Sheila Moore looked out from her front door, and moaned deep within her as large snowflakes fell from the dark grey sky. “It’s sticking!” she exclaimed as she raced to her car, and the relative warmth inside. “Why she had put her name down to help at the church’s Christmas fair was beyond her,” she thought as the car rumbled into life. “I don’t do things like that!” She turned the car into Summer Road and sighed as her house disappeared from sight. Sheila concentrated on the ever increasing snow fall. It was getting worse. She’ll never make to St. Mark’s now. She looked at her watch and read half-past-eleven. The fair was supposed to start at two, but of course they had to set everything up, didn’t they. “I blame the new vicar,” she complained. “She’s VERY persuasive!” She was a Christian, but she liked a quiet life really, helping out wasn’t really her thing. The traffic stopped, looking like a giant segmented metal snake with red flickering lights on its long, long body. Sheila rubbed her steamed up window and looked to her left. The cars on the other side seemed to be travelling faster than she was. The car in front moved slightly, Sheila pressed the accelerator and her car moved about an inch. She hit the steering wheel with a right hand fist. “Look God!” she protested. “If you want me to get to this Christmas fair, do something!” It was a week before the big day. The Vicar thought it might be more Christmassy.
The Rev Brenda Sunday was a nice woman, a bit rounded in stature, and changed her hair colour quicker than an atomic clock, but you felt God was in there somewhere. Suddenly to Sheila’s utter despair the traffic melted away like melting ice. “Great!” she thought, she was going to get to St. Mark’s after all. The old Victorian church loomed out of the snow blizzard with its lights blaring like a multi-coloured lighthouse on its magnificent hill. Sheila parked her car in the church lot and entered the church hall through the modern plastic doors. Stalls were going up like quick growing mustard seed. Soon Sheila was helping too, setting things up, putting items on the table for the tombola, the tea and coffee on the far side of the church, and her stall of bric a’ brac. Suddenly something caught her eye. It was a small white porcelain angel figure that seemed to want to be at the front of her stall for some strange reason. “Two o’clock, everyone,” said the vicar, opening the doors to the half frozen, snowman like covered public, shaking the heavy snow from their coats.
The sound of ‘Slade’s so here it is Merry Christmas’ echoed around the hall. Suddenly a large robust man entered the church; in a grey pin striped suit and a black duffle coat full of snowflakes. He had a long white beard, too, and had a happy bellowing laugh. She nudged her friend with her elbow and said that he looked like ‘Father Christmas!’ Both laughed knowing fore well he was just a story wasn’t he. Suddenly this Christmas came over to the stall. “How much for the Angel?” he asked in a deep voice. “Something the missus would like, she likes Angels,” he said putting the Angel back down on the table for a moment. “Two pounds,” said Sheila putting out her left hand. Christmas put his hand in his coat pocket and then handed her two pound coins.
Sheila said thank you and turned to her friend while putting the two coins in the ancient metal box that held the float. From the corner of her eye she noticed Christmas had gone to the food stall and bought some mince pies. Sheila smiled as she saw Christmas leave the church hall and into the blizzard outside. Suddenly she noticed the angel was still lying on the table. She moved round and grabbed it, running after Christmas. “It’s a Christian thing to do,” she thought entering the heavy blizzard without a coat. She battled through the snow in the car park and to her utter surprise she spotted him standing in the middle of the lot. Sheila gasped as the snow stopped without warning. Christmas turned around spotting this church goer freezing to death. Sheila’s eyes almost popped out of her eye sockets as golden and crimson magical stars engulfed the old man. Sheila dropped the angel seeing the magical transformation. There was silence. She looked down and saw the angel was floating in mid-air then slowly moved into the red gloved hands of ‘Father Christmas.’ “But, But…,” said Sheila. Not believing her eyes as the sleigh and legendary reindeer materialised on the snow in the same golden and crimson hues. Father Christmas beckoned her to come forward. Suddenly out of nowhere he wrapped a new warm winter coat around her. “A present for you,” he said smiling. “I visit one church or fair every year. Just to see what’s going on and get the feel of the place.” “Why me?” she asked. “You’ve become disillusioned with Christmas, and forgot what it is. It’s not just Jesus’ birthday, and presents, but it’s the giving from the heart. It’s the free act of kindness in any way all year round.” Sheila nodded getting warm in her new coat and in her human heart. Suddenly they heard a ‘NO WAY!’ in the background and the sound of someone falling onto deep snow. “Ruth,” said Sheila. The ancient legend nodded and stepped into the sleigh. “I thought you had metal skies?” she said noticing the strange cylindrical tubes in place of the skies. “Wrap drive,” said Father Christmas. “I can be everywhere in any time and place at the same time, as I told a young magical mouse a few years ago around St. Paul’s Church.” “So that’s how you do it,” said Sheila walking over to her friend now slightly covered in snow as small flakes began to fall. “I’ve turned off the time lock,” said the ancient myth. Suddenly he waved goodbye and the reindeer and sleigh lifted into the faster falling snow. “Did I see …?” asked Ruth looking at her friend as she helped her too her feet. Sheila nodded. Ruth fainted again. Sheila smiled. She had a present from Father Christmas.