The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt

2012 December 12
by faylamb

Read Chapter Seven Part One here.

Chapter Seven Part Two

By Fay Lamb

 

“When I stepped back on the lighted path the Lord had for me, I was determined to get back to my roots. So, I found my grandfather. He was one of the last lighthouse keepers who lived on the grounds.”

I was glad for Matt, glad he had found his way back to his grandfather and to the Lord. But I had lost that path a long time ago. And there was no light in sight to guide me back to it.

Then I thought of my sister. What if Lauren was having trouble finding her way as well? Grammie and I were all the family she’d had, except for the baby. I’d been angry with Lauren for her failure to return home for Grammie’s funeral, but maybe I’d stood in Lauren’s way. She couldn’t find her way home because of my anger. Had I darkened the path for her?

Matt raised his arm, refocusing my attention, and traced the long beam with his finger. “For hundreds of years, this light or one similar to it has been a beacon in the darkness to sailors and landlubbers alike.”

Unbidden, a long forgotten memory verse stole into my mind. “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

I shook my head to rid my mind of the intrusive words. Where on earth had that come from? And what did it mean? That all I had to do was follow Jesus and my life would be flooded with light again? Yeah right. If only life was that simple.

Matt touched my arm. “Ready?”

A moment crept by before I forced myself from my reverie. When I looked at Matt, warmth glowed in the depths of his blue-green eyes. “We have an exhibit in the keeper’s house I think you’ll find interesting.”

I clopped down the iron steps of the well-lit tower right on his heels.

Matt escorted me across the courtyard and into the ground floor of the building there. “Not the same place Pops lived. That burned down in the 70s, but let me show you this.” He led me to a Plexiglas and wood case. I ran my hand along the clear top as I perused the items from left to right. At the end, I stopped, looked closer, and turned to Matt.

His raised eyebrows told me he’d been waiting for me to make the discovery.

“May I hold it?” I asked, breathless. Grammie was so full of surprises, and this had to be a clue to the ornament I’d been sent to find.

“Since my family loaned it to the museum, I don’t see why not.” He pulled out his keys and slipped one into the lock on the side. After sliding the lid to the left, he pulled out my treasure.

My hands shook as I held the paper filled with Grammie’s familiar scrawl.

Dearest Lester and Henny:

Your beautiful gift arrived today. It was a special reminder to us of our honeymoon, and just a few days ago, we placed it on our first Christmas tree.

Matt touched my shoulder. “I’ll leave you alone while I make sure the grounds are secure.”

I nodded and continued to read:

In your letter, you called me the light of your lives. But I’m not that light. All glory to God. I’m just happy I’m the instrument He used to place the Light into your hearts. Christ is like the beacon in that wonderful lighthouse. Only He can lead you to a life of peace no matter your circumstances.

I continue to pray that God will deliver a precious child into your loving hands. The Great Physician is capable of healing Henny’s womb but lean upon God. He often has better plans for us than we could ever know.

Merry Christmas,

Beatrice

December 22, 1956

Matt’s footstep echoed on the wooden porch. When the door opened, free-flowing tears prevented me from turning to him.

He touched my shoulder as he came behind me. “Pops told everyone his testimony,” Matt said, “about how this sweet lady and her husband honeymooned nearby. Pops had just learned of his transfer from duty here, had no idea where the Coast Guard would send him, and Grandma had learned she could never conceive. The woman prayed with them and listened. She told them about the Light of the world, and they did the listening. For Christmas that year, they received genuine peace.”

“Did you know she was my grandmother?” I handed him the letter.

He tucked it into the case, locked it safely inside, then turned to face me. “Yes, but not because of the letter. Grace … Lauren and I are friends.”

My mouth hung open.

He winked. “Your grandmother’s prayers are the reasons I’m here.”

I cleared my throat. “The reason you were born?”

“No, that would be God.” He scrunched his face and pretended to knock on my head as if listening for a hollow sound. “The reason the Light led me here—to my roots. Let the tour guide tell you the story of a five-year-old boy called James who used to hang out here and visit Lester Sanderson. He’d bug the man to death. Lester spent hours with him though he was supposed to be working. One day the woman Lester thought was the boy’s mother came to take him home. She told Lester that James was an orphan in her temporary care. Lester and Henny ended up adopting him. James is my father. Then years later, Lester and Henny got a letter from your grandmother to say that she had heard from Lauren about the trouble their grandson Matt was in, and that she was praying for him.”

“H—how do you know Lauren?” I asked as we walked back along the pathway and into the gift shop.

“We both landed in the same place around the same time—a safe haven in Colorado—with a mutual friend of our grandparents. Flo taught us both to trust in God again. Lauren was dealing with—well you know. But she hadn’t invited the demons into her life with bad choices—the way I’d done.”

Lauren hadn’t invited them in. I was just beginning to understand that I had invited the evil into her life. “Are you—do you see Lauren?”

“I haven’t seen her since I left Flo’s. We keep in contact though.” He looked away and then back to me. “She is beautiful—like her twin. Lauren always said you and I’d like each other if we met.”

Lauren had been right. I liked Matt—very much. But why couldn’t my sister have loved someone as gentle and sweet as this man?

Because a guy I’d considered my boyfriend had violated her in the worst way.

I shivered at the thought and looked around the empty gift shop. “I’d hoped to say good-bye to your co-worker.”

Those eyebrows came together again. “Co-worker?”

“Yes, an elderly man. A woman, too.”

“George? I didn’t see him, and the woman was probably our crazy pelican lady.”

“They were in the clearing when we were in the tower.”

“Oh, that’s who you waved to.” He stepped beside me. “Don’t be a stranger, Grace. If you come back, I’ll take you to dinner.”

“It’s a date.” Warmth surged into my cheeks. I’d never been so forward.

“It is a date,” Matt said. “Let me walk you out.”

I stopped when we reached the Christmas tree. I touched the aged hand-painted lighthouse ornament and was surprised when Matt’s fingers brushed against mine. “Pops painted these—a lifelong hobby. He sent one similar to this to your grandmother.”

I took a deep breath. “And you donated these, right?”

He tilted his head, and again the lopsided grin brightened my mood. “How’d you know?”

I stood in silence for a moment before saying good-bye and going to my car. On my seat, a brightly covered package gleamed in the glow of the streetlamp overhead. “Matt,” I whispered. He had to have placed the small wrapped box in my car before he’d greeted me in the gift shop.

I ripped open the gift to find a lighthouse ornament similar to the one in the gift shop. A card lay underneath. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you: I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. John 14:27” Love, Lester and Henrietta Sanderson (Mrs. S.) and Matt.

Peace. It was as elusive as the Light. I was starting to see that I needed both, but how was I to find them? Find Him? I backed my car and pulled closer to where Matt waved good-bye from the gift shop porch.

“Dinner. Movie. Date,” he called.

I leaned over to look at him. “You bet, and please, tell your grandparents I said thank you for the beautiful gift.”

He scratched his head, eyebrows tilted downward.

“Merry Christmas.” I pulled away with a smile. He’d almost had me believing George had been his helper and the elderly woman had been the hunter of an ethereal pelican.

“Of Christmases past, maybe,” Matt had said of his belief in ghosts.

I braked before turning onto the road and thought about going back to ask him.

Instead, I opened up my purse and pulled out the next envelope. Matt was a mystery I looked forward to solving.

But first, on with the treasure hunt. “Where to next, Grammie?” I looked to the heavens and pulled out onto the street.

**This author would like to thank Pattie Tierney, the photographer of the beautiful ornament pictured on this page. I couldn’t find a more appropriate depiction of what I envisioned as Grace’s special treasure find on this leg of her journey. Pattie has a wonderful blog, and she shares some delicious recipes at Olla-Podrida.

Read Chapter Eight Part One by Debbie Roome today!

The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt

Grace takes delivery of a package and her life is turned upside down by nine sealed mystery envelopes from her late grandmother. Grammie’s instructions require Grace to take the journey of her lifetime, not only to far off places, but also into the deepest parts of her heart. As she follows the trail laid out for her and uncovers her family’s darkest secrets, Grace is forced to confront the loss and betrayal that has scarred her past and seek the greatest Christmas Treasure of all.

Read More:

Chapter One by Joan Campbell

Chapter Two by Ruth O’Neil

Chapter Three by J.A. Marx

Chapter Four by Deanna Klingel

Chapter Five by Marji Laine

Chapter Six by Sheryl Holmes

Chapter Seven by Fay Lamb 

Learn more about this fun project at Write Integrity Press.

Debbie Roome is the Featured Author today at WIP, so drop by to read her Favorite Christmas Memory and Recipe.

You’re invited to Magnificent Hope’s Christmas Party so come over and join all the fun!

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