Sadly, this Christmas Eve, many families are unable to gather from far and near, as they usually do. But this story perfectly illustrates how only something as extreme as a pandemic can keep us apart from the ones we love at this blessed time of year.
A listener named Phyllis wrote that it was Christmas Eve, 1942. A young woman was waiting, pregnant and alone, for her husband of 4 months, who'd been drafted into the Army and was training to be a pilot somewhere in the Arizona desert. He had written to her that he couldn't get leave, so they would not be together on their first Christmas as husband and wife. Refusing to let herself get discouraged, she kept a light on in the window as she wrapped a few gifts.
Meanwhile, he was way off in Arizona, quietly reading letters from her, when his sergeant came into the barracks and asked what he was doing there on Christmas Eve. When he heard about the soldier’s pregnant wife, the sarge gave him permission to go home. But that was just the first obstacle down.
The young private grabbed a few belongings and raced to find any way to get back to California. But there were no more trains or buses that night. So he walked to the nearest highway and stuck out his thumb.
Somehow, he hitchhiked 450 miles home. His last ride dropped him off several miles from the cottage where his pregnant wife was. He walked the last few miles in pitch darkness, assuming that at that late hour, his wife would have long since gone to bed. But as he neared the little house, he saw the light shining in the bedroom window.
When he opened the door, he found his darling, still awake and thrilled to be in his arms again. She'd waited up for him, never giving up hope that her dearest would find some way to be home for Christmas. Phyllis wrote, "This true story was told to me by my dad before he passed away in 2000. The young couple were my parents…And I was the baby they were expecting."
I'm glad that Phyllis’ parents' faith in the power of love to overcome all obstacles was passed down to her, and I thank her for passing their family’s cherished story on to us.