“The Christmas Scarf” by Liz Johnson

I’m delighted to again be part of A Cup of Christmas Cheer from Guideposts Books. I love everything about the Christmas season. Decorating the tree. Shopping for presents. Listening to Christmas carols. And most of all, celebrating the birth of our Savior with my family. I hope this collection helps you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas this year and for many more to come.

winter in the city The setting:
“The Christmas Scarf” takes place in Philadelphia, leading up to Christmas of 1975, just a few short years after the US pulled out of Vietnam.

The story:
Nurse Kate Sullivan hasn’t seen or heard from her brother in almost ten years, but she’s determined to find him, even if it’s among Philadelphia’s homeless Vietnam veterans. As she passes out free scarves to anyone who will look at her brother’s picture, she thinks she might be getting close to his location. When a new shelter director puts her mission in jeopardy, Kate must decide just how much she’ll risk to find her family.

The inspiration:
When I was little—maybe six or seven—my parents corralled my brother and sister and me to our church on Christmas Eve morning. It was early as we walked into the church’s kitchen and helped prepare a dozen turkeys and every traditional side dish my young mind could imagine. After hours of cooking 12262013feastand setting tables, the front doors were opened. People from the surrounding community filled the foyer and lined up to fill their plates, spending the holiday with people who cared. I spent that day carrying plates for those who couldn’t, helping everyone find a seat, and smiling from ear to ear. The meal wasn’t just for those without food, it was for those who didn’t have anyone to share the holiday with. We became family that day for anyone who didn’t have one. That’s still one of my favorite Christmas memories, and it inspired me to write about the family that we choose and the ones we don’t—especially at Christmastime.

The takeaway:
I hope this story reminds readers of the importance of family—both those we’re born in and those we choose—and that love is worth a risk.

Christmas traditions:
Up until about seven years ago, every Christmas, my dad read the Christmas story from Luke aloud to the family as we gathered around the tree on Christmas morning. Then my niece turned four and started acting out Mary and Joseph’s journey, complete with costumes, props, and a soundtrack. Now that she’s eleven and has the help of four other kids, she directs the pageant. Sometimes it includes puppets and dolls, but always it’s from an honest heart of worship, reminding the whole family of God’s gift. That’s my favorite part of Christmas day.

Your turn:
In “The Christmas Scarf,” Kate knits a scarf for her brother and holds onto it for almost ten years. What’s your favorite homemade gift to give?

liz johnson author 20The storyteller:
By day Liz Johnson is a marketing manager for a Christian publisher. By night she writes romantic suspense novels, including the brand new Navy SEAL Noel, and is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Liz makes her home in Nashville, TN, where she enjoys theater, exploring local music, and making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her nieces and nephews. She loves stories of true love with happily ever afters and shares about her adventures in writing at www.LizJohnsonBooks.com.

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