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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas (04/25/05)

By Anthony David



It began just like any other Christmas season for Rohan. But it ended in a Christmas day he would never forget in his life! Cakes, Carols and Christmas cards as usual heralded the advent season.

But the rapid pace of events on the afternoon of Christmas day was too much for poor Rohan. They had a hectic Christmas what with attending the Midnight as well as the Christmas morning service. The entire family was relaxing before tucking into their special Christmas lunch.

Disaster struck suddenly. Uncle Louis, hale and hearty, the life and soul of the family as it were, collapsed after complaining of discomfort. He had never even been seriously ill once in his life before. The family was shocked into action. Rohan ran out to get a neighbour to help. That kind man had a car ready and they carried the semiconscious Uncle Louis into it.

As the neighbour drove the car furiously to the nearest hospital, Uncle began to be most uncomfortable lying in the cramped car. Rohan gently cradled his head on his lap and began praying. Suddenly Uncle Louis cried out loudly, “ Lord Jesus, please forgive me my sins”. Within minutes, he cried again, struggling with the words. This time he addressed their kind neighbour and said: ‘ Thank you very much for helping me at this hour.”

The car was zooming on at full speed. But the minutes were ticking, one by one. Rohan could see the intense struggle in the face of his beloved uncle. But he was unable to do anything but pray. Pray he did though as much as he could. A third time uncle broke the silence in the car. “ Someone, please help me out. I cant breathe. Please get me some relief.” A desperate cry for help.

Finally, the car reached the hospital. Rohan and the neighbour rushed Louis to the emergency. Medics rushed him to the Intensive Coronary Care facility. They pumped him with drugs and used the defibrillator and all they could to desperately resuscitate him. But he was in a deep coma. As minutes dragged on to hours, his life ebbed away.

A doctor came out and Rohan jumped at him. Mr.Louis? He said. I am sorry he is no more. He had a massive heart attack – his first I presume. Such patients usually don’t recover unless we get them within the first five minutes. I am very sorry Mister.”

Rohan was dazed and so were the entire family. But as the only adult male in the family, he had a lot to do. Running for arranging the mortuary, calling the dear ones abroad, sending the obituary notice, and so on. He could not sit still and think, that fateful Christmas day.

Later on, he found the time to think back on the events of that Christmas day. He was truck with the fact that uncle had his priorities right, even on his deathbed. “ He first asked Jesus to forgive him, then thanked the neighbour and finally, only when he could not bear it, did he think of himself,” mused Rohan.

An acronym arose in Rohan’s fertile brain: “Yes, our priorities too should be like Uncle’s. Jesus first, Others next and You, last! The acronym stands for JOY: the real joy that we as believers can enjoy,” thought Rohan as he slowly got up.

“Christmas is a time of joy for the entire world” he told his family at evening prayers that night, “ But for us this Christmas we have a different type of joy. Uncle has showed us the way. That we need to first seek Jesus, then help the Others, our brothers and finally look after ourselves, or You. That is the true JOY of Christmas indeed.”


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This article has been read 613 times
Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight05/02/05
Beautifully written with a lovely tie in to the truth!
Dixie Phillips05/02/05
Your story brought back a memory of a little song that my grandmother taught me. JESUS AND OTHERS AND YOU! WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO SPELL JOY! Your story makes us think & keep our priorities straight. Thanks!
Pekola Roberts05/03/05
J.O.Y is well written. The storyline was consistent and the transitions were all on target. Keep writing and I will keep reading. You share a fresh creative meaning to the word J.O.Y. Thanks. P.K. Roberts
Val Clark05/03/05
The idea of this story is great. A subtle way of bringing us to appreciate how JOY worked out for his man. Your work shows lots of promise but, forgive me the but, but this is the only way to improve and I’m sure you want to! Here are some technical things to consider.
When you edit your work look for unnecessary or obsolete words: ‘in his life’ ‘but’ ‘what with’ ‘as it were’ ‘even’ ‘once’ they slow down the pace and eat up your word allowance. Give the neighbour a name. Saves unwieldy words like ‘that man’ also eat inton your word count. Avoid starting sentences with ‘As the neighbour drove’ we know Rohan is in the car, go straight to him, then tell us about the crazy driving and his uncle. Check for spelling errors like cant/can’t. You don’t need to tell us uncle addressed his kind neighbour. Give the neighbour a name and you can get straight into the dialogue. Technical tip: Mr.Louis? He said – even though you’ve finished the sentence with a ? he should be lower case. You tell your story well!
Maxx .05/05/05
Wow ... a very powerful demonstration of putting Jesus first and self last. Thank you!
vicki mccollum05/05/05
I enjoyed reading your entry, fast paced, events moving along. I liked your style of narrative, I liked the tone of your story. And it really has a great ending.
Delores Baber05/06/05
Well written. I have always liked the "Jesus first, Others next and Yourself last" analogy. However Louis' first statement is a request for forgiveness, which is quite appropriate for a dying man. But the request was for himself, his sins. In putting Christ first words might have been,
"Lord, thy will be done." If you ever rewrite this story you will need to choose the uncle's first words carefully knowing the story pivots around the essence of JOY.
It's a great story.
My only purpose in commenting is to help you make it an even better story.