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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hotel/Motel (09/12/05)

TITLE: I Missed It
By Kevin Kindrick


It was the busiest week I had seen in years. The Governor had just declared a census, and everyone was returning home to register. My inn was packed for the first time in…I don’t know how long.

I had already let out the best rooms to the Priests and Pharisees, and they were beginning to gather in the courtyard for supper.

By the time the bankers and merchants had arrived, all I had left for them was the common rooms – and even those were soon filled.

My servants had finished lighting the torches and lanterns in the courtyard to hold back the darkness when there was yet another knock on my door. It opened to reveal a man who must have been in his late thirties standing beside a donkey bearing his young – and very pregnant – wife.

“We need a room for the night,” he said.

I stepped out of the way to show him my packed courtyard, “You, and everyone else. I don’t have any rooms left.”

His wife looked crushed. “Please, sir,” he said, “my wife is pregnant, and it’s very cold out. We need shelter.”

I shook my head. “I want to help you, I truly do, but all my rooms are filled. I’m sorry.”

The man nodded, and began to walk away, leading the donkey off into the night. I just couldn’t bear the sight of that young woman shivering so. “Wait,” I called, “there might be something I can do for you after all.”

They turned around, and looked back.

“You can stay in my stable. It isn’t pretty, nor is it clean, but it’s warm and dry.”

He looked so grateful it was almost sad. I lead them around back, into the heavy, dusty air of the stable. The donkeys and sheep in their stalls had been busy, the air reeked of dung. I nearly gagged as I entered, but they just slumped down onto the hay and looked up at me with smiles of thanks.

“I won’t charge you anything, just try not to disturb the animals.”

Then I returned to the courtyard and my paying customers.

Towards the end of the meal, the sound of many feet could be heard running past the door, and around into the back.

Curious, I looked out to see the last of a group of shepherds disappear around the back, towards the stable. They must have been going to care for the sheep I had allowed them to keep there during the night. I pulled my head back in and went to my rooms to count the night’s take.

I woke up the next morning still in the midst of my task. I must have been truly weary to fall asleep among that much gold and silver. Then I remembered my guests in the stable, and went to check on them.

They were just leaving, and the woman was holding a child in her arms.

“Congratulations,” I said, “when was he born?”

The woman looked up, “Late last night, shortly before your guests went to bed.”

“Did the shepherds disturb you?”

“No, they simply wanted to see the child.”

“They wanted to see your baby? Why?”

She simply looked at me mysteriously and said, “Oh, I suspect you shall find out why before too much longer.”

Then they were gone.

I didn’t find out until much later what she meant, and by then it was too late.

I missed it.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Verlennich09/19/05
Liked the story, however the ending was a little vague to me... not sure exactly what you meant by it. Blessings, Amy Verlennich
Donnah Cole09/19/05
I have to agree with the above...the story is well written until the last sentence, and I just don't quite get what you mean by you missed it??? Otherwise, it was very strong writing and flow, just need to work on the end a little!
Jan Ackerson 09/20/05
I agree with Amy and Donnah--we're all familiar with the first part of this story, but it would be very interesting to hear more of the innkeeper's story. Did he hear about Jesus as He began His ministry? Was the innkeeper one of the ones who shouted "crucify him!"? I think that's what you were going for, and you write well.
Shannon Redmon09/20/05
I liked this story told from the innkeepers perspective. Ditto about the ending but I thought the rest was well written and flowed well!
Alexandra Wilkin09/22/05
I get the sense that you were trying to convey that the inn keeper 'missed' the great event and regretted it. The writing is good, but it might have worked better if you had started from the point of the inn keeper missing the event and his feelings about that, weaving in the story as a flashback. The idea is a strong one, and the writing is good, so plenty to like. God bless.
Deborah Porter 09/27/05
Kevin, this was an extremely well written story and rated quite well with the Level 2 judges. The only thing that really let it down was the ending. As you can see from the other commenters, it didn't quite hit the mark that you intended. But be encouraged - you are a very good writer and I'm going to look forward to seeing more by you in future challenges. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Joanne Malley10/24/05
Glad to see you in the challenge again. Very nicely retold in a way to grab the reader. A job well done! :)
Marilyn Schnepp 11/24/05
I read your work due to your recent critique of my work; and it was VERY good. There were two "simply's" back to back..the second one should be deleted; and there was a let down at the end; but otherwise you have talent and insight..and writing was excellent!