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

TITLE: Counting the Drops
By Rick Higginson


Drip. Drip. Drip.

The slow, metered drops in the I.V. tube counted the time as much as the second hand on the clock did. Perhaps, more so, since after a certain number of them, the nurse would be in to change the bag.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The tube had carried his Thanksgiving “dinner” into his system, and unless his non-functioning digestive system started working again soon, his Christmas dinner would likewise enter his body through his veins.

The television reminded him often that Christmas was fast approaching. The commercials for all the latest “gotta have” gifts were bad enough, but the ones for all the holiday foods were almost torture.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Happy families on television carved turkeys, hams, and passed around slices of pie. Candies and beverages were touted as essential for Yule gatherings, and the occasional joke was made about weight gain. The odd fluids trickling into his body were barely adequate to maintain his weight, and the doctors were worried; he’d already been lean for his height when he’d arrived, and he’d since lost nearly twenty pounds.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

This wasn’t how their first Christmas together as husband and wife was supposed to have gone. Sure, money was tight and gifts would have been modest, but they’d already bought an inexpensive tree for the apartment and some budget ornaments. When he’d first gone to the Emergency Room with abdominal pain the weekend before Thanksgiving, he hadn’t even imagined he could still be there on Christmas.

No one was optimistic about it now; their first Christmas together was going to be spent in the surgical ward. No cantatas, no singing with the choir, no Christmas Eve service, and no sitting beside their first tree, watching each other’s face while they opened their gifts.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Cycling through the channels on the T.V., he looked for something better than the annoying sit-com. The hospital staff had brought a hide-a-bed chair into his room so that his wife could spend the nights in the room with him, rather than alone in their low-rent apartment. She was off taking care of other things, though, so he hoped for something to take his mind off the boredom.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The image of a church building came up on the screen, and the sound of people singing Christmas carols. He set the remote aside and watched, wishing for the world he was free of the tubes that ran down the back of his throat to his stomach and beyond so that he could sing with the program.

There was no sales-pitch accompanying the program, and no promotions; just unseen people singing. He listened, carried away by the pure spirit of the season, untarnished by any undertones of commercialism.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The drops rolled from his cheeks to the gown, the moments until Christmas marked by the fluid passage of life both into and out of his body. The program lasted for nearly a half-hour, providing a touch he so desperately wanted. Christmas would come, even to a hospital room in Portland, Oregon.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Christmas would come, and she would be there. It would still be their first Christmas together, and God had just shown him that His Spirit would not be kept away, either.

“Joy to the world, the Lord has come,” he had sung many times. The Messiah had been born in less than ideal circumstances, and the birth had been joyful. The joy could still be felt despite the situation.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

He would just keep counting.

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This article has been read 833 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chrissi Dunn10/31/08
Very well written! This kept my attention the whole way through. So sad, yet with a positive reminder of what Christmas is truly about.
Melanie Kerr 11/01/08
O thought you moved from the drip drip srip of the needle to the drip drip drip from the eyes really well. It held my attention throughout.
Karlene Jacobsen11/03/08
Very touching, kind of bittersweet. You held my attention the whole way through.
Joanne Sher 11/05/08
The emotions in this are so real, and I love the use of the drips to move the story along. Very nicely done.
Dee Yoder 11/05/08
Not the usual countdown to Christmas that people expect to make. This poignant story is touching, well-written, and a reminder of how little we REALLY need to feel blessed on Christmas day.
Leah Nichols 11/06/08
I loved this one....excellent writing. It had me hooked from start to finish!
LauraLee Shaw11/06/08
Oh, so sad, but this is true for so many people. We went through this with my husband's dad before Christmas. Just isn't the same as it is for everyone else. Let's not forget the sick and weak during this season...well done.
Sharon Kane11/06/08
Congratulations on a well deserved EC. What a very moving story. And a necessary reminder of how people still hunger for the raw message of Christmas among the razmatazz of the commercialism and materialism on offer. May we not fail to share Him with those who are searching!
Scott Sheets11/06/08
What great, unique take on the topic! The IV drip carried through the story well. Congratulations on a well-deserved win!
Glynis Becker11/06/08
Just beautiful. Emotional but not overly-so. Perfectly done. Congratulations!!!
Angela M. Baker-Bridge11/06/08
Congratulations on 1st place and the EC. What a very deserving and moving piece. Inspired and inspiring.
Ellen Dodson11/07/08
Beautifully written through out, but my favorite image is the one of his being "touched" by Christ's joy and comfort through the music. I also loved the message of joy's power. Unique, yet very appropriate take on this topic. Great job!
Charla Diehl 11/13/08
Superbly written and nice twist on the topic. I was stirred emotionally from start to finish with this piece--and that's great writing. Love the message within--Christmas is about the love, peace, hope and joy brought to us through Jesus. Congrats on your win.