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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: Live to Give
By Ann Renae Hair
11/29/07


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Jordan stretched to hit the snooze on the alarm, and reached for his wife’s hand. “Merry Christmas, Missy.”

“Merry Christmas, Jordan.”

“Lord, we come to You with thankfulness for wisdom to teach our children about Your gifts this Christmas morning. Help us to help them grow to be glad to serve You.” He gently squeezed his wife’s hand.

“Yes, Father. Our desire is for our children to know You give good gifts. Our hope is for them to use those gifts to Your glory. Prepare their hearts for Your teaching in this life lesson. In Jesus name, Amen.” Missy squeezed her husband’s hand as their eyes opened.

They each picked up a string of sleigh bells and headed to the kids’ bedrooms.

“HO, HO, HO!”

One door at a time opened with groggy teens groaning at their crazy parents.

Olivia, Jake and Evan rolled their eyes at each other, grinned, and attacked their Dad and Mom with a super-crusher-group-hug until they cried ‘Santa’. Then they raced to the family room.

After many ‘thanks’ and ‘I love yous’ and paper tossing, the teens were ready for breakfast.

“Wait! Mom and I saved the best for last.”

The teens shared high-fives as their dad dragged three more packages from behind the couch.

Evan lifted the lid to his box. “Uh, a bag of sand. Is this a joke?”

Jordan and Missy just grinned. “Evan, you’re never too old to play. Jake, your turn.”

“I don’t know, Mom. You guys are kinda scarin’ me.”

Jake pulled the lid off his box. “A chunk of wood. I don’t get it.”

Olivia picked up the lid to her box. “My turn! This should be interesting…it’s a bowl of something.”

“Go ahead and open the cover, Livvie. I dare you!” Evan leaned to see the contents revealed.

“Okay, now I’m scared! What do I do with a bowl of mud?”

“So glad you asked! Next Wednesday you’ll all find out!”

“Why do we have to wait a week to know what’s going on?”

“Well, Jake, because we’re crazy…about our kids, that is. Time for breakfast!”

***

“Mom, Dad, we’re home!”

Evan, Jake, and Olivia carried their boxes into the family room.

“Wait ‘til you see”…”Look, Mom”…”You’re gonna love this!”

“Whoa, whoa. One at a time. Evan, tell us about your day.”

“Thanks, Dad. It was sweet! I didn’t realize it was special sand you gave me. Jack was so cool! He showed me the entire process of glass blowing…and I made this.” He carefully opened his box to reveal a hand blown goblet.

“Evan it’s beautiful! Very nice work. Okay, Jake, you next.”

Jake lifted a bowl out of his box. “Tony taught me step by step how to make a wooden bowl. It was pretty cool. We rubbed special oil into the wood to reveal the grain and protect it.”

“Perfect. It’s just right. Olivia, what do you have?”

“Trudy was so patient! It was really hard to learn to spin clay, but playing with mud is so fun! We started over so many times. I finally got the hang of it.” Olivia took a vase from her box and put it on the table. “We stopped at the store on the way home.” She arranged a bouquet of fresh flowers in the vase.

“Great job, Livvie! Everybody to the kitchen. Let’s put these things to good use.”

Olivia filled her vase of flowers with water. Jake sliced the loaf of bread and placed it in the bowl. Evan put his goblet at his place and poured the grape juice.

“We’re glad you enjoyed your day. We want you to see how God gives each of us spiritual gifts and talents to be used for His glory. These gifts can be used for harm, or not used at all…wasted. We tried to choose a project that would suit each of your personal abilities and interests. Keep in mind how God wants to use you on this earth for His service.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

“We’re really proud of the work you’ve all done today.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

“Lord, thank You for Your blessing on this family and for giving the ultimate gift…your life. Bless this bread as we remember Your body was broken for us. Bless this juice as we remember Your blood has washed us and made us pure in God’s sight. You are the potter, we are the clay. Help us use our gifts and abilities to Your glory. Amen.”


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This article has been read 508 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 11/29/07
Very clever and unique take on the topic. Love the lessons you taught through such odd gifts. I was especially blessed by the parents' praying together in the beginning - a model I would love to follow.
Jan Ackerson 11/30/07
Love the fact that this couple opened their day with prayer; one gets the impression that this is a long-standing habit with them.

I was surprised that the teens yelled "Santa", and some of the dialogue seemed not quite realistic to me (a bit stilted).

These parents were creative and wise to give such great gifts with a lesson.
Laury Hubrich 12/02/07
This was a very clever entry. I like your title, too:) Thank you for sharing!
Laury
Peter Stone12/08/07
Brilliant. At first I thought yet another symbolic story/parable, but then the boring dirt, wood and clay are developed into works of art. That really took me by surprise. Great example of showing us to take the gifts God gave us and develop them into maturity. I think the story would have been even stronger if the children were around seven years instead of teenagers. I can't see teenagers relating to Ho Ho Ho nor sleigh bells, nor shouting 'Santa'.
Ann Renae Hair12/08/07
I'm kinda bummed the 'santa' thing did not come out right!

My intention was that the parents yelled 'santa' instead of the traditional 'uncle' when the teens ganged up on them.

Hope that clears up the confusion!
Catrina Bradley 12/14/07
I love the couple praying before they even opened their eyes. Great message on using our gifts faithfully, and trusting God to turn them into beauty and good. An enjoyable read. And Thanks for your comment on my Church entry "When the Wind Blows"!! God Bless, Cat.