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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: It’s Christmas Day (in the present or living memory) (11/27/08)

TITLE: A Different Christmas Day
By Mary Tagarelli



If Christmas is going to be different anyway then make it good and different! It would be my first year without children staying at the house. There would be no one to come downstairs with me or to help hunt for baby Jesus and be the victorious first one to open a gift.
It would be Wendy’s first Christmas where her children would be with their father. So we decided to do a Christmas brunch together. Wendy’s mom Jean would be with us. Jean is already failing from her Parkinson’s disease but still shuffles along and knows who we are. Hmm let’s invite her best friend Vivian. Now we start listening to who else would be alone for Christmas. We start giving impromptu invites. The excitement starts to build!
Each one who is invited wants to pitch in and help. No asking for help just accepting sincere offers. How different.
As each sister arrives there are lots of hugs given. Hallelujahs are everywhere. The gift of love is flowing freely wrapped in different colors, accents and voices!
At the sumptuous table Wendy gives the blessing. She thanks God for all the provision especially the joyous celebration of His birth together instead of a blue self-centered Christmas alone. Thank You God for giving us what we need which is not necessarily what we want.
The talk around the table is the best. Each one is sharing what God is doing right now in her life. How He brought her from her salvation story to today. His mercies are obviously new especially this morning.
After brunch Jean’s friend Vivian sits at the piano and entertains us. She shows us how she explains music terms to little children. The musical roll of thunder for forte, her experienced, graceful fingers just gliding over the keys kept us as enthralled as her younger students. For a moment we become those little ones in class.
Next Wendy ends the morning by showing us the gift God gave her to give her brother when he recently moved into his new home by himself again. She had asked God to give her something to say or do that would be lasting. What He gave her was an expressive dance to a contemporary song, Thank You for loving me by Tommy Walker. The lyrics in the song combined with the dance moves reminded us of how much God did for us on the cross. It was the gospel message in movement. We couldn’t even applaud when the song ended because the dance was such worship. Her brother wrote in his Christmas card: the sounds of the dance still linger in the house. We could now understand that statement. How like God!
Our buffet of gifts is over. There are hugs and kisses to go around. Each “Blessed Christmas” or “Merry Christmas” is heartfelt. The gifts we shared of unconditional love and encouragement did not have paper wrapping but they were sincere, touching gifts from the Lord to His daughters. Then these special gifts were shared by the daughters with each other. And as each one waved goodbye the phrase that was repeated over and over again that touched Wendy and my heart was: this was my best Christmas ever! How different! How wonderful is our God!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 12/05/08
This was refreshing--lots and lots of people don't have the "Christmas card" Christmas.

I was a bit confused about the cast of characters--didn't quite catch all the relationships. And you switched back and forth between past and present tense a few times.

I enjoyed reading this, as it showed evidence of a lovely spirit.
Deborah Porter 12/12/08
Mary, I just wanted to let you know that you did very well in the Challenge this week. Even though you didn't quite make it into the winners' circle, you made it into the highest rankings for Level 1, placing 13th for the level.

The competition is always quite intense in Level 1, so well done. Keep up the great writing.

If you would like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can see them here:


With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)