The Christmas Angel - Jessica

“Father, what is my new assignment,” asked Gabriel.

“Her name is Jessica Stone. Her family is going to her grandma’s house for Christmas in upstate Vermont. They are leaving as we speak,” said the Father.

“What would you have me do?” asked Gabriel.

“You will know what to do,” came the reply.

“Daddy, are we getting close?” asked Jessica while looking out the car window, “I want to see Grandma.”

“We’re almost there. Another ten miles and we’ll pull back the lane to her house.” answered her father.

“Goody!” squealed Jessica. She remembered the warm feather bed she had slept in last Christmas.

She was only five years old and was just beginning to put letters together and read. She didn’t have to. She knew the sign said “Stone’s Tree Farm”

Her grandma lived in a very remote area of northern Vermont. Her farm used to be a Christmas tree farm. When her grandpa died a couple of years ago her grandma closed the business. Her mother and father had tried to get her grandma to sell the place. She fought the idea from the very beginning.

“Sell the place?” she had defiantly objected, “you know I plan on being buried up on the knoll beside your father. I am not leaving my home. You know better than to ask me!”

Her father had known it was a losing battle and had given up. He had made arrangements with her neighbors to check on her. So far everything had gone well.

Her father turned off onto the lane and headed for the house. You couldn’t see it from the road. Pine trees blocked the view. Going around a curve, she could see the farmhouse and barn lot ahead. Smoke was pouring from the chimney and the porch lights were on. Her father parked the car and she bolted out the door and raced to the steps. The front door opened and her grandma stepped out on the porch.

“Land sakes, child, look at you!” she said while taking Jessica into her arms, “You’ve grown three inches since you were here this summer.”

“Grandma, I’m a big girl now,” she gushed.

“Well, I do believe you are,” she smiled, “Are you hungry?” I’ve got homemade chicken and dumplings on the stove. Biscuits are in the oven and an apple pie is cooling on the back porch.”

Jessica, Mary, and Steve simultaneously shouted, Yes! We’re starved!”

At the supper table, they talked about the farm, Steve’s work, and Jessica’s kindergarten class. Finally, the conversation got around to the weather.

“Supposed to snow tomorrow,” said her grandmother, “forecast is all over the place as usual. We could get anything from a foot of snow to three feet.”

“Sounds like a typical Vermont snowstorm. I ought to know. I’ve seen plenty of them,” said her father.

“We should be all right. I have plenty of food on hand. Had the generator serviced this summer. There are six five-gallon containers of gas in the shed if we need them.”

“Good, I’m glad you thought ahead,” said her mother.

“You remember Silas Jenkins?” asked her grandma.

“Sure, he’s the next farm down the road. Why do you ask?”

“He hired a new farm hand. He called me earlier before you got here. He’s going to come over tomorrow and check on the place. His name is Gabriel.”

“I can do it,” answered Steve.

“If we get a lot of snow we’ll need all the help we can get,” she answered, “how long has it been since you’ve seen the business end of a snow shovel?”

“Ok! Ok! Point well taken,” he answered.

"Grandma,” interrupted Jessica, "where’s your Christmas tree?”

“Honey,” she answered, "I knew you were coming. I thought you and your daddy could go to the woods tomorrow morning and cut one. Then you and I can decorate it.”

“Can we, Daddy, can we?” she begged her father.

“I don’t see why not,” he answered, “but first things first, you need to get ready for bed. And don’t forget your prayers.

Not wanting to go to bed yet, she had a dejected look on her face.

“Come with me,” said her grandma while extending her hand, “my feather bed is waiting for you.”

“All right, I guess,” said Jessica.

The next morning they were sitting at the breakfast table. Her grandma had made biscuits and gravy, slices of ham, and apple fritters for breakfast. The smell of fresh-brewed coffee was in the air and the kitchen was cozy and warm.

“I’m stuffed,” said Steve, “Mom, you overdid it again, as usual.”

“Nonsense, it’s cold out there so you have to eat accordingly,” she answered.

“You’re right,” he answered as he went to the kitchen window, “It sure does look like it could snow.”

“I agree. You better go after that tree before it starts,” said her grandma.

“My thoughts exactly,” he answered, “are you going with me?”

“I can go?” squealed Jessica.

“I don’t see why not,” he answered, “go put on your winter gear.”

Jessica and her father put on their snowsuits and went out the back door.

“Be careful,” called her mother.

Waving their hands in acknowledgment, they went to the barn, poured some gas in the four-wheelers tank, fired it up, and let it warm up. In the meantime, her father found an axe and some rope.

“What’s the rope for, Daddy?” she asked.

“We’ll either tie it on the rack or drag it behind us.”

Satisfied with the answer, she got on behind him and thrust her hands into his snowsuit pockets as they headed for the woods.

Unbeknownst to them, Gabriel watched them from the tree line.

“Father, I am here.”

“Good, I want you to follow them. Something bad is about to happen. Be ready,” came the reply.

“Yes, Father, as you wish.”

Gabriel could tell by the sound of the engine that they were heading for the back of the farm. Pulling his coat tight, he started down the lane after them. As he walked the wind picked up sharply and it began to snow.

“Just what we don’t need,” he thought to himself.

Up ahead Jessica and her father had stopped in a grove of Scotch Pine trees.

“Honey, we’re going to have to hurry,” he said, “do you see one you like?”

Jessica looked around and then pointed, “That one, I want that one."

“Good choice, that’s a nice tree,” said her father while reaching for the axe.

“Stay back out of the way. This ax is pretty sharp.”

She nodded and did so. Her father started chopping and almost had the tree down when it happened. The ax ricocheted off the trunk and bit deep into his leg. Blood began to stain his snowsuit. He sat down on the ground and began to grab his leg in pain.

“Jessica, what are we going to do? I don’t think I can walk,” he said as the snow started falling harder.

“Daddy, what can I do to help?” she cried.

“I don’t know,” said her father.

She could see the blood stains getting bigger on her father’s snowsuit leg. She watched him close his eyes and begin to shake.

“I’ve gotta get grandma,” she thought, “She will know what to do.!”

Jessica started back the lane towards the farmhouse. By this time the snow and wind were so strong she could barely see. Afraid, she kept going, stumbling and falling as she walked.

She stumbled over a snow-covered rock and fell. While laying there she thought, “I’m so cold. I think I’ll close my eyes for a little while. Then I’ll go get Grandma.”

She was startled by a hand touching her shoulder. Looking up, she saw a man standing over her. He was wearing a brilliantly white robe, and he glowed in the storm’s gloom.

“Jessica, come with me,“ he said while picking her up into his arms, “you can’t go to sleep. You have to stay awake.”

“Who are you?“ she asked.

“My name is Gabriel. I have been sent here to help you,” he answered.

“You were?”

“Yes, now cover your face with your snowsuit hood. Let’s get you to your grandma’s house.”

“My Daddy! What about my Daddy? He hurt his leg with an ax,” she tearfully cried.

“I know. I was there and saw it happen. We must hurry,” he answered.

In what seemed like moments they were back to the house.

Gabriel put her down and spoke, “Hurry and tell your grandma. She will know what to do.”

She looked at him and said, “Thank You.”

Then she ran into the house and told her mom and grandma what had happened.

“How did you find your way back?” asked her mother.

“A man helped me.”

“A man? What man?”

Jessica shrugged her shoulders and answered, “Gabriel.”

“Silas, this is Betty Stone,” she said on the phone, “there’s been a bad accident and I need help. You know my son, Steve. He’s on the back of the farm. He cut his leg with an ax chopping a tree for Christmas.”

“I’ll send my hired hand over. Name’s Gabriel,” he said, “He’ll take him to the hospital.”

“We’ll watch for him.”

A few minutes later a truck pulled up to the house and a man got out. Grandma went to the porch.

“I’m Gabriel. Where is he?” he asked.

Her grandma pointed down the lane towards the back of the farm, He’s back there somewhere!”

“I’ll try to find him,” he replied.

“Jessica knows where he is. She was with him," she answered, “Jessica, go with him. Show him where your father is.”

She got in the truck and they started down the lane. She couldn’t take her eyes off him. Something was very familiar about him.

“Do I know you?“ she asked.

“We’ve met before,” he answered.


“I think you know,” he answered.

They found her father. He was on the verge of hypothermia. Gabriel knelt beside him, lifted his face toward the sky, and spoke. He nodded his head, picked up her father and put him on the passenger seat, and covered him up. He turned the heater on high and they went back to the house.

Gabriel stopped the truck to let her out. Then it dawned on her who he was. He was the man in the white robe. It had to be.

`”I know who you are! You’re the man that helped me!” she said.

Gabriel looked at her and nodded his head while smiling.

“Are you an angel?”

“Jessica, I have to get your father to the hospital. I will tell you this. I came from Heaven to help you and your father. Merry Christmas, Jessica, Merry Christmas.”

On the way he lifted his face and spoke, “You did it again. Father, you work in mysterious ways, you surely do.”

December 24, 2021