Fall on your knees,
Oh hear the angel voices,
Oh night divine,
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine, oh night divine.
—Oh Holy Night, Christmas Hymn
Yikes … Less Than Three Weeks till Christmas!
Goodness, it’s like last week (Thanksgiving for 30 people and a baby shower the next day) was the pistol shot that started me on a holiday treadmill too fast for these old bones. Been off and running ever since, and I’m pretty sure each of you are doing the same.
Sooooo … to save us both a little time, not only am I keeping my Journal Jot short and sweet this week, BUT … I’m kicking off a fun holiday contest where TWO people will win a signed copy of any of my books PLUS … a copy of my Christmas novella, A Whisper of Hope, Charity and Mitch’s story that is part of the Hope for the Holidays Historical Collection! So, here are the details:
HOLIDAY VIDEO CONTEST!!!
1.) All you have to do is watch the video for A Light in the Window, find a typo in it and tell me what that typo is via an email through my website at CONTACT JULIE, and you are automatically entered. One point for each typo found. Here’s the video link:
2.) If you are a Journal Jot reader, let me know that in the email, and you will receive an extra point.
3.) If you get anyone else to watch the video, send me their names, and you will get a point for each person who watches it. NOTE: This contest is on the honor system, so please do not provide names unless you are absolutely sure they watched the video, okay?
4.) Contest ends Dec. 31st, and winners will be announced in the January 2nd Journal Jot.
TWO OPPORTUNITIES TO WIN!
— Person with most points … will win a signed copy of any of my books and an ecopy of Hope for the Holidays Historical Collection. If there is a tie among those with the most points, a name will be drawn from those who tie.
— Random drawing winner … will be selected among all entries to win a signed copy of any of my books and an ecopy of Hope for the Holidays Historical Collection. One point enters you in the drawing, but additional points increase your chances.
Well, that’s it — TWO chances to win TWO books, so GOOD LUCK!
And now, since we’re having an A Light in the Window contest, I thought it would be fun to show you a favorite excerpt of mine from that book which centers around the Christmas carol Oh Holy Night. This is the scene where Marcy and Sr. Francine are having rehearsals for the fundraiser play, A Light in the Window.
Hugs and Happy Reading!
A Light in the Window
Marcy’s smile was warm. “Callbacks will be announced at the end of this evening, and those selected will return for a second audition next week. Final cast, choir, and crew will be chosen then and given a rehearsal packet with everything they need to know. Anything else?” She glanced to and fro throughout the auditorium, ignoring Sam and Patrick who grinned at her from where they stood in the back, slanted to the wall with arms folded. “Then, let’s begin.”
Two hours later, Marcy had a headache from off-key singing, slaughtered diction, and Sister’s Francine’s whistle, giving her pause as to her sanity in agreeing to the job as fundraiser chair. Kneading her temple, she glanced up to see a young boy who had auditioned for the cast pushing a small girl in a wheelchair to the front of the stage.
With a scrub of shaggy brown hair, he approached with a solemn smile and a nod of respect. “Sister, Miss Murphy, my name is Nate Phillips, and this here is my sister Holly.” He took another step forward, cap in hand and voice fading to a whisper. “She’s only seven, but Ma asked me to bring her ‘cause, well you see, Holly doesn’t get to do too much on account of she’s crippled, you know, so Ma thought …” His Adam’s apple wobbled several times. “Well, she hoped you’d consider letting Holly audition because of her name and all, seeing it has to do with Christmas and that’s her birthday too.” He leaned in, a glimmer of moisture in his eyes as he twisted his hat with his fingers, voice lowering all the more. “You don’t have to pick her, understand, just let her read and sing ‘cause she’s real good at both, you know, and Ma just thought that alone would be enough to make her happy.”
Marcy blinked, the boy’s face watering into a blur. She swallowed hard to fight a heave, but it was no use, it broke from her lips in a shuddering rasp.
Sister Francine patted her arm and spoke to the boy with a firm lift of her chin. “If your sister took the time to come and audition tonight, young man, then audition she will.” She glanced up at Julie. “Miss O’Rourke, will you please hand this young man both a script and music for his sister, please.”
The young boy, all of twelve, looked as if he might break down and cry himself, jaw aquiver while tears welled in his eyes. “Thank you, Sister,” he whispered, then grabbed Marcy’s hand, shaking it as if he were pumping water for a man dying of thirst. Or maybe a sister … “Bless you, Miss Murphy, and you too, Sister Francine—Holly ain’t never had nothing like this happen to her before, so bless you!” He whirled around and rushed to give Holly a hug, then took the papers that Julie gave him and handed them to her as well. With a squeeze of her shoulders, he stepped aside.
Marcy took a quick swipe at her eyes and leaned forward, awarding Holly the brightest smile she could muster. She noted the faded calico dress the little girl wore that appeared three sizes too big and a pale face that made her appear like a china doll with liquid-brown eyes. “Holly, are you ready to read from the script?”
The little girl nodded, chestnut hair trailing fragile shoulders as she gave Marcy a sweet smile. “Yes, ma’am,” she whispered, her voice so soft and wispy, Marcy worried that no one would be able to hear.
“Start at the beginning, then, sweetheart, reading the script just like you’re that little girl in the play who’s excited about Christmas, all right?”
Holly nodded again and paused … right before she belted out the lines as if they were coming from an entirely different little girl.
“Excellent!” Marcy said with a grin when Holly had finished. “Are you ready to sing, and do you know the Christmas carol, Oh, Holy Night?”
“Perfect!” Marcy glanced up at the piano. “Julie, let’s try C major, all right?”
Whether it was the fact that it was late and everyone was tired or whether it was the sight of a frail little girl in a wheelchair who longed to be a part of the play, the room stilled to a hush. Marcy’s breath suspended as she waited, the pounding of her own pulse in her ears drowning out Julie’s musical intro. And then, in the sweet and soulful song of a little girl, a steamy and noisy auditorium became the gate of heaven itself as a sound so poignant rose in the room, Marcy had no power over the tears that slipped from her eyes.
For several thudding heartbeats after the last note was sung, the silence was almost painful, an ache in Marcy’s chest over the loss of a voice that had ushered them into the very presence of God. And then, in a blast of applause that swelled to the ceiling, the audience shot to their feet along with Marcy and Sister Francine, dewy-eyed over a delicate little girl who may not be able to walk, but whose voice could soar to the sky.
After a whisper in Sister Francine’s ear and Sister’s subsequent nod, Marcy hurried to give Holly a hug, kneeling to clasp the little girl’s hands in her own. “Holly, that was simply the most beautiful thing we have ever heard,” she said with a sheen in her eyes, “and we want you to know right now, young lady, that not only are we giving you a part in this play, but we want you to sing that very song as well. Would you like that?”
Brown eyes as glossy as Marcy’s blinked back when Holly nodded, her rosebud mouth quivering along with her jaw. “Oh, yes, ma’am,” she whispered, flinging herself into Marcy’s arms with a chuckle that broke into a sob.
Marcy squeezed the little sprite of a thing, eyes closed and heart rejoicing that even now, before this play came to pass, it was changing lives as Marcy had hoped and prayed. That it wouldn’t just be a mere fundraiser, but a spirit raiser as well, touching people with the grace of God. Jumping to her feet, she hurried to pull two rehearsal packets from Papa’s portfolio and handed them to Holly’s brother, who now stood by her side. “Nate, please give these to your mother so she knows the exact dates Holly and you will need to be here. There’s a full script inside each packet, so you need to practice both of your parts together. You will play the part of Daniel, and Holly will play the part of Sara—” She paused, her eyes softening as they lighted on his sister once again. “No, wait—Holly will play herself.” She glanced up and gave Nate a wink. “Since it is a Christmas play and all.”
He stared, mouth agape before it curved into a silly grin. “Yes, ma’am, and thank you, ma’am!” he gushed, cranking her hand so hard once again, she was sure she’d be sore come morning.
“Why don’t you take Holly home now so you can tell your mother the good news, and no need to come back until the first rehearsal date, all right?”
“Yes, ma’am!” he shouted, and took Marcy by surprise when he bowled her over with a hug that had her grinning ear to ear. She watched Nate wheel his sister away and sighed, returning to her seat next to Sister Francine.
“I’ll tell you what, young lady,” Sister Francine said with a smile that displayed a rare show of tenderness, “it’s moments like this that weaken my resolve to be an old crab.”
DECEMBER 1-7, 2014:
Join me on the Carole Jarvis’ blog for an interview and giveaway of winner’s choice of any of my books, including my latest release, Surprised by Love!
FREEBIES & SALES:
MITCH & CHARITY CHRISTMAS NOVELLA RELEASES NOVEMBER 10 FOR ONLY $2.99! WHOO-HOO … I am very excited to announce that I am part of a Seeker Historical Christmas novella collection called Hope for the Holidays that not only features a story on Mitch and Charity, but novellas by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, and Myra Johnson.
In addition to this historical collection, The Seekers are also releasing a contemporary Hope for the Holidays collection as well, so be sure to check both out on Amazon November 10.
Here’s the blurb for Mitch and Charity’s story, which is called A Whisper of Hope:
Christmas is the season of hope, which is exactly what Charity O’Connor Dennehy is counting on. Since the birth of her twins twelve years ago, she’s prayed and hoped for a houseful of babies to love, but it wasn’t meant to be. With a husband dead-set against adoption, there’s barely a whisper of hope to change his mind, but if hope doesn’t disappoint … could it be enough to find a precious bundle under her tree?
FREE Download of
A Passion Most Pure!
ACFW Debut Book of the Year & almost 300 5-star reviews can’t be wrong! See why some have read it 20 times!
CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW IS FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED!! My Irish Christmas love story, A Light in the Window—winner of three awards—is ABSOLUTELY FREE on Kindle Unlimited, so do check it out. Here’s the video my hubby did for A Light in the Window with my daughter as the model for both the book and video, so take a peek to get you in the Christmas spirit. ALITW Video.