it. But, as she tidied the kitchen and emptied the dishwasher a bitter childhood memory entered her mind. It’s just like the Christmas when I was nine. That year all I got were hand-me-down clothes and books from my cousin.
The sound of the front door closing startled Savanna. She checked the clock. It was too early for the kids to come home from school.
Drying her hands on a dish towel, Savanna walked through the kitchen into the living room. She found her husband slumped over on the couch, his head resting in his hands.
“Michael, why are you home so early? Are you sick?”
Michael looked up at his wife and shook his head. “There’s still no work. We all got sent home early with half a paycheck. We’ll see if I still have a job after Christmas.”