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TITLE: Any Good News?
By Micheline Murray

This is one of my first attempts at fiction and I would love feedback. Also have not written much dialog either. Target audience: Christian women primarily is where my heart is, although I hope that people from all walks could benefit from this reminder.
Only two o'clock, still an hour before the first of my crew would come barreling in the front door, crazy with excitement for the start of Christmas vacation. Good. I had gotten up insanely early to clean the whole downstairs before waking anyone. Then, after sending them all off to school and work, I had wrapped, baked wiped down the flour-coated kitchen, and triple-checked Christmas lists.

Now, I sat down with my oversized mug of hot tea, some still-hot gingersnaps, and the newspaper. Aaaagh! Even my bones were tired! Engrossed in the paper, I jumped when the phone rang.

"Any good news?" my husband Tom's always upbeat voice made me smile. But my smile quickly faded when I glanced down at the headlines that had just been capturing my attention. "No," I answered, "there isn't any good news today. In fact, each story is worse than the last."

"Why don't you put that down and rest while you have time?" he offered, sounding tired himself, and probably hoping to avoid coming home to a cranky wife! We chatted a few more minutes before hanging up, but my words hung in the air. 'No, there isn't any good news.'

Discouraged, I took his advice. Grabbing a throw-pillow and pulling my favorite afghan up to my chin, I snuggled on the couch as Champ, our completely spoiled lab-mix nestled in behind my knees. Maybe I just needed a nap.

How long had the phone been ringing? Feeling around clumsily with one hand, I found it underneath Champ, who never moved. I guess he knew it wasn't for him. Somehow managing to slide it out from under his dead weight, I croaked out a dazed, "Hello?" without opening my eyes.

"Do not be afraid."

My eyes were open now!
"Afraid? Who is this?"

"I bring you GOOD NEWS of great joy that wil be for all people."

"Tom? Is this you? Thanks a lot! I was actually sleeping like you suggested!"

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" - which means "God with us."

Okay, this was clearly not my husband! Even as Champ snored blissfully, my head started to clear. I couldn't place the voice, but for some reason, it didn't matter. There was something about it that was familiar, that made me want to continue.

"Good news? Not in today's paper there isn't. Have you read about the poor man who was killed while a crowd of "holiday shoppers" broke down the doors where he worked? What about the gang of teenagers that chased and surrounded a man just because he was Hispanic? They beat him up until one of them stabbed him to death, and they're all students at my son's school!"

"...when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to REDEEM those under law..."
"For the son of Man came to SEEK and SAVE the lost."

Ouch. My conscience awoke now too, but always the antagonist, I wanted more.
"What about the ecomony? Tens of thousands are out of work and it's only going to get worse."

"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose HOPE is in the Lord his God."

"But there are even more articles --I could go on and on. Isn't this supposed to be a season of joy?"

"...and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting JOY will crown their heads."

Thorougly convicted now at allowing the bad news of the day overshadow the Good News that we have EVERY day, I just had one more thought.
"How much longer do we have to read about roadside bombings killing innocent people in Iraq before there is finally peace?"

"...and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and PEACE there will be no end."

"Hello? Hello?"

The school bus squealing to a stop was all it took to wake Champ. but it took both his barking and the phone ringing to shake the cobwebs from my head. "Hello?" I managed, as my two youngest burst in the door.

Tom's sweet voice on the other end, "Hi honey! Any good news?"

This time my smile only broadened as the kids piled on top of Champ and me, "Of course! There's always GOOD NEWS!"
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