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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: A Gift From the Big Boss
By Laury Hubrich


The Christmas lights twinkled as a familiar Christmas scene played out.

“Mommy, when is Christmas going to be here?”

“Tomorrow, Mady.”

“Can I open a present now? Please?”

“Close your eyes, Sweetie, and morning will come much faster.”

Unbeknownst to mother and daughter, two men dressed completely in white were, at that very moment, floating in air inches from the ground peeking in their window.


Olivia muttered to herself, “Mady’s dreaming of candy canes and baby dolls. I, on the other hand, have work to do. Where is that To-Do List? I don’t need it anyway. Ryan’s the list-maker. I miss him so much, Lord. Please keep him safe in Iraq.”


As soon as Olivia dozed off, the two men burst through the wall, both carrying a big load of presents.

“What’re we doin’ here, Gabe?”

“We’re leaving presents under the tree.”

“Everybody knows Santa isn’t real.”

“Santa’s not real but the Big Boss is. Hurry up before she wakes.”


Olivia slowly opened her eyes and stretched her aching body. She rose from the floor where she had fallen asleep wrapping presents.

“What’s the use, Lord? I’m tired and my heart hurts from loneliness. If it wasn’t for Mady I’d skip Christmas this year. I’m empty, useless without Ryan.”

Olivia’s eyes grew big. There in front of her were nine brightly wrapped gifts. A card sat beside the tree:

Dearest Olivia, I know you miss Ryan and it doesn’t feel right celebrating Christmas this year. I wanted to give you something to cheer you up and remind you that your Father loves you. Only unwrap the one with your name on it. Love, Daddy


Olivia rubbed her eyes and pinched herself.

“I’m not dreaming. Oooh, the gifts are so pretty. I can only unwrap the one with my name on it. Unless some are for Mady, surely they’re all for me. I could shake them like I did when I was little.

Olivia plopped herself down cross-legged amongst the presents. They were so big that, if people were watching, they would think she was a snooping child. Olivia picked one up and shook it then pressed it against her ear. She quickly set it down and picked up another and another.

“The card said I could open the present with my name on it but this blue one, it’s so pretty. Just a little tear in the corner; yes, that’s what I’ll do.”

Once she began to tear the paper, something came over her and she ripped at it with great anticipation. Out tumbled a host of spiritual beings. The room filled with both good and evil. Olivia cried out. She felt a pair of glasses slip onto her eyes. With the seeing came understanding.

“I see the evil; out – in the name of Jesus!”

Olivia spoke with such authority that the evil flew out the window.

She quickly taped up the box. Again she looked for the present with her name but a box called out to her and she couldn’t resist. As she opened it, she began to speak in tongues. She unwrapped another and she began to interpret what she had just spoken.

“These gifts are not for me.”

As she unwrapped the next, electricity flowed through her body and all her aches and pains were gone.

“I wouldn’t know how to choose who to heal.”

The pile was getting smaller but her curiosity grew larger. As she tore open another, Olivia felt herself transported through space and time.


She laid her head on his knees where he sat in the hot desert sun. He went about his business, not knowing she was there. Startled at nearby gunfire, Ryan stood up, knocking her to the sand.

Knowing what Ryan had to endure was more than Olivia could handle.

“Please take me home!”

With that, she was in her living room, all miraculous powers gone.

Tentatively unwrapping the next, Olivia began to prophecy. She heard herself say that Ryan would be safe. That’s all she needed to know and she rewrapped the gift. Finally understanding that only the one present was hers, she found her name and sat with the gift.

As she tore into the package, she was filled with an amazing faith. Peace flooded her body and at last she was able to rest.

Olivia awoke to a rumbling down the hall and an excited little girl jumped into her lap.

“Mommy, it's Christmas!”

“Yes, Mady, it’s the best Christmas ever!”

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Jan Ackerson 11/29/07
Super allegory--unwrapping spiritual gifts and realizing that they were not all intended for her was a very clever idea.

But...who were all the others for? Mady? Seems like this aspect of the story could be refined a little bit.

Love the tone, especially in the first half.
Joanne Sher 11/29/07
Very clever, with great description. You did a wonderful job with this.
Chrissi Dunn11/30/07
This was very creative - I like the fact that she chose peace.
Patty Wysong12/03/07
Super idea! I loved the analogy--and you're so right! Not everyone can handle every spiritual gift. Great job! Hugs!
LauraLee Shaw12/03/07
Amazingly creative and imaginative. I absolutely will NEVER forget this analogy. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
Joy Faire Stewart12/03/07
Great job of bringing the message that we are all given a gift that is unique to us. And, when we realize our gift, we have peace. Excellent writing on topic.
Dee Yoder 12/04/07
Very creative for this topic. I like the gifts being wrapped and given to each person, and I don't know how I'd handle them all, either. I like that she was given peace because of the situation her husband was in.
Yvonne Blake 12/04/07
An allegory! This is beautiful picture. I wasn't sure, at first, who Olivia was. I like the part where she feels like a child again, opening the gifts.
Shelley Ledfors 12/04/07
What a creative entry! I loved your ideas and the message behind the story. Great job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/04/07
Very interesting, creative, and thought-provoking
Debbie Wistrom12/04/07
I kept being sorry that she didn't follow her instructions, but then you wouldn't have had such a great story. SOOO crative.
Sheri Gordon12/04/07
I really like the gifts wrapped as actual presents, and finding out that not all of the gifts were for her. I was/am confused as to why the angels left all of the gifts.

The ending gave me tears. I'm so glad faith was her gift -- she needed it.
william price12/04/07
Smart, creative and well written. Great job. Superb concept. God bless.
Sara Harricharan 12/05/07
Okay, this is my biggest WOW this week! I am amazed at this. Faintly reminding me of the Christmas Carol, this is far more memorable and powerful. I loved the ending and everything here was so incredibly real I felt as if I were there with her through the whole thing. Great job of show and not tell. Loved this piece! Great writing! ^_^
Beth LaBuff 12/05/07
Beautiful, well-thought out entry. Each gift was perfectly illustrated. Very good writing!
Karen Wilber12/05/07
I was wondering where you were going with this....then I got it! What a clever way to play with this week's topic. I like that the other gifts are good - but there are some that are especially for each one of us.