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

TITLE: Gallant Little Soldier
By Laury Hubrich
10/08/08


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Little Emi ran through the house searching for her Mom, “Guess what! Mommy, just guess.”

Sandy stood at the sink washing dishes but dried her hands when she heard her daughter racing through the house.

Emi flew into her mother’s arms. “Mommy! They picked me to sing a Christmas song.”

“Really? You’re one of the youngest, too. Wow. What did Daddy say when he picked you up?”

“He was happy. He said he would come to the program.”

“Now that is exciting, Little Girl. To get your daddy to come to church, now that is a big wow!”

Emi pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from her pocket. “I have to ummm… mem...” She scrunched up her face and tilted her head as she tried to think of the right word.

“Memorize the words?” Sandy helped her out.

Emilie nodded. “Can you help me?”

“Let’s have a look.” Sandy took the paper and gently unfolded it and smoothed down the crinkles. “Away in the Manger. You should know most of this.”

Together they sat on the couch and worked on the song until both their stomachs started to rumble and growl. As they made supper together Emi practiced and while they ate, she studied the words on the paper even though she could barely read her primer library books.

“Okay, time for bed.” Sandy tucked Emi into bed and turned on her princess nightlight. Before she herself went to bed, she went in to check on her daughter. Sandy watched her from the doorway as Little Emi quietly sang the first verse as she sat on the floor, kneeled at her bed.

Away in a manger,
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down His sweet head

The stars in the bright sky
Looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay


When she finished singing, Sandy heard a whispered prayer.

“Jesus, I’m sorry you didn’t have a place to stay when you were born. That’s so sad.” Emi started to sniff and she wiped tears from her eyes.

Sandy moved to her side and hugged her close. She whispered a prayer. “Lord, thank You for making my little girl so very special. I pray that her Daddy will come to church on Christmas Day and that you start working on his heart right now. We love You, Jesus.”

Sandy tucked her daughter back into bed and got into bed herself. As she lay there, the second verse floated through her head.

The cattle are lowing
The poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes

I love Thee, Lord Jesus
Look down from the sky
And stay by my side,
'Til morning is nigh.


Christmas Day finally came amid a flurry of flying wrapping paper and breakfast casserole.

“Mommy, is it time?” Emi, unable to stand still, danced across the room.

“Yes, Darling. Let’s go get you dressed.”

“Yea!”

***

Emi stood on stage, her emerald green and ruby red dress glittery in the spotlight. She looked expectantly out at the crowd of faces for her daddy. She caught her mom’s eyes and only Sandy could see sadness. Sandy’s heart ached.

It was Emilie’s turn to sing her song while the rest of the choir gathered around her. Her voice rang out clear and sweet. Her eyes glistened with tears and Sandy wasn’t sure if it was from disappointment that her dad didn’t show up or if it was the overflow of her tender heart.

Just as she got to the last verse, even the stodgiest of them all had tears in his eyes. Emi got down on her knees and folded her hands as she sang.

Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me I pray

Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there


Emi got to her feet as the people applauded. She found her place with the rest of the kids and there she stood; a gallant little soldier in the face of disappointment.

At the last song, Emi jigged and jagged through the crowd until she found her mom. “He didn’t come.”

“I know, Honey. Give him time. Remember, Daddy and I are the ones that got the divorce, not you and Daddy.”

“That’s what Daddy says, too.”

We’ll keep praying. Don’t give up, okay?”

“Okay. Mommy?”

“Yes, Dear.”

Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, Emi.”


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This article has been read 850 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marita Vandertogt10/10/08
This is so sweet - Emi and her mom are so real. I found myself waiting for the father to show as well... nicely written - good pace and good characterization of the little girl.
Jan Ackerson 10/11/08
Very good job on Emi--she's exactly true to her age. Very sweet Christmas story.
Karlene Jacobsen 10/13/08
I kept waiting for a surprise appearance from Daddy, complete with excuse for his tardiness. I remember how hard it was to get my mom and dad into the same room together after their divorce.

Nicely done.
Yvonne Blake 10/13/08
Ahhh...so sweet and sad. I've always loved that song.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/13/08
Your bittersweet story made pictures all the way through in my mind. Excellent writing.
Joy Faire Stewart10/15/08
Great characterization making your reader really care for Mom and Emi.
Leah Nichols 10/15/08
Sad! I feel for the little girl and her mama....which was your point I think. :) Nice writing!
Marijo Phelps10/15/08
Enjoyed the depth and realness of the characters - SO hoped daddy would show up but his not showing touched at the heart of the matter too. Thank You!
Beth LaBuff 10/15/08
Cool name, "Emi"… I like it! You've captured and given us a tender moment in Emi's life. Your writing is so very good!
Lyn Churchyard10/15/08
Sweet story Laury. My granddaughter's name is Emi... short for Emily. It was so sad when her daddy didn't turn up, but I'm glad her mother encouraged her to trust. Little children have so much faith. I could just see little Emi standing there singing.
Joanne Sher 10/16/08
Oh so tender and gave me a heartache. Wonderfully descriptive and a lovely tale.
Beckie Stewart10/18/08
Oh my! This brought me to tears and I can remember all the many disappointments I struggled with as a little girl in regards to my mother instead of my dad, but the pain. This was so well written. Thanks.