Camping for Christmas

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Chapter 11

Rylan was playing by the tent waiting on her mom to come back from her phone calls. She was proud of her mom for working so hard.

She used a purple crayon to draw a very zig-zagging line around the picture of the campsite she made.

“This is the path we need to follow to find the treasure,” Rylan told her duck friend, Lena.

Quack, quack.

“I know it goes back and forth a lot, but that’s part of the magic. The treasure chest will know if we don’t cross the path at least three times,” Rylan explained to Lena.

The duck didn’t look convinced.

“You’ll see!” Rylan told her and drew one more purple line on the page.

Meow.

“Lena, was that you?” Rylan looked at the duck. It didn’t make a sound.

The meowing continued.

Rylan got up and tried to find the cat making all the noise.

“Here, kitty, kitty,” she called.

A long white tail flicked around the corner of the lake trail. Rylan got up to follow it.

“I’ll be right back, Lena,” she told the duck.

When Rylan got to the trail, she couldn’t see the cat anymore, but she still heard it meowing.

It must be hurt. Rylan thought. She didn’t know everything about cats, but she knew that they wouldn’t cry that much unless something was wrong.

She desperately followed the crying cat around the trail, catching glimpses of it every now and then.

Rylan noticed that she hadn’t been on this part of the trail before, but she could still see the lake. She felt confident she could follow the trail back to her tent without a problem. Hopefully, her mom would have a long phone call and not get back before she did.

The trail opened up to a large field housing at least ten different RV’s. They were all spread out and the campers were scattered around. Some were playing ball, some were fishing, some were cooking over a fire, and some were reading.

Rylan could see the fluffy white cat clearly now. It was limping towards the closest RV. Rylan continued to follow it.

When she got closer to the vehicle, Rylan heard a woman reading aloud:

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Rylan knew that story! Lavonne read it to her yesterday while they made crafts.

A man’s voice read the next verse:
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

Rylan couldn’t see the cat anymore. She joined the man and woman reading to ask if they knew where the cat went.

“Have you seen a kitty?” Rylan asked them. She continued to gaze around their camping area in hopes of spotting the little white animal.

The woman lifted a blanket in her lap, “Is this the cat you’re looking for?”

“Yes!” Rylan squealed and ran over to it.

“This is Billy,” the woman told Rylan as she pet the cat.

“I think he has a hurt leg,” Rylan informed her.

“I think you’re right,” the woman agreed. “I’ll take him to the vet when we get home.”

“What are you doing out here?” The man asked Rylan. He knew she wasn’t with the other RV camping groups.

“Celebrating Christmas,” Rylan stated and continued petting the cat, Billy.

“That’s what we’re doing, too!” The woman said.

The man added, “We read the Christmas story every year.”

“What is the story?” Rylan remembered Lavonne reading about angels and a baby, but the details were fuzzy.

“God’s people had been treated badly for a long time. But God promised to send a hero to save them, and he did!” The man explained.

“The hero didn’t wear a cape or fight bad guys like people expected. He was a little baby who grew into a man that taught us about peace, love, and forgiveness.” The woman smiled at her. “He brought us freedom from sin and gave us eternal life.”

“Wow,” Rylan was amazed a little baby could do all that. She would ask her mom more about the story later.

Rylan was about to ask the woman more questions about the cat when she heard a familiar banjo coming towards them.

Jamey and Kenaniah came upon the group and immediately stopped playing.

“Rylan!” Jamey exclaimed, “What are you doing out here?”

“You’re supposed to be on a treasure hunt back at your campsite,” Kenaniah pointed out.

“She went on a different kind of treasure hunt,” the woman told them.

“We were just discussing the Christmas story,” the man elaborated.

“I followed this kitty,” Rylan explained to her church friends. “He was hurt and meowing a lot. I wanted to see if he needed help.”

“That’s sweet, but we need to get you back to your camp,” Jamey said. He could only imagine how upset Emily would be when she realized Rylan was missing.

“Okay, maybe Mom and I can come back later to visit the kitty,” Rylan thought aloud.

“That’d be fine with us,” the woman assured her.

“Our church is hosting a big candlelight service tonight,” Kenaniah reminded everyone, “you can see each other there.”

“Rylan!” Ranger Hicks came running up to her. “We’ve been looking all over for you.”

He pulled out his radio and let the others know that Rylan had been found.

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