Part Two: In Which You Meet the Rosset Children
Sariel was the oldest Rosset at the age of thirteen, and the only girl. Therefore, she was her mother’s right-hand helper. Being a naturally neat girl, she enjoyed this task, and tried very hard to keep their new home in a state of cleanliness despite her naturally untidy brothers.
Adrian, the second oldest at age eleven, was the absent-minded one of the family. He was seldom seen without a book, but could forget things you told him seconds after the telling. However, if asked about something he had read about, a fountain of knowledge would rise up out of him suddenly, leaving you drenched with his wisdom and somewhat in a daze.
Talian, the third and final Rosset, was a wild boy of eight. He hated to be cooped up inside when he could be playing outside, and was usually found watching an ant painstakingly pulling a crumb into its home, or a butterfly bursting from its cocoon. Only during the mealtimes could he be found inside and waiting impatiently at the table for his food. Sometimes, he got in trouble for bringing insects of amphibians into the house because both his mother and sister held those species in special disgust.
When Amaria climbed the stairs to wake her children up, Sariel already had her eyes open. Being alert and ready, she noticed right away that her mother wasn’t as cheerful as usual and that her eyes were redder as if she had been crying. Yes, she noticed these things…but remained silent.
The two boys shared a room right next to Sariel’s, and when Amaria walked in she found Adrian also up; with his nose in a book as always. If she hadn’t remembered taking the same book out of his sleeping arms the night before, Amaria may have wondered if he had been reading all night.
“Adrian, breakfast will be ready in a few minutes, I want you and Talian up and dressed by then,” she said.
“Yes Dad,” the book-worm answered absently.
Amaria rubbed her forehead. “Give me patience,” she prayed heavenwards, then took the book from her oldest son’s hands and held his chin with her hand so that he was forced to look in her eyes. “Adrian, breakfast will be ready very soon. I want you and Talian to be dressed and downstairs by then.”
“Yes Mom,” he answered correctly. “I’ll get Talian up.”
“Thank you.” Amaria kissed her son on the forehead to show how she loved him and then walked from the room with one last warning. “Don’t forget!”
“I won’t,” Adrian answered solemnly.
The minute the door closed, he glanced at his unfinished book longingly, but quickly turned away from the temptation to open it and walked to his brother’s bed where Talian lay still sound asleep, snoring softly.
“Talian!” he whispered loudly. “Mom wants us dressed and downstairs soon, otherwise we’ll get in trouble.”
“Five more minutes,” came the muffled reply through the blankets and pillows.
With an exasperated sigh, Adrian unburied his brother and rolled him over so the sunlight hit his face. The younger boy groaned and put an arm over his eyes.
“You heard me,” Adrian scolded. “Get up and dressed quickly or you’ll get us both in trouble.”
Talian slid from his bed and stumbled over to the dresser. “Alright, alright…I’m up.”
Adrian grunted his displeasure and got dressed himself as quickly as possible…just in case he could squeeze in a little more reading before eating.
Soon, the boys walked down the stairs and into the dining room only to find that everyone else was already up and breakfast on the table. Sariel, who always looked neat and tidy, sat primly in her seat waiting for her father to say grace.
“Are we late?” Adrian asked worriedly. “I told Talian he was taking too long but—”
Amaria smiled and shook her head. “No, you two are right on time. I was just about to go get you and tell you everything was ready, but you saved me the trouble. Sit down please and fold your hands.”
“Yes Mom,” both boys answered in unison.
Darien waited until the scraping of chairs across the wooden floor stopped before folding his own hands and bowing his head. Silence fell as the rest of the Rosset family followed his example.
“Father in heaven, thank you so much for this day. Please help us to use it for Your glory. Give us strength for the trials we face, and help us put our trust in You no matter what. Thank you for my wife and Sariel who prepared this delicious meal for us all. Bless it. Amen!”
“Amen,” everyone else murmured. Amaria squeezed her husband’s hand and they exchanged a smile.
After their breakfast was eaten, Darien opened the family Bible as was their family’s tradition and waited for the attention of his family again. They stopped their after-breakfast chatter and sat back for the devotions. Instead of reading the next chapter of Proverbs, he read the fifth chapter of first Peter.
Sariel noticed the change mentally and wondered at it, but Adrian merely wondered absently why the fourteenth chapter of Proverbs sounded so unlike the previous chapters. Talian’s mind, however, was already outside in the newly fallen snow, so he missed the change altogether.
Darien closed the Bible with care and looked around at his family. “Once breakfast clean-up is finished, I’d like to have a family meeting.”
All at once, the same question popped into all three of the children’s minds: What was this family meeting going to be about?
It sounds like something serious, Sariel worried to herself, little knowing how close she was to the truth.
I hope this doesn’t mean I have to shovel the sidewalk again… Adrian reflected. Dad did say it would be Talian’s turn next time it snowed. I may have to remind him…
Maybe Mom found my frog in the bathtub… Talian thought guiltily.
As they all sat down in a circle, Darien got right to the point. “This morning I was called to my boss’s office. I was told that I was no longer needed.”
Sariel gasped, putting a hand over her mouth. Her fears had been right. Adrian, who had been paying attention for once, frowned and chewed on his lip. Talian came back from his mental snow-ball fight with a disappointed thud.
“Does this mean you won’t be getting any money?” he asked bluntly.
“I’m afraid so,” Darien answered his youngest son with a sad smile. “At least, not until I can find another job.”
Talian groaned. “That might take forever! How are we going to get Christmas pre—? Ow!” Talian’s second question was cut short by a jab from his sister’s elbow.
“Don’t hurt your brother,” Amaria reproved her daughter gently. “I’m afraid we won’t be able to buy you Christmas presents this year, Talian,” she added in answer to his half-spoken question. “But you will probably get presents from relatives still.”
“How can we celebrate Christmas with no presents?” Talian wailed in despair.
“Christmas is a celebration for Christ’s birth,” Adrian answered. “We only give presents on Christmas day as a symbol of the first and greatest gift, Jesus Christ, who was given to us by our heavenly Father. He was born to set us free from our sinful natures by dying on a cross. Therefore, just as one can celebrate Christmas without a Christmas tree, or other such traditional symbols of the season, we can still celebrate Christmas without giving presents.”
Darien and Amaria looked at each other in surprise. The moments Adrian spilled forth his knowledge still stunned them.
“Yes,” Amaria finally agreed with her oldest son. “We can and will celebrate our Savior’s birth. But,” she sighed, “we won’t be giving or receiving presents.”
The children sat for a moment, processing what this would do to their Christmas. They had always looked forward to the yearly celebration with hopes of what they would get and what they would give. But now, all that was going to be different.
Sariel walked thoughtfully to her room. An idea was beginning to blossom and she wanted to let it grow in the quiet.
Talian had lost his desire to play and sat quietly on the living room floor, mourning the loss of his Christmas presents.
Adrian went to his room, but found he couldn’t focus on reading, so gave his mind over to musing instead on how he might help his parents out of their difficulty.
We’ll leave them there for the moment…and find out soon what they decide to do.