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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hacker or Virus (computer) (12/15/11)

TITLE: Finding the Spirit
By Michelle Meyers


The winter sunís first rays filled the room with a rosy glow. Sarah squinted through her half open eyes. Her throat was still sore, her nose stuffy. She felt briefly disorientated, and then remembered that at 2:00 in the morning she had moved to the couch, her coughing keeping her husband awake.

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 Ė 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 hadnít been able to attend last nightís 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 hadnít 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. Sarahís 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 motherís 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. Godís 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.

ďMerry Christmas,Ē Sarah replied, finally feeling the holiday spirit.

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 12/29/11
This was a lovely story, filled with wondrous moments as the MC witnessed the beauty and splendor of God's creatures. Enjoyed it. Thanks.

God Bless~
Allison Egley 12/30/11
This is a really neat story.

The topic was specifically about computer virus, though.... I would have made some connection to a computer virus at some point.... Perhaps she jokes that she must have caught it form the computer. While such a small reference may not still be "on topic" I kept searching for some connection to a computer virus.

I hope your MC (fictional or not!) was still able to enjoy Christmas. :) Good job.
Nancy Sullivan 12/31/11
You painted a beautiful Christmas scene and one that helped the mc catch that spirit in spite of her illness. Great writing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/03/12
This gave me goosebumps. I felt like you could have been telling my story this year. On Christmas Eve morning I was sent to the hospital with stroke-like symptoms. I tried to talk the doctors into letting me go home. My oldest is getting married next year and this would have been our last Christmas morning together. We also do a candlelight service that is so special. I was devastated. I felt like I ruined Christmas for my family. This story just reminds me that I didn't and couldn't. Normally, I might say something about the story not being about a computer virus but I have no doubt God inspired you to write this story to help ease my hurting heart. I thank you for being obedient to God's calling.
Michelle Meyers01/05/12
I'm so glad my writing helped you Shann. What more could a writer want? I hope your feeling better now, and take care:)