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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)

TITLE: The Ultimate Gift
By Larie Norvell
10/30/08


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“9 more days to Chrisssssmuuuus!”

My daughter’s statement surprised me so I replied, “How do you know that?”

“Cuz I looked on da calendar!”

“BECAUSE, not cuz, and THE, not da.”

“Beeeecause, I looked on the calendar.”

“Thank you for enunciating your words. So you say the calendar told you that Christmas is only 9 days away huh.”

“Yes ma’am! I read it all by myself and I am soooo excited!”

“Well how many more days till we go to worship service?”

“Uhhhhh, I dun-no…don’t know.”

Because of the, “Oh no, I should have made something up” look on Evelyn’s face, I could tell that she was not ready to receive the forthcoming sermon. As I gently held on to her hand, my head tilted and a pursed smile emerged. I said, “Sweetie, how is it that you are excited about this once a year day that we do not celebrate, but can’t tell me how many days until we go to worship service again and we go every week?”

“Because it’s not marked on my calendar mommy.” I hesitated with responding because although she didn’t say it “out loud,” I’m pretty sure there was a, “DUHHHH,” at the end of her statement. However, my hesitance and the “Excuse me?” snap of my neck and bulging eyes received an immediate, “SORRY MOMMY!”

“Okay Evelyn. So why are you are excited about it.”

“Because I’m gonna get stuff from Grandma and Grandpa since they celebrate it and worship ain’t no celebration cuz I don’t get nothing.”

“It’s not about getting something! And your idea of worship service is twisted! Yes, although in our house, we do not decorate, put a tree up, or exchange gifts; my parents still choose to shower you with gifts during that time. But, that doesn’t mean you’re celebrating it. Besides, they don’t even wrap the gifts Evelyn!”

“I know, but I still get something.”

“What does that mean?”

“We don’t celebrate worship and we don’t get nothing.”

“Oh Miha, I thought daddy and I clearly explained this. When Jesus bled and died, it was for you; so that you wouldn’t be penalized for the wrong you’ve done. Remember we talked about His rising up after being in the tomb for three days? That was for you too! Any of this in your memory?”

“Yes ma’am. But I don’t understand how it’s a celebration.”

“We celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself and His resurrection because we believed, were baptized and received the gift of the Holy Spirit”, (Mark 16:16 & Acts 2:38-39). My personal celebration is when I have communion every Sunday because it stands for Jesus’ body and blood! And the best thing is that we give gifts to God instead of going there expecting something!”

“I don’t remember taking gifts!”

“We give gifts of service. Daddy leads songs and preaches sometimes. I teach Sunday school and help coordinate fellowships. We’ve noticed your gifts also.”

With raised brows, Evelyn said, “I don’t do anything.”

“What about the nursery and cleaning the bathrooms?”

“All I do in the nursery is sing songs and make sure none of the kids get out. And I don’t clean the bathroom; I just refill the soap thingy, and paper towels.

“And doing those things are your gifts of service to the Lord. Refilling the soap… what did you call it…thingy, and paper towels are gifts of hospitality. We can’t have our visitors thinking that we have dirty damp hands. They may be afraid to shake them!”

With pity, she forced herself to laugh at my poorly attempted joke. So I got back to the business of changing Evelyn’s attitude about worship service. “Evelyn, honey, daddy and I just want to make sure that we put as much effort into worshipping God as we do with celebrating Christmas or any other holiday that only comes once a year. We use to countdown to Christmas with anticipation. But now, I’d rather countdown each week to when I get to have a Bible study or worship with our Brothers and Sisters again. It’s exciting to see the gifts they give to God and more exciting to create new ways of giving my gifts. Do ya get it?”

“Yes mommy, thank you.” Evelyn walked away as if she were a dog with its tail tucked ‘tween its hind legs. And I teased, “ Sweetie, worship isn’t a celebration because I do not get anything, not, worship ain’t no celebration cuz I don’t get nothing.”


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