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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Home for Christmas (11/20/08)

TITLE: Home For Christmas (i)
By Nikki Rosen
11/23/08


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For so many years, I ached with a profound sense of homesickness. I often screamed silently to myself, “I want to go home, I just want to go home!” That term ‘home’ signified so much. It conveyed warmth, affection, care and support. As a young child, I yearned with a deep longing for such a place to run to, a comforting shelter to hide from the storms of life, but sadly, the conflicts and battles I endured, existed within the confines of the house in which I lived, and with those responsible for looking after me. Joy, peace, and faith were foreign concepts. I spent most of my time hiding and cringing in fear of family members who criticized and punished me for minor infractions, and for my simply being present for them to vent their frustrations out on.

During the holidays, I wandered outside in the cold winter chill, looking in windows and marveling at the bright colored lights, yearning to sit in front of the fireplaces burning their warm flames and aching to be part of the families I saw laughing and embracing each other. I climbed atop snow banks, to watch the happiness of others, wishing desperately I could be a part of their festivities and warmness. Eventually, I descended off the snowy hill and trudged ’home.’ I opened the door to greetings yelled in harsh tones, “where have you been you idiot, go to you room! I don‘t want to have to look at your stupid face!”
Sometimes a hard slap on the head accompanied the cruel greeting to emphasis my worthlessness. I retreated to my small room and crouched in a far corner, letting the tears fall down my cheeks. I closed my eyes and imagined the homes I had seen moments earlier. My young mind pretended those families welcomed me into their loving world and drew me into the warmth and joy of their festive celebrations.

Home to me meant criticisms, beatings, terror, shame and hiding. There were no brightly burning lights, no warm crackling fireplace, no meals that smelled inviting and no loving happy family to hold close and share stories with. My mother lay in her bed in the upstairs bedroom, dying. My father, full of rage and venom, was someone you tried hard to avoid. Relatives bustled about caring for my ailing mother and maintaining the upkeep of our house, caring little for me and my older sister. To them we were nothing more then annoyances. They pushed us downstairs to the basement, out of sight, hidden away, until one of them needed a scapegoat to lash their irritations on. Only then we became the object of their focus.

I didn’t grow up knowing the lighthearted fun of Christmas, but I did discover it’s delight when I became a parent. I decided my children would never experience the wretchedness of not being a part of something wonderful. I strove to make our home similar to the homes I had peeked in at as a young lonely child. I accepted Christ in my mid-twenties and all those years of longing to go home, He made possible. In Him, I found true peace, amazing joy, warm friendships and love that went beyond anything I had imagined possible. My children have never known the emptiness and pain of not belonging or the awfulness of not celebrating the joys of God’s love. Every holiday season I have taken them to reach out to others in our community who have no concept of being “home for Christmas.”

Perhaps because of my own childhood memories, ‘home for Christmas’ now means going beyond my family get-togethers and reaching out to a community of people broken, lost, and in desperate need of our Saviour’s presence. As His hands, His feet and His smile, I strive to touch the lives of others who are hurting and yearning for a safe haven that will provide them with the peace and comfort they so desperately seek. God gave the wonderful gift of Jesus to the world to provide hope, salvation and peace. Whoever accepts His glorious offering, will undoubtedly experience the true meaning of home for Christmas.


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cindy yarger11/28/08
A positive look at change and hope. Good job. Awful beginnings don't have to stay that way. Thanks for sharing.