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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Lights (10/30/08)

TITLE: Shine
By Janice Fitzpatrick


The scent of poinsettias filled the air as each of us prepared for the upcoming performance. Soon the Christmas Lights Cantata we had long practiced and rehearsed for was about to take place.

Arranging my collar, I nervously Iooked around at the many faces in our choir.

Automatically my eyes shifted over to where “she” used to stand. I drew a deep breath as memories of a woman I had the opportunity of knowing, began to illuminate the chambers of my mind.
Not so long ago, before our church expanded and we moved to this spacious modernly designed edifice, services were held in a little brick church on Hewitt. That was where I met Sadie.

With a ready smile, that shined as bright as Christmas bulbs on the tree in Rockefeller Center, she beamed with an inner glow.

I had always been mesmerized as a child, viewing the gigantic perennial, and stood in wonder at its beauty. However, what always took my breath away was the garment of lights that it was dressed in annually.

Small in stature, Sadie, however, stood even taller in my eyes. She was the first person to shake my hand and welcome me that summer morning, when I made my way through the doorway, a shy teen-ager in search of someplace to be accepted.

A woman of few words, her presence alone spoke volumes. From sitting with me many a Sunday, to making me feel part of the weekly Bible studies she held in her tiny home, this gray haired sweetie was like a “grandma” to me.

I stood out in this group of elderly ladies like a sore appendage with my crimson punk hair style and brow ring but Sadie welcomed me with open arms. Often rocking backwards in my metal chair, I absorbed the lessons like a kitchen sponge. She just smiled warmly.

Even when the seat collapsed and I landed in her lap she just laughed, “Nice of you to drop in.” My face must have matched the shade of my mane and all eyes were on me but Sadie’s eyes twinkled humor and grace. I never rocked backwards again.

Before I knew it I was also joining the robed assembly of vocalists, who, in time, became kinfolk of the heart. At first I often felt inadequate and Sadie could sense my reservations.

“Child,” she took my hand one evening after Christmas practice and led me to a corner of the sanctuary, where an artificial balsam stood.

“See these strands?” I glanced at the colorful ornaments and miniature lights, nodding. “It’s just wires,” her gentle voice began,” but when the bulbs are attached and plugged in they’re equally beautiful and fulfill their purpose, to shine.”

She winked at me and chuckled,” Just don’t go poking your finger in a socket.” I laughed.
Through the sea of faces, old and new, it had been a relief to always see Sadie in our choir, steadfast and radiating joy and love, but now years later, she was gone. The news of her passing came as a shock and affected me deeply.

All of the hard work was now evident from the elaborately decorated sanctuary to the choir, clad in robes of iridescent white and placed artistically at certain heights and angles to represent a living tree.

However, the magnificent part were the lights so we made sure periodically that our small battery operated candles would indeed glow. Mine began to waver like my faith.

While our voices united for several songs, a beady eyed winged creature crawled around my neck and hovered over my face. I tried fervently to blow at the pest but like a crazed kamikaze, the incessant pilot buzzed wildly and crash landed in the back of my throat.

I felt a strange crawling on my tongue and automatically choked. There went my candle dropping to the floor, rolling down the aisle.

Blindly I groped in the darkness for the source of light. All I felt were billowy robes and feet when a hand touched my shoulder, “Here, Sadie would want you to have this.”

I reached out into the shadows once again but this time I held a miniature light and turned it on, swallowing down the remnants of insect aftertaste.

I cleared my throat, and took a deep breath. One by one we began to sing, “Shine Jesus Shine.” I knew Sadie was smiling, her eyes now beholding the brightest light of all.

Matthew 5:16
"Shine Jesus Shine" by Graham Kendrick

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Member Comments
Member Date
Connie Dixon11/08/08
Sweet story. When you're involved with the worship ministry you can really relate to the "robed assembly of vocalists, who, in time, became kinfolk of the heart." Good job!
Celeste Ammirata11/12/08
This story captured my from word one. God Bless Sadie, for her wisdom and kindness. Nicely done!