Meggie had considered a grand prayer the night before Gaudete Sunday. But she changed her mind; if her tears had not been bottled by now, a last minute gush was just not Meggie Randall's way. She was afraid she wouldn't be able to sleep, that her thoughts would keep her from rest. But sleep she did, as if held by a dream. Meggie dreamed she was the legendary bird who flew and flew, searching for the thorn tree. Soaring through clouds, she saw them below: her parents, her sisters, Rev. O'Neill, other familiar faces. They were gathered, huddled, signing for her to come down. She resisted the descent, for she saw no thorn tree, only their faces. But their pleas proved too much for her; she had been flying, searching for so long. She tucked her wings and fell. As the dream released her, she heard the voice, clearly, softly: sing.
She found herself sitting straight up in bed, short of breath. The room was silent calm, the clock read 6:19. But the word rung in her broken ears like a bell: sing.
Her father was speechless, as were her sisters. Meggie had tried the dress on for her mother and they had made a few adjustments to the sleeves. But no one else had seen the union of fabric and girl. Until now.
There are those who downplay clothes, viewing them primarily as protection from the cold and covering for that which is private. And then there are those who know that clothing can also adorn; such is what the dress from the resale shop did for Meggie Randall. Finally, Hannah's fingers broke the silence: you're beautiful, Meg. And for some reason, Meggie believed her.
The first two Sundays of Advent had garnered a good crowd; today was no different. From the moment she entered the church, she'd had the distinct sensation of falling, so much so that she took her father's hand. John Randall was surprised, but gladly accepted the gift. As the Randalls found their seats, Meggie found Rev. O'Neill's eyes; he winked. Meggie felt a slight blush; for a brief moment, her face matched her dress. She knew what she had to do.