Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Cards (11/06/08)
TITLE: The Seasons' Greetings
By Sonya Leigh
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I lived at Long’s Drug Store on Judd Street, under the elevated train track. I was enrolled in a summer work-study program through my high school. During the week I worked the juvenile cards section. Lots of ‘different folk’ passed through there. It was hard to tell which of us was more card-like, really. At first it was exciting, but then, I got tired of being turned over, bent up and smeared. You’d be surprised how many people don’t wash their hands. Truth was, nobody ever laughed at my jokes. And no one cried when I worked the sympathy aisle. It wasn’t that I didn’t try. I ironed myself daily, took two eraser baths and faithfully attended night classes at our high school satellite, the “Employees Only” room. I learned to rhyme. I kept the beat. I cracked myself up during all the humor classes. Still, no sales. Every weekend I dragged my crumpled self home and dreamed of a different life. But who was I to complain? I was the son of an immigrant.
One day, my father called me over and said, “Ah, my little vellum.” I blinked and waited for the rest. “Your mother and I fly here vit only six words on our pockets. Vee vork hard to be the business cards ve are today. Ve know the plans God has for you is good, because He is good. Now summer is no more and ees time for you to get out of that long drug. You follow dreams, ok? Days Spring Academy ees good school and you vill go there.”
That was it. Divine intervention.
After a jumble of greetings from the class, Miss Easter found me an empty seat next to a pretty Swiss card named Elle. She continued with her welcome address, “You are quarter folds now, but some day you will grow up to be half folds. Your shape doesn’t matter as long as you do what God has called you to do. In this class we will seek Him together to find out His plans for you.” She pointed at each of us in turn as she continued. “Some of you have gifts of exhortation, able to spur people on in their most holy faith. Others of you have God’s gift of wisdom, gentle yet forthright. Even now, maybe the Lord is stirring up mercy and compassion within you. Will you have the privilege of weeping with those who weep?” Not me, I couldn’t make anyone cry. “Maybe you will be a full time post card who reminds people of God’s love in foreign lands,” she went on. That’s what I needed, to be an immigrant post card in yet another country. “Therefore, you no longer need to wander down the wide aisles of greeting cards. Remember, you are called to bring glory to the King,” she finished. Ok, so she was a nice lady.
The months passed and almost everyone around me got into their new grooves. Except for me, of course. When Halloween came, some of the students shone brighter than foil candy wrappers as they shared God’s truth with children. During autumn, older people, deeply affected by the eloquent prose of the students, looked up to God just like colorful leaves before they fall to the ground. Thanksgiving approached and my friend Jerry found a desire to encourage people who had no families. One by one, students moved out of our classroom and into their walks of life. But in all these things nothing moved me. Did I have any gifts?
Just after the Thanksgiving holiday, Miss Easter could plainly see how disheartened I had become. So, she asked those of us who remained to write a poem about anything we wanted. My poem flowed out of me as though it were writing itself. Miss Easter read our poems out loud. Elle’s short, yet powerful poem was about God’s tremendous love for people. Mine was about the greatest Gift to all mankind. Miss Easter said, “I am especially honored to send you both out into the world, Chris and Elle. You have patiently waited for God’s timing, not settling for anything less than the Master’s Yuletide prose. For this honor you shall be given new names. Elle, you shall be Noel. And, Chris, your name is now Christmas.
Christmas and Noel. Maybe the foreign field wouldn’t be so bad after all.
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