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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)

TITLE: A Moment of Holiday Impulse
By DiAnna Steele
10/02/08


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Life was not going according to plan, at least not my plan. Friends were quick to tell me that God always has a plan of His own. But truly, when faced with the solitude of an empty house for the holidays, my self-pity outranked God’s plan. Sure, I made a feeble attempt to pray. I tried to listen for God through my despair but the lingering shock of my husband’s sudden departure a few months prior seemed to overshadow anything else. Hope was not going to be found in the stocking hanging on the mantle. The empty space under the tree called out mockingly, amplifying the void in my heart. As intense as the loneliness was, it wasn’t merely the thought of facing this “the most wonderful time of the year” by myself that paralyzed me. Bills were piling up. Food was running low. Job prospects weren’t looking good. Then there was the note from my landlord cowardly mailed to hide between the Christmas cards and junk mail, his letter instructing me to find a new place to live. With a hint of false graciousness, the letter stated that in the spirit of the season he was giving me 30 days to move out before he put the house on the market for sale. That would land me right at New Year’s Day. I stared at the envelope and wept at the sight of the cheerfully colored stamp bearing HAPPY HOLIDAY.

I prayed again even as I felt my words fall flat on the powdery snow outside my Colorado window. “God, I know you’re there. I can’t do this by myself. I have nowhere to go but to you.” As fears assailed me, I mumbled something about Him being my only hope.

The snow was beginning to blanket the trees as I stepped out into the chilly evening. It’s not that I was excited about the Christmas party a friend had invited me to. But I knew there would be free food and a chance to act normal for a while. So I climbed into my car, forgoing the heater in an attempt to conserve gasoline. Wiper blades chased large white flakes from my windshield as I wiped a steady stream of tears from my cheeks.

Driving through my neighborhood I spotted a large group of Christmas carolers clustered under a street lamp at a busy intersection. Clad in layers of winter clothing, boots, scarves & wool mittens, they were braving the elements to bring cheer to the community. “We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” rang out through the night followed by laughter and waving. I recognized none of the faces but their smiles were unmistakable. I envied their frivolity and drove on in silence as questions shouted at me inside my head. Do you really want to go to a party with puffy red eyes? Are you honestly expecting to find Joy in a cup of eggnog and a slice of fruitcake? An audible “NO” broke the silence. I wheeled the car around and headed back in the direction of my slushy tire tracks, back to the quiet, empty house. Closing in on that music-filled intersection I succumbed to a moment of holiday impulse. I parked the car and walked over to the welcoming group of carolers in time to join them for one of my favorite Christmas songs.

For a brief moment my troubles were placed on hold as my spirit surrendered to the truth of the lyrics to Oh Little Town of Bethlehem “…yet in thy dark streets shineth, the Everlasting Light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”


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Member Comments
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Jan Ackerson 10/09/08
Lovely little slice of life--I like it!

Consider breaking your longer paragraphs into shorter, more digestible "bites".

Thanks for sharing this mini-memoir.
Norma-Anne Hough10/09/08
What a lovely story. So glad you were able to join in with your favourite carol.
Blessings,
Norms