Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

“Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh…”

We strolled from house to house, singing out familiar and beloved Christmas carols. Caroling is one of my favorite Christmas activities, but this year something just didn’t feel right.

It wasn’t the houses. They were beautifully decked out in their Christmas finery with sparkling lights, lush green garlands, and vivid red bows. Reindeer, Santas, snowmen, and nativity figures adorned the lawns. Glittering Christmas trees surrounded by mounds of gaily wrapped presents beckoned through front windows.

“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…”

It wasn’t my fellow carolers, although some of their faces were unfamiliar to me. We had moved from New York a few months earlier. Most of the homes in the development were newly constructed, and many of us had relocated here during the past year. Our fledgling friendships were bound together by the joy of the music and the words we sang.

What was amiss?

It wasn’t the season. Christmas has always been my absolute, hands-down favorite time of year. The crisp days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s usually fly by with all their accompanying hustle and bustle, but still, I delight in each day, savoring the joy of every fleeting minute.

“…Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.”

It certainly wasn’t the reason for the season. Christmas is a holiday that signifies the greatest love story in history. With the birth of the Babe who was born to die, God provided His Son to restore the intimate relationship that we had long lost with the Father. The lights, the evergreen trees, the angels, the presents, all pointed to the greatest gift of all.

So what was wrong? What was it that tugged at me, leaving me with a sensation of something not quite right?

We moved along the sidewalk toward the next house as we finished our song. Hurrying to keep up with the group, I tripped when one of my flip-flops caught on a tuft of grass. As I reached out to steady myself against the trunk of a palm tree, I bumped into a plastic, pink flamingo perched on the lawn. Then I swatted—too late—at the mosquito that had just bitten my arm.

I shrugged off the feeling that something was amiss and turned the page to the next Christmas carol, singing loudly…

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

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  1. Kathy C

    I had difficulty getting into the Christmas spirit this year because of my location — Accra, four degrees north of the Equator, and as such temps were in the upper 80’s! This four-season girl is not used to a WARM Christmas!!!! 😀

  2. celia lucente

    People say that the warm weather takes away from the Christmas experience but as a former northern i rather love the Florida experience. Where else can you walk the beachnin Winter and view the Christmas decorations in the nearby windows? And view including the decorated sailboats and other vessels decorate in bright lights viewed from water or the shore. The great palm trees fronds and neighborhoods that Duncan walk through. To me Christmas is nice no matter where you are! 🙂

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