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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Volunteer (11/23/06)

TITLE: The Room Mother
By Virginia Gorg


Natalie sighed as she sat at the kitchen table, coffee in hand. “Why did I volunteer to be room mother?”

Greg, her husband, smiled, “You know you love children and the triplets are thrilled to have your help. What’s the theme this month?”

“It’s December and everyone wants a Nativity scene, including Mrs. Hutchkins, the teacher. The problem is that the school principal says we’re not allowed to display anything ‘religious’ and not even a Nativity scene is allowed.”

Greg asked: “But I know you. What’s your plan?”

Natalie laughed: “My idea could be considered radical by some, but it might get the message across.”

As Natalie explained her idea, Greg listened and offered a few comments. “That just might work,” he said. “What do the kids think?”

“They like the idea. Jesus is so central in their lives and they try to convey that in the way they live. I still can’t believe that Kari plans to be a missionary.”

Greg nodded his head: “And Tim will be a pastor, and Nicole will teach. We are blessed to have children who love the Lord this much.”

Natalie said: “Let’s round up some things for the display. We have a lot to get together before Wednesday night.”

That Wednesday evening, Natalie, Greg, the triplets, and half of the seventh graders arrived to set up a Christmas display in the schoolroom.

Kari and Tim created a stable from a large cardboard box. The stable was clean and held only an empty manger. Above the stable was a sign that read “Bethlehem.”

Surrounding the stable was an array of bright displays, from Santa Claus with his bulging bag of toys, to electronics and diamonds, and even a tree with brightly wrapped presents. Some of the students made drawings of people laughing and saying “more, more” while pointing at the glamorous gifts. In a corner of the display was a drawing of two orphaned children, with ragged clothes and holes in their shoes. The little girl held a book with a torn cover and only two letters could be seen: LE. The two orphans were smiling as they were reading this book and the scene conveyed peace and contentment.

Nicole put up the last letter on the sign draped across the wall:

Kari looked at the scene and said: “My eyes are drawn right to the empty stable.”

Tim only said: “It’s the orphans who catch my attention.”

“Let’s get Mr. Wilson, your principal,” announced Greg.

Mr. Wilson looked at the scene and exclaimed: “You can’t do this. That’s a stable and a manger. Nothing religious is allowed.”

“We can’t do what, Mr. Wilson? There’s nothing Religious about just a simple stable,” said Natalie.

Sputtering, Mr. Wilson said: “But not having anything religious shows clearly that something is missing.”

Natalie cautioned everyone to remain silent.

Mr. Wilson turned to the students with wide eyes, “Something is missing – that’s what you’re trying to convey, isn’t it?”

Kari smiled, “Yes, sir, that is the message. You see, without Jesus, there is no Christmas.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood11/30/06
I loved this story! The dialogue brought the characters to life, and the solution to their problem--along with the message conveyed--proved delightfully original!

The title "Room Mother" initially drew me in, but after I read the story I wondered if something more directly relating to the specific problem or message might have fit the story better.

Great job!
terri tiffany12/06/06
Very nice story! What I found distracting only was the use of colons after dialogue tags - I would rework those and try to use action instead of he said, declared etc. Someone once told me to do that and my writing improved immensely!