Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hacker or Virus (computer) (12/15/11)
TITLE: Finding the Spirit
By Michelle Meyers
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It was Christmas! She shot straight up. Sarah glanced to her left where the Christmas tree was still aglow, the lights having been left on. She and Mark had been beat after struggling to put together all the toys and they must have gone to bed without unplugging the tree.
Struggling to free her legs from the blanket, she sat up and pulled the blanket around her shoulders. Of all the times to come down with a virus – the day before Christmas. Undoubtedly, it was the result of pushing herself to get so much done the last few days. Presents brought and wrapped, sugar cookies baked and decorated, house scrubbed and vacuumed, and everything ready to go for the special day. She had worked herself into exhaustion giving the virus an opportunity to take hold.
Sarah sat back, drawing the blanket more closely around her. Darn this virus! She hadn’t been able to attend last night’s service, which she never missed, and she had dozed right through The Night before Christmas at bedtime. Her Dad had always read the story to her and her brother on Christmas and Sarah loved continuing the tradition with her kids. But not this year.
Sarah went into the kitchen, desperate for a cup of coffee to ease her sore throat. As she waited for the coffee maker to finish brewing, she glanced at the program Mark had brought home from church last night. As always they had sung Silent Night at the end of the service and had lit candles. Sarah always loved that part. In the dark church, the flames would dance as they all sang of the beautiful night so long ago. Her heart would be filled with the glorious mystery of the birth of Christ. She sighed heavily, her Christmas spirit sorely lacking. How could she feel the specialness of this day if she hadn’t been able to experience her favorite traditions?
The coffee pot gurgled to a stop and she filled her cup. Carrying the warm drink back to the living room, she stopped to open the curtains. During the night, it had snowed and the morning sun now shone on the winter wonderland with a radiant light. Sarah sat back on the couch. The kids would soon be up, anxious to see what gifts waited for them under the tree. She took a sip of coffee. Even with a bad cold, she had to find some energy and Christmas cheer to make this day what it should be for her family.
She closed her eyes for a moment, her sinuses aching with pressure. She hardly ever got sick and it annoyed her that it had to be now, on the most important holiday of the year. The birth of Jesus. Sarah had always thought of it as the day that hope was born, the day love was expressed to all mankind. What a marvelous thing! And her she sat, feeling sorry for herself, which she hated.
Opening her eyes, she noticed movement beyond the backyard fence. Turning to look, she saw the deer that frequented the fields behind the house. This was one of the things Sarah loved about their home, being able to see wildlife right from the living room. She stood and moved closer to the window. It was the doe and her young fawn. Sarah’s family had been thrilled when they first saw the fawn last summer, and they had enjoyed watching it grow. Now here it was December, and the young animal was moving with assurance, even leaving its mother’s side at times. The pair was nibbling quietly at the edge of the trees, where the ground was protected from snow. Such a simple thing. God’s creatures finding the food they needed. Why did people have to make everything so complicated Sarah wondered. Life was really very simple and beautiful. The love of family, nourishment of body and soul. This was all that was needed.
Sarah turned from the window, a smile on her face, just as Mark and the kids came rushing down the stairs with a flurry of Merry Christmases.
“Merry Christmas,” Sarah replied, finally feeling the holiday spirit.
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