All aboard the Christmas Railroad!
When 11-year-old Joyce accidentally runs the locomotive from her father’s toy train off the tracks, she tearfully asks for an angel to help her rebuild the family’s prize possession. Then the angel Gabriel and Joyce spend Christmas Eve secretly renovating the Christmas Railroad. On Christmas morning, Joyce rejoices that her parents love the gift of the newly decorated railroad where everyone is welcome.
Even at age eleven, Joyce Trewyn hasn’t grown tired of watching her father set up the toy train for Christmas. Not only has he handpicked the locomotives, coal cars, train cars, boxcars, caboose, and trolleys, but he also set up the track on the railroad and hand-painted every snowy building and mountain. Joyce runs down the stairs in her red and green striped Christmas train pajamas. She wears her own conductor’s hat and hands her father a plastic bag of people who would soon get the ride of their lives. Mrs. Trewyn serves up hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream. As Joyce helps her father set up the train set, piecing together the curving train track, her mother watches It’s A Wonderful Life on television in black and white.
After Clarence the angel has finished saving George Bailey in the film It’s A Wonderful Life, Mrs. Trewyn turns off the television and heads to bed with her husband. Joyce decides to stay up a little longer and play with the train. Only minutes after both her parents are asleep, Joyce runs the locomotive off the train tracks, hitting the covered bridge, which topples the water tower and collapses the entire train set, closing Grand Central Terminal. The locomotive smokes, blinking its headlight, and the caboose loses a wheel. She runs into the storage closet, crying. Looking at the supplies, Joyce decides she needs an angel, like in the TV movie. Joyce prays for angels to hear her and come help her fix the Christmas Railroad. All of a sudden, a cold breeze blows the family room window open, blowing the curtains to the ceiling. Joyce runs to shut the window, only to be greeted by Gabriel, an elderly-looking man, trying to climb through the window. He explains he is a Christmas angel that works extra hours on Christmas Eve. For the next five hours, despite a few setbacks, Joyce and Gabriel paint, glue, and hammer, emptying every toy train box from Gabe’s bag. Then Gabriel crawls back through the window, telling Joyce that God’s angels are always nearby, even if you can’t see them. A flash of light blinds Joyce for a moment, and she can no longer see Gabriel.
When Mr. Trewyn wakes up, he catches Joyce with her head sticking out the window. Joyce closes the window and nervously turns around to find her mother and father in their Christmas pajamas and robes. Her father is thrilled that she spent all night renovating the Christmas Railroad as a gift. Joyce says the angel Gabriel helped her. Both Joyce’s parents give her a funny look, thinking she must have had an extra-large imagination on Christmas morning. Joyce and her father rejoice all Christmas day that the Christmas Railroad is open for business, working better than ever. Everyone on the train arrives to his or her destination right on time.
Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters