The Day Hope Came to Town is a continuation of a story I wrote titled, The Crosses of Hope. I hope you will enjoy the next chapter in the lives of Ben, Lizzy, and Beth Thompson and their selflessness, acceptance, and an abundance of love for everyone they meet.
The Day Hope Came to Town
” This was the best Christmas ever!” shouted Beth as she and her mom and dad walked home from the barn that held the evergreens decorated with one word, describing her mother and father, topped off by a huge white paper star with each neighbor’s name written in big letters.
Lizzy and Ben looked at their daughter who made the impossible happen. Who single-handedly saved their home. Who made a difference with her paintings. And who taught their neighbors the true meaning of compassion.
Behind the Thompson’s, walked all the townspeople carrying overflowing baskets of can goods, cakes, pies, and candy, and one small oval white basket with holly tied to the handle. Tucked down under the rim were envelopes, some small and some large filled with everything from a few pennies to twenty dollars. The townspeople who had little gave much to help their neighbors. It wasn’t surprising since Ben was always ready to help his friends no matter the situation. His crosses of hope adorned the only cemetery, bringing peace to families during their darkest hours while building faith for a brighter tomorrow.
On their way through the meadow, there was the talk of a new family. A foreign family who was living in a tent near the creek just behind the town’s church. “Ben, did you hear a family is camping by the creek?” asked David. ” No, this is the first, I am hearing about it,” replied Ben with a look of concern on his weather worn face. Ben stopped and looked at David then looked up at the sky. It was clouding up, and the temperature was dropping.
Ben became very quiet as he turned and continued walking towards the hill that led to his homestead. As Ben walked, he took hold of Lizzy’s hand and started thanking God for his generous neighbors, for his loving wife, and daughter. Then Ben asked God to bless the new family living by the creek. Before he said his quiet amen, he asked God for one more thing, “Please put me in a place of need. ” He glanced over at Lizzy and smiled, then continued walking home blinking as the snow started to fall harder, and the restless wind whistled through the sleeping trees.
The caravan of townspeople followed the grateful family up to their front door, then forming a single line, carried each basket into the house. It reminded Beth of a parade without a marching band but filled with a harmony of love, connecting each heart.
Lizzie was overwhelmed as the baskets covered the table, chairs and the long dark walnut deacon’s bench in the corner under the window with the ivory lace curtain.
As her eyes traveled slowly, starting with the youngest child, then to each of the men and women standing in her kitchen, Lizzy usually strong, but now feeling weak in the knees, cleared her throat, swallowed hard, and said in a soft voice, ” Dear friends, my heart is full of love for each one of you.” She swayed just a little, hesitating to find the right words, then continued, “Your selfless generosity, giving so much, when you have little yourselves, and the love you have shone my family and me, is beyond understanding.”
” Lizzy, you Ben, and Beth taught us the real meaning of giving. Although I cannot speak for the others, I watched you, dear friend, visit many of the townspeople when they were sick,” said Mary Hildabrant. “You and Ben brought enough food for five days, and a carved cradle when I had my baby,” continued Louella Johnson with tears welling up in her eyes.
“I remember watching you walk through a foot of snow to bring a basket of baked goods when John Elliot’s mother died,” smiled Catherine Lewis. As Lizzy looked around the room, she saw heads nodding yes in unison. The room became silent, then, Mayor Allen stepped forward, cleared his voice while looking at the Thompson family, and started, “Ben, Lizzy, Beth, what we are all getting at is that the three of you are the generous ones. For years, you helped to carry our burdens. It didn’t matter the season, the weather, or the reason why. You were there with your boxes of food, clothes, what money you could spare, your loving arms, and your kind words. You prayed for us and with us. You changed our hearts, with your generous hearts, and for that we are grateful.” Everyone in the small kitchen shared a sediment with the family before Asher looked out the window and announced that the snow was coming down harder and suggested everyone head for home before the Thompson’s had overnight guests.
All three of the Thompson’s stood by the door thanking their friends again; Lizzy and Beth hugged each one tightly, while Ben shook hands. Merry Christmas was said by all as the three Thompson’s watched lovingly as the townspeople walked together in one big group down the hill, singing Christmas hymns. Beth sang along with them as she stood watching from the frosty kitchen window. The hymns were beautiful. Their angelic voices filled her heart with peace.
As the choir headed down through the meadow, she thought she saw a dozen angels circling above and around the people she loved. Beth smiled as she thought back to the night when Jesus was born and wondered how many angels circled the little baby swaddled in a white cloth lying in a manger.
Stay tuned to find out more about, The Day Hope Came to Town. Coming soon!