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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)

TITLE: A Very Millie Christmas
By Tim Pickl


“Mommy, what are you doing?” little Melinda curiously asked, and climbed on a chair to see.

“I’m setting up the Advent Wreath, just like Grandpa did when I was a kid.” Victoria opened the flat box, and pulled out 4 tapered candles, then an aging, dark-green plastic wreath.

Melinda laughed. “Mommy, you were a kid like me? Nahhh—you were always big.”

“No, honey, I was little like you.” She gently placed the first candle into one of the four candleholders in the wreath.

“Ohhh, let me help! Please, Mommy?” Melinda begged with her cute little stuffy-nose voice, as Victoria called it.

Victoria couldn’t resist. “Oh, I suppose—be gentle.”

“Thanks, Mommy. I’ll be careful.”

As Melinda placed the candles in, Victoria thought, I wish my Dad was here to see this.

“Mommy, what is Ad, Advan--?”

“It’s called ‘Advent’. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. Each Sunday we light a candle like a countdown, in anticipation of Christmas.”

“I love Christmas, Mommy. I’ve been very good this year.”

“Oh, I know you’ve been good, Millie. It’s been a rough year, and you’ve helped me very much.”

“I did?”

“Yes, like putting those candles in the wreath.”

“Can we light the first one?”

“Yes, it’s the first Sunday.” Victoria found an old book of matches in the box, and smiled. Seeing “Harry’s Hardware” stamped on the front reminded her of Dad. She looked up toward heaven. “Thanks—Grandpa--for teaching us the true meaning of Christmas. Thank You, Lord for showing me The Way through my parents and Your Word.”

As Victoria began to pray, Melinda dutifully bowed her head and folded her little hands together.

Victoria struck a match and lit the first candle. She pulled out a yellowing, typed-up sheet of paper from the bottom of the box, and read, “Always remember, Jesus is the reason for the Advent Season. We light the first candle as a symbol for Hope. Jesus brings the True Light of Hope into the world. In Isaiah we read, ‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. Amen.”

“Amen.” Melinda looked up, and saw Victoria crying. “It’s gonna be okay, Mommy.” She embraced her. “Jesus is going to work it all out.”

“Oh-oh, I forgot one candle: Millie, please go get the big candle off of the kitchen table.”


As Melinda shuffled away, Victoria stared at the flickering candle, meditating on how blessed she was.

Thank You for my wonderful daughter, Lord.

Melinda returned, smiling. “Here, Mommy.”

Victoria took the candle and placed it in the middle of the wreath. “The fifth candle is called the ‘Christ Candle’. We’ll light that one on Christmas.”


Christmas Eve came quickly that year.

Melinda ran into the kitchen, excited. “Mommy, Mommy--can we please light the big candle now?”

“Yes, in just a little while. I need to finish making dinner.”

“Who’s coming?”

“Mrs. Plummer--from work. She has nowhere else to go.”

“Oh….she’s a nice lady.”

“Yes she is. She’s a strong woman of faith.”

“Like you!”

“No, like YOU.” Victoria laughed, but--because she didn’t like compliments--she changed the subject. “Go wash up and change into your pretty Christmas dress.”

“Okay, Mommy.”

After a half an hour, the doorbell rang. “Mommy, it’s Mrs. Plummer! I’ll get the door.” She swung the large oak door open. “Hi Mrs. Plummer, we’ve been expecting you. Please do come in—I’ll take your coat.”

“Oh, my, aren’t you a pretty little lady—and a good girl to help your Mom.”

The ladies and Melinda had a joyous time fellowshipping over a scrumptious dinner. The ever-curious Melinda asked many questions about Christmas and Christ, and ended with the question she was leading up to.

“Can we please light the last candle, please?

“Yes.” Using the light from all five Advent candles shining from the center of the table, Victoria read from Dad’s paper, ‘Today we celebrate the coming of Christ—of God—into the world. Immanuel, God is with us. In Isaiah we read, ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’”

Mrs. Plummer added, “And may we be faithful until the day when He returns again. Amen.”

“Amen.” Melinda looked up, smiling. “I like Advent Season, because I love Jesus.”

“Oh, Millie, that’s WONderful.”


The trio giggled together.


Scripture References, all NIV:

Isaiah 60:1
Isaiah 9:6
Matthew 1:22-24

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This article has been read 1035 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw10/31/08
This is superb. Your characterization is WONderful, and you nailed the topic. Delightful, well-written story for the advent season.
Carole Robishaw 11/01/08
This was a beautiful way to do the countdown. Nice story, great kid.
Leah Nichols 11/02/08
A charming story! I loved your characters - very realistic. Lovely work!
Karlene Jacobsen11/02/08
I never understood "advent" although we celebrated Christ in Christmas all my life. Thank you for a beautiful look into this celebration.
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/05/08
Millie is a wonderful character. I'd like more stories about her. You showed your mc's emotions well. Isn't it interesting how children just can't realize that their parents used to be little!
Beckie Stewart11/05/08
This was delightful and reminded me of my upbringing when we did the candles in church each week leading up to Christmas.