Rev. Paul was delighted that Meggie would participate. He signed For some reason, you're supposed to light that candle. Rev. Paul had taught at the school for the deaf and blind for several years before going to seminary and had made it his custom to sign throughout each church service - the songs, sermon, announcements, the whole thing. Meggie knew that some, her mother being one, considered this just a tad showy. Meggie, however, regularly needed something just a tad showy to remind her God still cared. It might be a wicked generation that asks for a sign, but she was not a generation, she was one. Rev. Paul was a tender man, a stark contrast to the grand mistake from Tulsa.
And then, with two flips of the calendar, it was December. The fall semester usually went fast, with Halloween and Thanksgiving happening before you knew it. But this time, Meggie thought it passed especially quick, driven almost. She could not shake the feeling that her life was about to dramatically change. The gloom of what might be her last winter was coupled with Rev. Paul's for some reason. This tension had been enough to fuel childlike prayers once more: I've heard both sides now. Please let me go back.
Meggie knocked quietly, she only guessed, on her parent's bedroom door. Four hands quickly signaled come in, honey. She stood at the foot of their bed as her fingers made their plea: All I want for Christmas this year is a rose-colored dress, like the one Meggie wears in your movie, Dad. But could I please have it before Christmas, so I could wear it the day I light the Advent candle? Meggie usually knew when tears were coming, but these surprised her. Her fingers stopped their pleading and wiped her cheeks. As she refocused on her audience of two, she saw their tears as well. Deep does call unto deep. Her father motioned to his side of the bed. He took his third daughter's hands in his and nodded his head up and down, the universal sign for yes.
Advent's first Sunday was awkward, as it always was. Jessie Sanders, a single physician in her 30s, had been asked to light the first candle. Although a veteran at speaking before the congregation, she bumbled the psalm - How Lord, O long - and then took her seat, forgetting to light the candle at all. Rev. Paul gently walked to where Dr. Sanders was seated, extended his arm, and escorted her back to the wreath. Her face was as royally purple as the candle, but she completed her task. Somebody has to go first, to get the waiting started.