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

TITLE: Jennie's Christmas
By Peg Broussard


The tip of Jennie’s tongue poked through her lips. Here, in her grandmother’s kitchen, she was putting the last touches on the Christmas cookies. Her cheeks were flushed and loose tendrils of curly black hair that had escaped from her pony tail fell on either side of her face.

One of the best parts of Christmas, in Jennie’s opinion, was baking. The best part this year would be getting to go along with Grandma to the nursing home. Jennie had been looking forward to this particular family custom because this would be the first time she’d be allowed to deliver the baskets of food to the Winthrop Home for the Elderly. Only fifteen more days until Christmas she noted when she glanced at the Advent calendar.

“Wow, Grandma! Look at all the stuff! The people at Winthrop will be happy to see us.”

“I’m sure they will, Sugar. Now, let’s let this cake cool while we clean up our mess.”

It wasn’t long before the tiny kitchen was sparkling. The dishes were all washed and put away, the floor swept, the cookies placed in Christmas tins along with the fudge they’d made the day before. A big basket wrapped in clear wrap was filled with ham, fruit, cheese and crackers.

“Aren’t old people allowed to have chocolate cake?”

“Of course they can eat chocolate – what makes you think they can’t?

“’Cause you always make white cake and white frosting.”

“Well, I guess I make it white because it’s Jesus’ birthday cake and white is a symbol of purity and goodness.”

Jennie drew her brows together in thought but didn’t pursue the topic. It was time for the decorations and that was Jennie’s job. Grandma patiently handed her the cake-top decorations; a tiny manger, a shiny star, three miniature wise men and a shepherd. Slowly and carefully, Jennie placed each piece on top of the cake. Once the cake was covered Jennie raced upstairs to change her clothes and off they went.

Winthrop Home was all lit up when Jennie and Grandma arrived. Lights twinkled on the wreaths hung in each window and a glittering tree could be seen through the glazed windows. Jennie’s eyes were huge as Grandma pushed the door open. So many people! They were all smiling and some were calling, “Come in! Come in!”

“Jennie, sit here next to Martha while I fetch the things from the car. I’ll be right back.”

Jennie nodded mutely and slid next to Martha, who patted her hand, a comforting gesture she realized as Jennie smiled up at her. After a few minutes, Jennie forgot about being shy. It was too much fun watching everyone laughing and talking.

“All of us are glad you came this year,” Martha was saying while Jennie’s eyes, bright with excitement, darted here and there around the room.

“Me, too! Grandma says we’ll be singing carols and after that we’ll sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and get to eat cake ‘cause it’s Jesus’ birthday and adventure.”

“I think you mean Advent, don’t you dear?”

“Mmmhumm.” Jennie’s curls bounced playfully as she nodded. “Adventure. Did you know that Jesus was poor? He was borned in a stable ‘cause all the rooms were taken at the Holiday Inn.”

Martha stifled a laugh, realizing how serious Jennie was in her explanation of Christ’s birth.

“That’s quite right. What else can you tell me about the night Jesus was born?”

Jennie’s brow wrinkled in concentration. “Well, Jesus had wise men come bring him gifts and….oh! a little boy playing the drum! Also a sheep and a cow were there, too.”

“And do you know why these next few weeks are called Advent?”

“Of course I know,” Jennie smiled up at Martha. “Because it means something special is coming, like Christmas. Only fifteen days to go! Then everyone will sing praises to God and celebrate Jesus’ birthday. Also we get presents like Jesus did. Then maybe there will be peace on earth – that’s what Grandma says. She says Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Being a prince is a hard job and very important, you know.”

Martha’s eyes misted as she told Jennie, “Yes, it is. And it’s also very important to spread His message of Peace. I’d say you are doing that very well!”

As the group began singing ‘Oh, Come All Ye Faithful’, Martha squeezed Jennie’s hand and gave a silent prayer of thanks before she joined Jennie in singing a song of praise.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Gregory Kane11/01/08
Little Jennie is a doll. She's welcome around FaithWriters any time. She brings a joy and innocence to the wonder of Christmas
Marijo Phelps11/06/08
Perfect personification and dialogue for the young girl! Enjoyed the piece.