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TRUST JESUS TODAY
This piece does what many others have already done, in placing the lesser value on Christmas gifts in the form of THINGS. Many other writers I've sampled have placed a higher value on the intangible gifts.
Christmas intangibles usually follow the same basic pattern... Jesus's birth, the power of the Spirit, Biblical/moral principles... "Good cheer and good sense"-type stuff.
I've chosen to glorify a different set of intangibles. Gifts of experience, instinct, survival... Practical, everyday things. My Christmas intangibles, when compared to the usual Christmas values kinda mimic the contrast between THINGS. One mother might buy her child toys, while the other buys her child warm clothes and socks and stuff.
In an eternal sense, the usual Christmas intangibles are the basic must-haves. Christ is your basic armor. But in the ghetto, the basic must-haves are a bit different. Without them, I might not have lived long enough to reach an age where I could really appreciate the things of the Bible.
Toys at Christmas excite a child's imagination, as will the ideas that the Bible challenges them with down the road. Street sense can't wait that long. They are your jacket and scarf, and without them, you just can't withstand the weather outside for very long.
While God was teaching more fortunate children purely about Jesus at Christmas, God gave me what I needed in my situation... a 50/50 blend.
The Christmas of 1991
I remember the Christmas of ’91.
When I say that I remember it, I’m of course referring to a mental collage
Based off of a few things I remember, and few things I was told later on…
See, the thing that I remember most is waking up on Monday for school
Only to find that my book bag was gone…
My Mom had to break the news that someone had broken into the house
And stolen a lot of our things… just two weeks before Christmas.
They put the TV in the back seat of the car, stole a bunch of Mom’s jewelry…
And somehow, my book bag got mixed-up in all f it. A low blow, I’d say.
I thought I was going to be in trouble with all of my teachers, and I was so sure of it.
My mom explained the situation, of course…
But I guess she let me keep myself occupied with thoughts about my book bag.
What my mom didn’t tell me until years later was why she suffers from claustrophobia.
I was away the night my mother got robbed at gunpoint.
It was two weeks before Christmas.
He came in while she was unloading all my Christmas presents from the car.
Told her to get down on the bathroom floor and keep her face down.
Stole the TV, stole the car… stole everything.
And all the while, my mother was laying there
With the bathtub on one side and the toilet on the other
Wondering if she was going to get raped or shot in the back of the head.
I had no idea. I just always figured she wasn’t there either.
She seemed okay. Not like she’d had a gun pointed at her head recently…
Then again, she got extremely obsessive about locking doors.
Thank God they never laid a finger on her.
I guess Mom was very good at looking strong…
She was very good at looking stable. Pretending things were okay.
I’m sure I needed it… but I don’t know how she did it.
Things were shaping-up just like a made-for-Christmas movie.
And they continued that way, come to think of it…
I wouldn’t find out until ears later
But my Uncle Matt saved the Christmas of 1991.
Mom had already been borrowing small sums here and there
From assorted family members.
She probably called Grandma and Grandpa… who probably called Mary…
Who probably called everyone else.
Uncle Matt didn’t have white whiskers at the time…
But to look at him recently, I’d say he’s a dead-ringer for Santa Clause.
He showed it in 1991 by telling my mom he’d re-buy everything she got me
Before umm… the neighborhood Grinch stole it.
I think I remember her saying he even added on a present of his own.
So I got to believe in Santa one more year.
And there’s another Christmas story with a happy ending.
I consider my greatest present in 1991 as having been taught that nothing is for certain.
Not even your home is always sacred.
Now I’m sure my mother would have rather gone without the experience…
But I’m sure that the Christmas of 1991 taught her some valuable things too.
I remember the toys I got when I was five and six
And even the toys I got when I was eight.
But in all truth, I can’t even remember one toy I got on the Christmas of 1991.
I don’t know why. I’m sure that if Uncle Matt was behind it, I probably lucked-out!
But I believe that even though I didn’t know how to frame it right in my head at the time,
I probably had some vague notion of the fact that the school of hard knocks
Gave me something stronger and more useful in 1991 than all the presents on sale.
A gift comes in that “overwhelming sense of awareness.”
And my awareness spiked again in 1991. Remember: “Not all abuses leave a bruise.”
I have a toughness embedded in my soul that can’t be sought-out and obtained.
There is no training other than life itself that can teach the things I know about hardship.
I am a brutal guardian, wise to the ways of The Offender.
And I’m getting wiser every day.
That is what it means to be bent, but never broken.
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