Heather is following the Union army. She is one of their washerwomen, because her husband is in this awful war. He is fighting and Heather is exhausted from the blood and death, but she wouldn't leave her husband if she didn't have to. It's not the least bit easy to leave Gideon to God's care and go home to have her baby, especially since her Father didn't approve of her union to a Yankee. However, her Mother's letters have kept her hope alive, and using all the faith she can muster Heather goes home. When she gets there, there are good things, and bad things. All things considered though, there is no way she can have her baby at home with her family. Her Mother left her a letter, and told her to go to her kin, Aunt Sophrena. One catch, Aunt Sophrena is Sister Sophrena; she is a Shaker.
With fervent prayers that she will be allowed to stay in the Shaker community, and that they will not take her child from her, Heather follows God and her Mother's advice and enters into a world unlike any other. Like the baby that was born to save us, Heather struggles to understand the Shaker ways of not having marriages and raising babies away from their parents. If God sends Gideon back home, she will not have to live here, possibly become a Shaker like her Aunt. However, if he perishes on the battlefield, Heather and her baby might not have any other option.
They keep their hands busy, "Hands to work, Hearts to God" as is the Shaker way. Thus while sewing, Heather prays and waits, and contemplates with Sister Aunt Sophrena about the joy and miracle of life, much like Mary might have done when carrying baby Jesus. Will Heather's simple trust in God and his plan for her life transform the Shakers, or will their ways change hers?
Christmas at Harmony Hill was very well written. Christ, forgiveness, dealing with our deepest pains, and great joy was all interwoven into this very nice short read.
Heather put a hand over the swell of her baby inside her. Surely they wouldn't take a newborn from his mother's bosom. Heather's mother couldn't have imagined that happening or she'd have never told her to come . . .
It is 1864 and the nation is torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. With her husband at the front and nowhere else to turn, she seeks refuge in the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. Amid the tumult of the times, Heather yearns for the peace she sees in this strange community. But can this longing really be fulfilled amid these people with their peculiar beliefs about family?
As Christmas approaches, the joy of new life and the love that is born of forgiveness may hold the answer.
Join bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart for a peek into the world of the Shakers--and the world of the human heart.