Jamie set the chunk of wood in the fireplace and knew he’d never be able to do that again. He would be losing his home, at the start of the new year. It was an old house, decrepit and falling apart, but it was his. Now, because of all the factories and warehouses being built, his home was being taken from him, unfairly he thought, just because of eminent domain. That the city thought they could just take his home, for just pennies on the dollar, didn’t sit well with him. Especially when there were dozens of empty warehouses spread throughout the city, as it was.
As he tottered back to his chair, he thought back over the last 50 years. He’d married the love of his life, Margaret. They’d never had children, but they’d had a good life. He had been a postal worker for forty years, right out of high school. It had provided for him and his wife; it wasn’t what he’d planned on, but the job did right by him. His wife had been a cashier for the local Five ’n’ Dime store, until she’d retired. Within a year of her retirement, she’d come down sick and died. He’d been making due without his love for the past five years.
As he settled in his recliner, there was a knock at the door, surprising a jump from him. He rose again, groaning as his knees clicked and unfolded, and shuffled to the door. He looked through the peephole and saw nothing. He turned to return to his chair, but was surprised again by pounding at the door. This time, he looked out the peephole and saw a man in a suit standing there. Not there a moment ago, thought Jamie.
He opened up the door and saw the gentleman standing there, a little sheepishly, with his hands in front of him, holding a package. “Can I help you, young man?” asked Jamie.
The man grinned and shifted the package to one hand. “I’m sorry to disturb you, sir. I know it’s Christmas Eve and all. But I had some trouble with my car. Could I come in and use the phone?” asked the suited gentleman.
Jamie stood back as he opened the door to allow entry. “Go ahead, young man. Come in from the cold. Besides, you aren’t disturbing too much. Just an old man enjoying a fire….” Jamie smiled as the young man stomped the snow off of his shoes and entered.
“My name is Beau. Sounds like a bow, but spelled like beautiful. Fire sounds nice. Thanks for letting me in. Sure is cold out tonight.” Beau thanked Jamie. He held out his empty hand toward Jamie as he came in, as if waiting to shake hands. Jamie shook hands and proceeded to shut the door.
“Phone’s in here. Make your call and then holler when you’re done. I’ll be in the kitchen making us some hot cocoa.” Replied Jamie.
Jamie shuffled down the hallway to the kitchen, leaving the guest to his phone call in the foyer. As Jamie swung the kitchen door open, he glanced back at the younger man. He didn’t normally allow people just to come in, but there was something different about this one… He could feel it.
Five minutes later, the younger man swept into the kitchen as well, Jamie setting the hot cocoa tin on the counter. “I’ve only got the packet cocoa tonight. Do you prefer milk or water in your cocoa?” Questioned Jamie.
“Oh, milk please.” Replied Beau. “I find that if you use milk, it’s got a creamier taste to it. It just tastes better, don’t you think?”
“Man after my own heart. So what’s got you out so late tonight? I thought most gentlemen of your age would be home with your family already, enjoying all the Christmas festivities.” Jamie stated. He waited patiently to see if Beau would answer.
“I’m not your typical family man. I’m actually on the job right now. I’m kind of a special… delivery man, if you will. I help to make sure certain things go smoothly.” responded the guest.
“Is that so? I was a postal worker, myself. I delivered mail and packages for forty years. Never missed a day, if I could help it.” Responded Jamie, pouring warm milk into a mug. As he handed the mug over, Jamie smiled at the memory. “It may not have been my dream job at first, but I grew to love it. I met lots of interesting people over the years. And their pets, too.”
Beau sipped the hot cocoa in his cup and smiled back at the aging postman. “So what about you? Have anything special planned for your Christmas this year, Jamie?”
Jamie glanced up at his guest as he poured the packet of powder into his own warmed milk. He didn’t remember mentioning his own name, but sometimes his memory was a bit fuzzy. He must’ve given his name. “Nothing special for me. Just enjoying a nice fire tonight. Planning on doing some packing in the next couple of weeks. I have to move from here at the beginning of the year. That’s something I definitely don’t look forward to.” he explained.
“Beau, how did you know my name? I don’t recall giving it to you. Did I? Or am I remembering right?” questioned Jamie.
“You didn’t give me your name, Jamie. But I know who you are. I’m on a mission, like I said.” Reprised Beau. As he spoke, he began to shine, just a touch, as Jamie watched.
“Just what do you mean? How do you know me?” Interrogated Jamie. “I’ve never met you. I’ve never forgotten a face. Who are you?”
“I have been sent to give you a gift. Jesus loves you and wanted to celebrate His birthday with you.” Replied Beau. As he said this, he reached for the box sitting on the chair next to him. He slid across the counter towards Jamie.
Jamie picked up the package, gingerly, with less suspicion than he thought he should have. As he pulled on the red ribbon tied beautifully around the unopened package, his eyes began to fill with tears.
Inside the package, Jamie saw an invitation card. It read: “You’re cordially invited to celebrate the Birth and Forever Life with Jesus on this December 24. You have run a good race and this is your finish line. Congratulations!”
Jamie looked up and smiled at the curious visage of Beau. “What is this?” questioned the teary fellow. “Is this true?”
“Yes, this is true. You’ll be greeted by the Big Guy Himself, as well as you’re wife. If you’d just follow me…” Beau answered, getting to his feet.
As Jamie walked around the counter, he noticed that there were visible wings on his visitor’s back. Jamie smiled in wonder, as he and his guest walked out of the kitchen, down the hall, and disappeared into the effervescent glow of afterlife.