As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Season of Lights

Two Holiday Novellas

by A.M. Leibowitz

Two stories about found family and the power of hope. In Light One Candle, five groups of strangers are all facing painful, frustrating and disappointing holidays. A chance meeting offers them the opportunity to help each other heal. In Advent-ure, these same strangers reunite for a common cause, widening their circle with extended friends and family. This time, they're bringing hope to others.


After cards and a long conversation, they ended up singing Christmas carols after all. Mrs. Allen talked Micah into joining her on a few of her favorites. They didn’t go room to room, but they did earn a few extra visitors from neighboring rooms. They ended with “White Christmas.”

When they’d finished, an older man who had come to lean up against the door frame said, “I’m Jewish, but I’ve always loved that one.”

His smile was sad, and Micah reflected that he must have been just a boy when the song was new. He and the other patients and family members wandered back to their rooms, leaving Micah alone with Mrs. Allen again.

“Well, thank you, young man,” she said, making Micah chuckle. He hadn’t really been a “young man” in quite a few years.

“It was nice meeting you,” he said, taking her hand.


She looked at him in a way which made him feel as though she could read his thoughts. “You’ve brought me my dose of joy for the day. What can I do for you?”

“I—” He cut himself off before saying there wasn’t anything.

The truth was, he didn’t know what he needed. Micah had never liked Christmas, not the way Cat did. It had been a source of pain for so long that even now, he couldn’t bring himself to celebrate. They compromised. Cat was allowed to cover every inch of the house in tinsel and lights, but they wouldn’t exchange any gifts. Micah accompanied Cat to his parents’ place but not to Christmas Eve services at church. It worked all right for them.

He hadn’t realized how much he’d become accustomed to Cat’s holiday cheer until now, feeling its absence keenly. There wasn’t anything Mrs. Allen could say or do to affect Micah’s sorrow and loneliness. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything you can do. My hus—” He choked on the word, still never sure how it would be received.

“Your what, dear?”

Micah swallowed. Maybe it was all right. Marriage had been legal in Massachusetts for almost twice as long as in New York. “My husband. He’s sick, and I’m not sure if he’ll recover.”

She nodded. “I’ve been there too. I would offer to pray, but I don’t really believe in God.”

“Me neither,” Micah agreed.

“I can hope,” Mrs. Allen said. “I can cross all ten fingers and toes, and I can think positive, healing thoughts for him.”

“Thank you,” Micah said. He leaned over to give her a hug then turned around and headed for the door. He looked back over his shoulder. “Merry Christmas.”

“Same to you, young man.”

Micah pulled the door most of the way closed. He passed the nurse’s station and wished happy holidays to the couple of people there. On a whim, he asked where the chapel was. Armed with directions, he set out to find it.

He didn’t know what he was doing. There was no reason to go there, and yet his feet carried him steadily closer. It should have been Cat; it would have been if their positions were reversed. Of the two of them, Cat was the one who still believed in something beyond the mortal realm. It wasn’t a source of tension between them. Cat wasn’t the sort to apply pressure or pray for Micah’s eternal soul to be spared the fires of hell, and Micah knew Cat well enough to understand how vital his faith was to him.

He entered the chapel and sat. There were a few other people in there, heads bowed. Someone closer to the front was sniffling softly. Micah sat down and stared ahead, not sure what he was supposed to do. This was one part of the hospital he’d never visited before. Did he wait for a chaplain to ask? There didn’t seem to be anyone there at the moment.

Instead of praying, Micah thought about Cat and how very like his namesake he was. He closed his eyes and pictured Cat sitting where he was, reciting his prayers while sliding the beads of his rosary through his fingers. If Micah couldn’t pray for him, then he would let Cat do it, even if it was only in Micah’s imagination. In spite of his worry and sadness, a tiny spark lit up inside Micah. If Cat pulled through this, Micah would give him anything he wanted, even at Christmas.

Eventually, Micah got up and left the chapel. He was headed back in the direction of intensive care when his phone vibrated. He pulled it out and leaned against the wall by the elevator to answer it.

“Mr. Forbes? This is Ellen, one of the nurses taking care of Becket.”

Micah startled at the use of Cat’s given name. Cat would have rolled his eyes. “Yes?”

“Your husband is awake. He’s asking for you.”


About the Author

A. M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They are a proud “halfie” Matzohrella stick (Yiddishe papa and Italian goyishe mama). They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. They are an occasional host for The BiCast, a podcast for the bi+ community, as well as doing bi+ advocacy work. In between noveling and their day job as a teacher, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, books, and their family.