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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: It’s Christmas Day (in the present or living memory) (11/27/08)

TITLE: In Plenty or Want
By Esther Phillips


It was a cool, cloudy Christmas Day in 1961. My husband and I were in Augusta, Georgia where he had been recalled into the Army during the Cuban crisis. We were hundreds of miles away from any of our relatives. We were expecting our first child just like Mary and Joseph on that first Christmas day centuries before.

At the time, I was feeling sorry for myself because I had never been away from family on Christmas. Now that I look back and reflect, I wonder if Mary had any of those feelings as she rode into Bethlehem on the donkey. We know that she was blessed to be giving birth to Jesus. Could she really have felt blessed with no place to lie down to give birth except a stable?

In the days leading up to our Christmas Day as an army wife, I thought about how I could make the most of our situation. I wanted to decorate our little rented trailer house, but we could not afford to buy a tree and the trimmings. I got the idea to go walk the neighborhood to see if there was something I could use for a tree. Sure enough, I found a fallen tree branch. I took it back to the trailer. I got our small bathroom wastebasket and filled it with dirt. Then I poked the branch into it. I covered the wastebasket with a green bath towel.

I could definitely see the potential for it to become a Christmas tree. I began to develop decorations for it from things out of my kitchen. I used cupcake liners to make Christmas stars. I strung some of my bead necklaces on it. I cut designs out of the Christmas cards we were receiving and hung them on it. By the time my husband came home from work, we had a beautiful Christmas tree.

As Christmas Day approached, we both were wishing that we had a little extra money so we could buy each other a present. A couple days before Christmas, his dad sent us a small amount of money for us for Christmas. We divided the money and promptly went out to shop for a present for the other one.

Christmas Day arrived and we opened our presents, ate a good meal, and sat by our little Christmas tree. Regardless that we were hundreds of miles away from family, we felt truly blessed to have each other.

In Luke 2:11-14 are these words, “’Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’” (NIV)

I have lived through many Christmas Days, and I have come to the conclusion that each one is precious. It isn’t about whether we have a lot of things, but it is about the fact that God loves us so much that he sent His own Son to us.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Marlene Austin12/06/08
Nice message, but a little abrupt in the change from the personal narrative to a devotional reading. IMHO, would have been nice to have drawn the characters more fully to get the reader "attached", then conclude with the devotional tie-in. :)
Karlene Jacobsen12/11/08
The creativity your MC showed was great. The reference to Mary being so far from family, riding a donkey and birthing in a stable, and tying it to how blessed your MC feels- very good.
You expressed truths and delivered a great message.
However, I too, felt the sharp turn from memoir to devotional.