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

TITLE: For Love and Love Alone
By CJ Raney


Brother Jim announced, Sunday morning, that the annual Christmas caroling would be the following Saturday. Matthew tugged on his mom’s arm. “Mom, I can go now!” He was finally 8-years-old and old enough to go with the youth on outings.

Matthew watched the clock all day on Saturday. The day seemed to creep by as Matthew impatiently waited to leave for the church. When they finally arrived at the church, he jumped out of the car and ran to the church van to join the rest of the youth group. “Bye Mom,” he waved without looking back. After Brother Jim prayed for a safe trip, the group headed to the new sub-division in town.

Matthew looked out the window of the van as they pulled into the neighborhood. It was beautiful with Christmas lights and decorations throughout the subdivision.

Everyone unloaded from the van and approached the first home to begin caroling. Several houses later, they came to a large two-story home.

“Brother Jim, can I knock on this door?” Matthew asked.

“Sure, Matthew, go ahead.”

Filled with excitement, he walked cautiously to the door and knocked. With a broad smile on his face, Matthew took a step back and waited.

The door opened quickly. A man gruffly asked, “What do you want? I am not buying anything.”

With a very shaky voice, Matthew said, “No sir, we aren’t selling anything.”

“Then, what do you want?”

Brother Jim walked up placing his hands on Matthew’s shoulders for comfort. “Sir, we are from First Baptist Church and are singing Christmas carols, spreading God’s love to others.”

“I don’t have time for this. I don’t want to hear anything about God loving me.” The man stepped back into his house and slammed the door loudly.

Matthew stood there with an awestruck look on his face. “I don’t understand. Why doesn’t he want to hear us sing?”

“He just doesn’t understand about God’s love.” Brother Jim said, as they walked from the home.

The youth group gathered at the curb and began to sing….

Exult, O morning stars aflame!
with all the works of God proclaim
the Child of Bethlehem who came
for love and love alone.

Come earth and air and sky and sea,
bear witness to his deity
who lived, the Man of Galilee,
for love and love alone.

By faith behold the Crucified,
his arms of mercy open wide,
the Lamb of Calvary, who died
for love and love alone.

Let every eye his glories see,
who was, and is, and is to be;
who reigns as Christ in Majesty
for love and love alone.

O world, by strife and sorrow torn,
new hope is yours on Christmas morn,
the Prince of Peace a child is born,
for love and love alone.

As they were singing, the man opened the door and stepped onto his porch. When the song was finished, he walked down the sidewalk towards them. Matthew saw him coming and felt a little anxious, so he stepped behind Brother Jim. He just knew the man was going to yell at them for singing. Matthew looked up at the man and saw the tears welling up in his eyes. The man stretched his hand out to Matthew.

Matthew tentatively reached his small hand out and placed it in the man’s large callused hand. The man shook his hand and simply said, “Thank you.”

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 (KJV)

-Timothy Dudley-Smith, from GREAT IS THE GLORY: 36 New Hymns written between
1993 & 1996, Hope Publishing Company, 1997. [Highly recommended]

© 1997 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188.

Note: I sent an email to Hope and I visited their website. I think that it is okay to use as long as I am not performing it somewhere. I may be wrong, but with time running out and I haven't heard back I decided to submit my story with the reference attached. I felt if I left it out the story lost it meaning.

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This article has been read 474 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/09/08
Ooh, I'll have to check that out; the words are beautiful!
Joy Faire Stewart10/09/08
I could feel Matthew's excitment being old enough to go with the group and then, his disappointment at the man's first reaction. Love the touching ending.
Karlene Jacobsen10/11/08
I love the story, although I do have one question.
How does an 8 year old boy full of excitement walk cautiously? Keep writing.