Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: It’s Christmas Day (in the present or living memory) (11/27/08)
TITLE: THE STATE OF CHRISTMAS
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Robert Meek, a high-ranking Christian U.S. State Department official, planned an atypical Christmas day celebration to be held in the ballroom of the Merrifield Hotel in Camp Springs, Maryland. The invitations went out to family, friends, associates, and three “special” invitees who lived in Robert’s hometown of Covenant, Arizona. Their names: Arthur Reel, Jerry Newton, and Sabrina Fenton.
All three of the “special” invitees received their invitations which provided notice that they were invited to Robert’s event gratis for a Christmas celebration. They were allowed to bring three guests. All expenses were complimentary from Robert. The invitation included necessary information with proof of expenses covered. What was not included was the name of the generous benefactor. The only revelation was that he worked for the U.S. State Department.
Arthur was a gruff cantankerous man who found something wrong with everyone except himself. His wife, Cynthia, had recently become a Christian and was often in prayer for Arthur’s salvation. Arthur received his invitation and could not guess the identity of the mystery benefactor. Cynthia was elated, and urged Arthur to attend. He was not about to decline the freebie opportunity. They were on board to go.
Jerry was recently divorced and in a deep depression. He did not look forward to Christmas and had no idea how he would spend the day. In his state, he did not care. When he got his invitation, he was puzzled as well as suspicious. He called his best friend, Arnold. Arnold advised Jerry to put away his suspicions and get with it. Jerry grudgingly agreed.
Both of Sabrina’s parents had recently died, and she was immensely sorrowful. Sabrina was a woman who had lied, and mistreated others for most of her life. When she got her invitation, she was not sure what to make of it. She told her Uncle Bertrand, one of the few people who loved her. He recommended that she attend to help her cope with her sorrow.
Finally, the big day had come. Giddy and excited guests began to arrive. Arthur, Jerry, and Sabrina entered with their guests. They were in eager anticipation to discover who had invited them. The celebrants mingled, ate, drank and were merry. Robert had prior plans to be fashionably late. That was planned, in particular, for the sake of Arthur, Jerry, and Sabrina. When he arrived, he took to the ballroom stage and paused for effect. Arthur, Jerry, and Sabrina were visibly shaken. Robert gave them reassuring smiles. You see, back in the day, those three were Robert’s arch enemies. Each of them had done some of the cruelest things against Robert in efforts to be destructive in his life. Before Christ changed him, Robert hated Arthur, Jerry, and Sabrina because of the actions that they had used to oppose his developments. It had been years since they had seen one another. After Christ, Robert had forgiven them, and he loved them, as well.
Robert called for the attention of the crowd as he began a speech. “Praise God, and thank all of you for attending. Your presence is such a delight and pleasure on this Christmas day. It does my heart good to observe the enjoyment that is on display among all of you precious people. Please continue to partake of the blessings here bestowed on us by Almighty God, our Divine Creator.
My life and career have such benefits and joy. Much opposition preceded my success but I am certain that the best of my character evolved through adversities. Christ came into my life seventeen years ago, and since his placement in my heart, I know that all of my good fortune is due to God’s help in my steadfast Christian commitment. I would like to bring to the stage the guests of honor for this special celebration, Arthur Reel, Jerry Newton, and Sabrina Fenton. Their contributions were crucial to the excellent achievements that I have been able to accomplish.”
The trio looked jolted but proceeded forward to mount the stage. Robert smiled, shook their hands, made a few remarks, and gave each of them a Christmas memento comprised of evergreen leafing from which dangled three bells, each with an inscription. One bell read LOVE, one read FORGIVENESS, and one read MERCY. Each accepted as tears welled in their eyes. Even gruff Arthur could not resist. Three months later, he went to the altar and accepted Christ. As for Jerry and Sabrina, God also gave the increase….
…Love your enemies,…(Matthew 5:44-KJV)
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