The Christmas Cradle
by Charlotte Hubbard
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GENRE: Amish/Inspirational Romance
For the peaceful town of Willow Ridge, November presents an early holiday surprise. Stranded in the snow, 18-year-old Lena Esh and her boyfriend Josiah Witmer need more than a place to stay for the night. Lena defied her strict family and their judgmental beliefs to run away with Josiah and have his baby. But she’s starting to wonder if he can prove as responsible as he is passionate. And she isn’t sure how—or if—they can ever find a place to truly call home.
Expecting their own miracle baby, Miriam and Ben Hooley rally the town to help the young couple, and Lena draws strength from their unexpected support. Though trouble may come calling, in this season of joyous rebirth, a little child will lead them. And two couples will see their dreams of forever family come true…
“I’m proud of ya, Lena,” Miriam insisted as she passed the crescent rolls. “You’re handlin’ this situation better than I would’ve at your age. Keep on believin’ your life’ll work out for the best, and that’s what’ll happen.”
When Lena focused on her dinner again, Miriam noticed how her arm remained wrapped around her unborn child—and how a grimace flickered across Lena’s face. As a blue-eyed blonde Lena often looked pale, but today she appeared very fragile. Lost in her own little world.
Feed my lambs.
Miriam gripped her forkful of corn casserole. Once again that voice that resembled Vernon’s had spoken to her. The words came from a story about Jesus telling Simon Peter that caring for those around him was the earthly work he’d been commissioned to do.
Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep.
As Miriam contemplated what these words might mean to her, her crowded kitchen rang with conversation and laughter while the people she loved most were stuffing themselves silly with too much food. So why was she being reminded to feed Jesus’s sheep?
These words were your mission statement when ya opened the café with Naomi. Miriam blinked. She’d begun baking full-time because she believed that feeding people was a special talent God had blessed her with. Yet last week, He’d told her to leave her restaurant and live according to the Ordnung, and to take up a different life purpose.
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. And feed my sheep.
Miriam let the words of Psalm 100 seep into her soul. Why was she so focused on this still, small voice while nineteen other people conversed in her kitchen? Although no one else seemed to notice, she felt as if a special messenger had taken her aside.
When she glanced at Lena again, Miriam felt a jolt of understanding. Lena and Josiah were vulnerable lambs who’d lost their way. And even though Savilla was more mature, she was leaving the only home she’d ever known, boxing up memories of her grandparents and the parents who’d died when she was so young. It was no mistake that the Witmers and Lena had gotten lost in a snowstorm and had found their way to her door, because the Lord never left anything to chance. He worked out His purpose even during the least notable moments, whether or not His sheep listened or obeyed His commands.
Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community in Missouri, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz Hooley, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.
Charlotte will be awarding $20 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.