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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)

TITLE: Living In A Miracle
By Tim Pickl


I love going outside for recess. Look at all the fresh snow!
Oh, NO….here they come again. The three mean girls with bad breath.

What should I do? It’s not right to hit a girl! Especially three of em.

Maybe I can outrun ‘em.

Liam ran as hard as he could around the school--trying to escape--but the girls were just too fast and ran with him.

“Liam, Liam no one wants to be him! Liam, Liam no one wants to be him!”

Liam ran… then slid and fell into a snow pile.

They surrounded and taunted him with their evil chant, “Liam’s mean, LIAM means
Loser Is A Muttonhead! Loser Is A Muttonhead!”

One of the girls reached for his face with both hands like claws—

“Liam? Liam? Wake up, honey.”


“Liam, it’s me...it’s Mom…”


“I think you were having one of those nightmares again.”

“It was those three mean girls at my old school. They were chasin’ me—callin’ me names.”

“You’re awake and safe at home, now. The nightmares will go away over time, by the grace-of-God.”

“Thanks, Mom.

“Please get up and get ready. This is our special Christmas Celebration Day.”

Every year, around Christmas-time, Liam’s new family reunited for a great Christmas gift opening celebration. Uncles and aunts, grandparents and a dozen kids all packed into Liam’s new home. This was the first time Liam was privileged to be a part of all the dazzle and excitement.

After Liam dressed, he shuffled out of his bedroom and overheard his Mom talking on the telephone.

“Yes, horrible nightmares. I think they’re actually flashbacks. (pause)
“When Liam was six, he was orphaned when his parents were killed by a drunk driver. Immediately he became a foster kid. (pause)
“Yes, foster kids got special treatment at pubic school, and some of the regular kids—mostly those three girls—were extremely jealous. (pause)
“Okay…thanks Pastor. We love you, and have a blessed Christmas!”

“Who were you talking to, Mom?” Liam shyly asked. Liam was a sensitive, introspective kid, a byproduct of all he went through.

“Our Pastor. I asked him about the nightmares, and what we can do.”

“What’d he say? Am I in trouble?”

“Oh, no Liam--no. He said—let me put it this way.” She hugged Liam, holding him close, and softly answered, “I love you, and that’s why I adopted you.” Then she added, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Her words assured Liam and comforted his soul with peace—the kind of peace that flows from God’s love.

“I love you, too.”

“Awww--you’re MY Christmas gift.”

It was a precious moment.

“Oh--it’s getting late! I have a lot to do before everyone gets here.”

“Can I help?”

“Yes sir.”

Together they worked like a video in fast-forward: They cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, set up chairs and made a pyramid-pile of gifts under and near the Christmas tree. Everyone was bringing a dish to pass, so they set up warmers and made space in the kitchen for the food.

Soon, the troop of relatives showed up. The cold winter air flowed with them into the house, along with tasty dishes and hearty laughter. Liam helped put all the winter coats on his bed and placed more presents on the pile, while his Mom Sarah arranged all the food.

Suddenly, the loud, joyful conversation hushed. Sarah asked, “Let’s hold hands together and pray.”

One of her sisters asked, “Sarah, can the baby pray, too?”

“Of course!” They brought the baby seat closer and he joined the circle with a coo.

“That’s beautiful.” Sarah closed her eyes. “Heavenly Father, Thank You for each one gathered here today. I pray we’re like You this Christmas: For God so loved the world that He gave Please bless the food and our time of fellowship together. Amen.”

“Amen!” everyone agreed in unison.

Later, while they were eating, Sarah quipped, “Did you know that ‘Liam’ is in the Bible? It’s in Luke 2:12.
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Liam is an acronym for Lying In A Manger.”

Liam blushed. “Oh, mom—you’re silly.”

The Christmas gifts were opened last. The kids dove into the pile, and it was like a feeding frenzy.

As paper, ribbons and bows flew everywhere; Liam sat against a far wall and watched pensively.

Sarah knelt down beside him. “Liam, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong, Mom. Everything’s all right.”

“What do you mean?”

“My name means Living In A Miracle.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Teresa Lee Rainey11/23/08
Aw, I just want to hug your MC. You made me love him. :)
Beth LaBuff 11/24/08
I like the image of how they worked together, "like a video in fast-forward." :) I love the acronym for LIAM and then Liam's version. :) Nice story!
Sharon Kane11/25/08
This is a very precious story. The 'name change' from Loser is a Muttonhead, to Living in a Miracle, was priceless; exactly what the child needed to start living with confidence. Some nice turns of phrase (the cold blowing in along with the tasty dishes) and the one-sided phone conversation was handled well. There was one rather unfortunate typo which your spell check missed...
LauraLee Shaw11/27/08
Oh, wow, "Living in a Miracle." What a great idea. How beautiful. I know a very special child named Liam, and now I have a very special name to go with him each Sunday I see him at church. Thank you!