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

TITLE: Getting But Not Giving
By Marilyn Schnepp


The Royal Towers patio looked empty and forlorn. The tables and benches sat dormant while the lawn chairs scattered here and there across the lawn. The only sound that disturbed the peace came from the falling leaves. Yes, believe it or not, autumn leaves DO make a sound as they desperately wrestle with the prevailing wind to stay aloft for just one minute more - .but it's always hopeless, and they finally succumb....falling to their death on the cold, hard ground.

The patio wasn't always that drear. Not long ago the Royal Towers was filled with people. Senior citizen type people, to be exact. Gray and silver haired people, toothless, bald, wrinkled and age spotted people, but strangely enough, just like the autumn leaves, they too wrestled and struggled against the autumn winds to stay afloat for just one more lofty swing before the gravity of time and age brought them down, one by one, until they too, succumbed to their destiny.

For twelve years I'd called this Senior Citizen Apartment Complex Home, and today as I stood looking at the outside patio - I can remember the great times we had lazing around in the late afternoon sun, sipping ice tea and laughing, telling tall tales, debating, opinionating, and enjoying our Golden Years. And I still remember that last great debate we had...between an old geezer named Robert, an old codger named Frank, an old crone and a hag, Lillian and I...and the subject of the day was Christmas.

Robert, the old geezer, mentioned that he was born on the 4th of July. "I never knew until I grew up that the Fireworks and Parades weren't for me! I always thought that the celebration was in my honor, for my birthday. What a slap in the face to find out it wasn't for me at all."

We all laughed.

"Well, I was born on January 20th," I followed, "and they always had an Inauguration party and parade in Washington DC for me, every 4th year; however, even if this big shindig was celebrating my birthday, they never invited me. By the way I'm not really 74, but only....whatever the age of only one birthday every four years would be."

Again we laughed.

Then Lillian spoke up, "If Christmas is Jesus' birthday, then why do we always ask for, give and receive gifts, when in actuality it's >His birthday, and we shouldn't even be getting or giving presents, right? - I wonder what He thinks when we get the gifts and He is forgotten?."

We looked down at the ground in shame, simultaneously shaking our heads in painful regret and remorse for our fellow earthlings wrongdoing.

"And now," Frank lamented, "they don't even allow us to have nativity scenes on any public grounds, and nobody thinks of the birth of Jesus anymore - it's all about Christmas Cards, decorations, Christmas trees and lighting! I'm sure He looks down on us and shakes His head, wondering how soon we forget."

"And to think," another one jumped in, "the whole Christmas thing came about due to His coming down to earth to save us and give us eternal life, and now they don't even recall that this is the very reason we celebrate this special holiday."

I remembered we talked about this subject for over an hour, with no solutions of how to get the world to recognize our Lord and Savior's Birth! But our minds were old and not fruitful, and thus we offered up no clues for this dilemma...and now today, I'm the only one left of that afternoon tea party.

As I stood there alone looking at the emptiness of the patio, I thought of that afternoon, and how, for just a moment in time, the four of us bowed our heads and asked God to forgive our fellow earthlings for forgetting His Birthday, and making a vow to somehow bring back His memory to our fallen world...but they're all gone now, and I cannot do it alone.

As I turned and walked away, my eyes burned with unshed tears for my friends, for my fellow man, and for a world that has forgotten that the Greatest Christmas Gift of all time was life...Eternal life.

"Happy Birthday, Jesus...with a heart full of love."

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dolores Stohler11/21/08
The secular world wants no part of Him, only the good things He has provided. We in the Christian community need to be different. My gifts to Jesus are what I give to the poor. This is all He asks of us--to share the abundance of His gifts to us. And to go out into the world and make disciples for Him. Good writing. God bless you.
Gregory Kane11/26/08
You set the scene perfectly. The parallelism between Autumn leaves and old age was brilliant. You also did a very good job of showing how much older people can hurt as the world around them changes and they feel powerless to do anything about it. After such an upbeat debate I was a little disappointed that it ended on a melancholy note. I wonder if there could be a way to have the MC finding some small positive contribution he could make to the decline in the Christ-centredness of Christmas? Just a thought.