The Official Writing Challenge
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Good job, great memory.
12/12/05
"...celebrate Jesus birthday in a quiet way, just Him and us". I was going to say that "Him and us", grammar-wise, doesn't sound proper. "He and us?" "He and we?" "we and Him"? Truthfully it is irrelevant - it is the thought that counts, and I think that is beautiful! Quiet time alone with the ONE we celebrate in this season. Lovely and well written.
12/14/05
I liked your title! In your second sentence one of the 'onces' should be removed; I would recommend the first.
Your reflection on pick-the-needles-out-of-the-carpet syndrome is well-noted; I can relate.
"One year we even spent Christmas camping beside a nice warm beach. Our faithful Christmas tree, with its lights all aglow, was planted right behind our tent." This sounds so delightful! I could picture it!
The last four paragraphs touched me deeply, especially "I think this year we will celebrate Jesus’ birthday in a quiet way. Just Him and us. I don’t think He’ll mind." and "Maybe I’ll just sit here for a while in the rocking chair and enjoy one more tree planted in Memory Lane." With God's help and your inspirational article maybe I'll do the same!

12/14/05
I like your title.
Your second sentence needs to have one of the onces removed; I suggest the first one.
I relate to the pine-needles-stuck-in-the-carpet syndrome!
"One year we even spent Christmas camping beside a nice warm beach. Our faithful Christmas tree, with its lights all aglow, was planted right behind our tent." This sounded so delightful!
The last four paragraphs are well-worded! My favorites: "I don’t think he minds too terribly when we enjoy the outer trappings of the season, as long as it doesn’t eclipse the whole purpose of the celebration.", "celebrate Jesus’ birthday in a quiet way. Just Him and us. I don’t think He’ll mind.", and "Maybe I’ll just sit here for a while in the rocking chair and enjoy one more tree planted in Memory Lane." Maybe,for the first times in a few years, I'll do the same. Thanks for inspiring me!
12/14/05
Oops! Sorry! Had to answer the phone and thought I had lost my first review.
12/16/05
Delightful nostalgia. I enjoyed your writing. Good job!
12/16/05
Lovingly written; just beautiful.

I belive that "just Him and us" is correct. It's not a common construction, but it's perfectly fine.

You described your memory trip very tenderly, I enjoyed reading it.
12/16/05
Beautiful memories.

I grew up in a land of hot Christmas' (Australia) but now live in a land of cold Christmas in as much as Christmas is celebrated at all, so I especially identified with your 'Christmas away from home' thoughts and your hot Christmas' thoughts, but kind of backwards ;-)

Well written and touching.
12/18/05
A beautiful glimpse into your family's quiet moments of life. It was quiet on that first night for Mary and Joseph also. Just them, God and creation. Beautiful!