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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)

TITLE: One Dreadful Day in December
By Tim Pickl


I’m a good Christian. I constantly pray for my large family (seven sons and three daughters) and continually help others. I sing in the Church Choir, and have grown close to them, especially three of the tenors. The four of us often go Christmas caroling together, and minister to the elderly. I own many stocks in the market, all doing well for my future retirement.

Things were going great--until one dreadful day in December.

The doorbell rang twice that day, and when my wife and I opened the door, a Police Officer informed us, “While your sons and daughters were gathered for dinner at your oldest son’s home, a terrible storm formed out of nowhere and destroyed the home with straight-line winds, killing them all.

Just as the Officer finished telling us the awful news, my cell phone chirped and I immediately answered.

The bank where I had all my money failed, and all our assets were frozen, and they were going to foreclose on our home. I knew the economy was hurting, but I never thought it would happen to my bank. I pushed the cell phone off, and leaned back on the doorway, then slid down to sit, ripping my shirt. The Officer offered to help, but I kindly sent him away with a weak “No, but thank you."

My cell phone chirped again, and my stockbroker asked, “Have you heard the news today about the market?”

I told him, “No sir, I haven’t.”

“The stock market crashed, especially the sector we had most of our money in.”

I lost everything.

I sang to myself, scratching my arm. “He gives and takes away. He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord, Jesus.” I felt warm liquid on my fingers and looked at it. My skin had suddenly broken out all over in a horrible, bloody rash. If it was stress-related I didn’t know, but I tried to blotch it up as best as I could with my shirt sleeve.

My wife viciously screamed in my face, “Joe, with all this horrible news, you’re still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die!”

I replied, “You’re talking foolish. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?"

She left me, screaming something about money, and sped away.

I sat there for the longest time, looking at the snow piles in front of my house, glittering in the sun. I gazed up over the trees at the true blue sky with painful tears running into the sores on my face.

I whispered, “I love You Jesus.”


Just before Christmas, Eli, Bill and Zack helped me move to a Nursing Home. My condition required full-time nursing care, because I was losing too much blood every day. I grew close to one of the nurses there, a wonderful woman named Lisa.

Eli, Bill and Zack visited often and prayed for me. We debated the issue of why my life turned out the way it had. My friends firmly believed that I must have sinned, and I deserved God’s punishment. They simply assumed God always rewards good and punishes evil, no matter what.

“You must have sinned or did something to deserve all of this?!”

“But, honestly I haven’t. I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do, starting with my relationship with God. Sometimes God allows things to happen for reasons we cannot possibly fathom. His ways are NOT our ways.”

After a several months, my friends stopped coming, because I wouldn’t admit my “guilt”. Then, as the anniversary day in December of all of my losses approached—I became depressed. The doctor prescribed heavy doses of anti-depressant drugs.

When that day arrived, I slept most of the day. The television blared and flashed “Wheel of Fortune” in my darkened room. I was groggy with the pill bottle still in my hand. I thought I heard banging – it was Eli, Bill and Zack.

“Hey, Joe! Let us in!”

“Go away!” I snapped, throwing my pill bottle at the television, miraculously turning it off.

Lisa let them in, and soon the entire Church Choir filled my room. They began singing Christmas carols.

“God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay—“

Their kindness and love that day touched me. “Thank you all, so much…I love you ALL. But, I have one request. You’ve prayed so much for me; please let me pray for you.”

As I prayed for them, Jesus healed me.


The Book of Job

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This article has been read 966 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/10/08
Very interesting take on Job--and a very creative way to look at this week's topic.

My only suggestion is to somehow make us feel Joe's anguish a bit more. I just never felt much emotion from him, even after such a horrible series of events.

This is clever and I enjoyed it a lot.
Irvine Saint-Vilus10/12/08
This story was well told and was very relatable to Job's story and to many of our own. I enjoyed it. But what I enjoyed most is the main character's love for Christ, which shined through richly. My favorite part of the story is when he cried to Jesus and said "I love you," even after he'd lost everything. That is a lesson for me and for all Christians.
Beth LaBuff 10/12/08
I LOVE what you did with this, especially this, "I whispered, I love You Jesus." This is so creative!
Lollie Hofer10/13/08
Very unique angle. Modernizing the story was creative.
LauraLee Shaw10/14/08
Wow, this is very very good. And creative as usual. We just don't know half the torment that man experienced, do we? But somehow Job's story gives us confidence that we can make it through our problems. Incredible take on the topic.
Karlene Jacobsen10/14/08
A modernized Job? Very good.
Pamela Kliewer10/14/08
What a great take on the topic. I love what you did with the book of Job. Kudos.
Joy Faire Stewart10/15/08
What a wonderful message packed into this fabulous story. Excellent!
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/15/08
Great way to modernize Job. I liked the hint he was going to get a new wife.
Leah Nichols 10/16/08
How in the world could you cover all that in 750 words? Nice work - very creative. I think if you had spent more time on the last scene rather than the others, it would have kept closer to the topic. Nice work with a very original idea, though....it's a great change of pace.