Child in a Manger: Chapter 5
Allison, of course, is happy to see Brock, even though she’s had an all-but-sleepless night with the month-old Joy and kinda feels like shit. And, of course, she still thinks she’s fat and sloppy and that he looks like a million bucks, so she feels totes inadequate.
He’s gotten her a gift—a pretty silver picture frame, which strikes both Allison and me as very “appropriate.”
“I swear. When it’s appropriate.”
-Simon Tam, Firefly, Jaynestown
Allison is “one of those,” as Brock says—a really slow and careful gift-opener.
Gifts were rare treats for her these days since her mother was gone, so she planned to enjoy this one.
Um, aren’t gifts rare treats for everyone? Makes it sound like Allison received a wrapped gift from her mother every morning at breakfast.
But never mind that, because it’s time for Allison to obsess about people mocking her faith again!
“I had [the fireplace] put in when Mom was really sick. She liked to stay warm near the fireplace.”
Brock cleared his throat. “I’m sorry about your mother.”
“Thanks. She’s at peace now.” Again, she waited for him to criticize her beliefs the way he had at the live nativity, but he didn’t.
For someone who is falling for a guy, Allison sure thinks very little of him. Has she met a lot of atheists who berate her when she mentions that her mother died recently? I mean, I know RTCs think nonbelievers are the most evil, nasty people on the planet, but my atheist mom didn’t raise this chick to start theological debates with people who have just suffered a loss. Manners, yanno?
“I’m sure she is,” he said finally.
So he did believe, after all, even if his belief system was a little jaded.
Well, I wouldn’t necessarily go that far, Allison. “I’m sure she is” is the sort of harmless response anyone might give in such a situation, whether that person exactly agreed with you or not. The kind of response you give when you do have good manners and don’t want to turn a sensitive topic into a debate point.
Not to mention that I think when someone dies, their brain simply stops, so they are gone and cease being conscious in any sense. And from then on, they don’t feel anything, including pain. So I could see that as being “at peace“…from a certain point of view.
Then, something deeply weird happens…
They spontaneously start singing.
Like a musical…except not at all.
They’re gaaaaazing into the fire, and Allison starts humming, and Brock starts singing. Joy to the World.
That’s just weird, I’m sorry. And I’m glad they’re alone, because I knew a few girls in college who fancied themselves singers, and would just randomly start singing a few lines all the time, and it was super annoying.
And you know what? One song, I can sort of get. That might be fun (I mean, not fun for me, but some people might find it fun.) But they keep going…
They finished the hymn together, then softly continued singing carols of Bethlehem’s blessing, of a child in a manger, of excelsis Deo. … [Allison had] imagined Christmas mornings like this before, not with sleigh rides and painted scenes…
…but with the warmth of family as they celebrated together God’s wonderful gift to a dark world.
I have no soul. I mean, I already knew that, but this confirms it.
They decide to open sleeping Joy’s gifts for her, and they also get to talking about age.
In a rather shocking and progressive move for a Christian romance, Allison is five years older than Brock, thirty-five to his thirty. And here I thought it was ballsy of Jerry Jenkins to make Noella almost a year-and-a-half older than Tom in Twas the Night Before.
Just so I’m clear, I think five years either way means nothing once you hit your twenties. But in the world of Christian romances, it’s kinda unusual.
She’d expected shock over her advanced age, but it didn’t seem to matter to him.
“Advanced age“? Allison is so weird.
Brock gets Joy some goofy toys, including a standing thing she won’t be able to use for months, and a toy police car, which, to be fair, is kinda sweet, in the sense that he’s letting the kid know that “someone did care about her and wanted to protect her.”
And then it’s all spoiled when Allison gets a call from a foster mother who wants to take the baby.
Not sure why, if Allison’s qualified, they don’t just leave the baby with her, but whatevs.