Janet R Stafford

Sometimes miracles happen when you expect them least but need them most. The year 1863 was a difficult one for faithful Methodist Maggie Blaine Smith, her free-thinking husband Eli, African-American friends Nate and Emily Johnson, and the rest of their diverse household. Having been violently uprooted from their home in Blaineton, New Jersey, the family moved to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania only to suffer the terrifying battle in July and the burden of tending to wounded soldiers left in its aftermath. It is now Christmas Eve. A snow storm howls outside as the family cares for Maggie and Eli’s children, Bob and Faith, and the Johnsons’ son Natey, all of whom are seriously ill. A knock at the door brings an unanticipated interruption – an odd little peddler has found his way to their doorstep. Despite the anxiety over her children, Maggie invites the stranger in and feeds him supper, never thinking of the impact that her act of kindness will have on her entire family.

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