Angel turned away, weeping, as Kayla was carried away. After a while, Dustin came in. He found her curled on Kayla’s bed, sobbing silently. “Are yu alright?” he asked, gently.
Angel raised her tearstained face. “No, I’m not ok. Why’d Kayla have to go? Things were just getting better?”
Dustin sighed. “I don’t b’ knowin’ why this happens t’ anyone, Angel. The only things I b’ knowin’ are that she’s with the Great King and we have t’ go on with our lives.”
Angel shook her head. “The Great King can’t be real. If he’s real, then why were my parents murdered? Why did my aunt turn me out of her home? Why did Kayla get sick and die?” Angel suddenly became angry. “I haven’t cried in years! The last time I cried was when Mother and Father died! I was tough! But if the Great King was real, I wouldn’t have to be tough! I wouldn’t have to beg just to get a few crusts for Kayla or learn to fight so that the bigger boys wouldn’t beat me and take my only food! But all that did happen, so he can’t be real! He just can’t!” She scowled. “I survived by knowing what’s real and what’s not, not by believing in fairy tales. I don’t plan to stop that now.” She sniffled, her anger dying into despair. “Why even celebrate Yuletide? There’s no real meaning in it. It’s just a time for rich people to flaunt their money and poor people to feel worse than they already do.”
Dustin had no answer for Angel’s rant. He just sat on the bed and held her as she cried, getting out her sadness at everything that had ever gone wrong in her life.
Angel continued to mope for almost a week. Although Dustin did his best to comfort her and she could see for herself how Sir Connor, at least, was working to help the poor, nothing could console her. She ate little, and soon became ill. Then the letter came.
Dustin knocked on the door of Angel’s room. “Angel? Might I b’ allowed in?”
“I guess so,” came the forlorn reply.
Dustin opened the door and walked in. Angel was sitting on the bed, her knees draw up to her chest. She wore a simple, blue dress that her hosts had given her. “How are yu today?” Dustin asked.
Dustin pulled a letter from his pocket. “This letter came for yu. Do yu want t’ read it?”
Angel shrugged again. “I suppose.” Dustin handed her the letter, and she broke the gold wax seal and unfolded the piece of paper. Suddenly, she gasped.
Dustin forced himself to not dash to Angel’s side. “What is it, lass?” he asked.
Angel just shook her head, gazing at the familiar handwriting. She slowly began to read it, each word seeming like a miracle.
Why are you still weeping, Angel? I am not dead, or it does not seem that way to me. In fact, I am more alive here that I ever have been. I am with the Great King now, Angel, and while I cannot come back to you, I am not dead, so don’t cry for me. I am happier than I have ever been! I cannot even begin to describe the country here. It’s absolutely beautiful.
When I was still with you, you once asked me why I thanked the Great King, and I could tell that there were many other questions hidden behind it. I’m sure one of them was “Why do you believe.” Angel, you need to believe in something! The Great King is the One who helped me to stay cheerful in my despair, and were it not for Him, I really would have died. If you now feel an ache, I am sure that it is not only for me but for Him as well. I hope that my letter has brought you hope. Your Friend,
Tears once more ran down Angel’s face, but not tears of hurt. These were tears of sorrow for herself. Kayla’s simply written letter had made an incredible impact. She was right all along and I thought her crazy! I must be the most despicable of friends. She must be alive. Only Kayla knows what I asked her, and she could not write the letter if she was dead. How in the world was I so blind? Words rose unbidden from her heart to her lips, and she whispered “Great King, You know that I never believed in You, but I do now. Please forgive me, though I am not worthy.”
All at once, joy flooded Angel’s heart, washing away all the anger, hatred, and sorrow. She felt strangely light, and a strong, kind voice whispered in her heart. “You will never want, my child. I will keep you safe.”
Angel smiled then, a real smile like she had not smiled in years. “Kayla was right. He is real!” she said.
Dustin smiled. “Aye. That he b’. The Great King is more real than any o’ the other things people believe in this cold, hard world.” He sat down beside Angel, and she fell into his arms. “And He is the reason we celebrate, Angel. We remember what the Great King did for us and what He is doing for us. That is the reason for Yuletide.”
As it turned out, Angel became an enthusiastic follower of the Great King. She was adopted by Dustin, and they both were active in helping the poor. Lady Leslie also came around, and she and Sir Connor did quiet a bit, funding orphanages, starting the first soup kitchen in the city, and much more besides telling others about what needed done. But none of them ever forgot Kayla, the little girl who, through her departure for the Kingdom of Light, changed more lives than could be imagined.
Thanks for reading, and merry Christmas!