The Christmas Child by Hesba Stretton

“Along some parts of the coast in South Wales the mountains rise abruptly from the shore, with only a narrow shingle between them and the sea.”

Miss Priscilla Parry is a farm leaseholder, the last of three generations before the farm will revert to its landlord.  She ekes out a living on the craggy, unfertile land, selling butter, cheese and mutton to manage a poor living.  Her life’s work is epitomized in her determination to make her teenage ward and niece, Rhoda, independent, so she will never be forced to marry, the biggest misfortune, in Priscilla’s eyes, that a woman could face.

When another niece dies and leaves a child, Joan, an orphan, Priscilla grudging agrees to take her in, yet in her concern that the plans for Rhoda not be compromised, she gives the child rather a lukewarm welcome and questionable care.  Little does she need another girl to worry and fret about her future.  Rhoda, however, adores young Joan, and they quickly become fast friends.  When Christmas arrives, they play a game of looking for the Christ child in their manager, but on the second Christmas Rhoda disappears and the household is thrown into mourning.  Old Nathan, the servant, is the only one to comfort Joan, as Priscilla withdraws into a cold demeanour of disappointed hopes.

However, the next Christmas, a child is discovered sleeping in the manager, a child that will bring hope, restoration and joy back into the lives of Priscilla, Joan and old Nathan, echoing the mission of that first manger child long, long ago.

This is a wonderful story of love, mistakes, forgiveness and reconciliation. Coincidentially, I found this article when searching for pictures for my blog post.  Hopefully the life of this little one will bring joy into this world as well.

View north into Cwm Llwch from Corn Du
source Wikipedia

8 thoughts on “The Christmas Child by Hesba Stretton

  1. It's a very quick read. In many ways it's inspiring, but it does have a "not everything ends completely happily" ending. I'm still trying to decide if it's realistic or kind of a downer. If you read it, perhaps you can let me know what you think!

  2. Seems like a perfect perfect Christmas read…where do you get these little wonderful nuggets from? Me will find this one!

  3. Free kindle books are wonderful, but I have about 800 on my Kindle and I've read about 30. I thought it might be good to tick off one more. It was nice that it was a quick read …. about 52 pages, I think.

  4. Thanks, Nancy. The clock is ticking, isn't it? I'm getting our tree tomorrow so then it should really start feeling like Christmas, although we've had some warm winds lately that feel like summer. It might be a balmy Christmas!

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