Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)
TITLE: The Empty Chair
By lynn potter
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“We don’t have enough chairs!” Suzie piped in to the already confusing chorus of voices at the dining room table. “We’ve got to find another chair, we just have to!” Nancy glanced at her daughter, and the distraught look on her face caught her attention. “What on earth do we need another chair for? There are seven of us, honey, and we have seven chairs. Now, go and wash your hands for dinner.”
“Mamma, you know. Don’t you remember?” Suzie stomped up the stairs and slammed her bedroom door. Nancy followed her and gently knocked. “Suzie, honey?” As she leaned her ear against the door, she heard her daughter softly crying. “She forgot Grampa, she forgot!” Nancy barely made out the words, then gasping, remembered…
Horrified at her selfishness and forgetfulness, she ran down the stairs into the kitchen where her oldest daughter was getting supper ready to bring to the table. “Katrina, I need you to do something for me before we eat. Will you go up to the attic and bring Grampa’s old chair down and set it at the table? Suzie has a story she wants to tell us at dinner.”
As Katrina hurried to the attic she could hear the chorus change to a plea, “Hurry up, Katrina, we’re starving!” The loud chatter stopped as she brought in the old worn out rocking chair. Everyone remembered Grampa sitting in his chair at night before going to bed and reading his Bible. He would tell them He could feel Jesus every time he sat in the chair. He said he always asked Jesus to “come and sit with him awhile.” Every night Grampa would sit and wait.
Memories of her father still fresh, Nancy left the room before anyone could see her tears. She made her way back up to Suzie’s room and tapped lightly on the door. “Suzie honey, we’ve got Grampa’s chair at the table now. Come on down, we’re ready to eat and hear your story.”
Responding quickly to her mother‘s soft voice, Suzie opened the door and followed her to the dining room. As she saw Grampa’s empty chair, warm sweet tears filled her eyes. Wiping them with the sleeve of her shirt she began, “You all remember when Grampa was so sick and he kept telling us he was waiting for Jesus? Well, one day when I was in his room with him all by myself he made me promise something. I never told anyone but Mamma and today is the day I will keep my promise. Grampa was really weak and I could barely hear him talk so I bent down and put my ear near his mouth. He was gasping for air and only said a couple words at a time. “Suzie, sweetie,” he said to me. “Next Christmas… will…you put… my chair…at the table…for Jesus? He…didn’t have…any place…that first Christmas… Put…my chair…He’ll come…
A beautiful silence filled the air as they looked at the empty chair, then at each other. One by one they realized that they too were waiting for Jesus. In the distance they heard a faint melodic sound. It was wind chimes blowing in the wind.
They knew He had come. Grampa’s chair was no longer empty.
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