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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: It’s Christmas Day (in the present or living memory) (11/27/08)

TITLE: This Really Is Christmas Day!
By Laura Anne Harrison


As I approached the entrance to Hallmark on Christmas Eve morning, the icy bitterness of the chilling air nibbled at my ears, and I pulled the collar of my coat up to shield them. I hid my nose behind a gloved hand and toyed with the thought that perhaps I should have worn a hat. However, knowing that I could not stand anything on my head, I quickly dismissed that notion.

Thoughts of the poor economy that led to my husband losing his job two months earlier gnawed at the depths of me and suggested Santa would be unable to leave presents under the tree for our three little girls this year. A light feathery snow drifted from the darkening skies and I shivered, as those thoughts were lost in the crowds of holiday shoppers, the non-stop ringing of the Salvation Army bell, and the “Here Come Santa Claus” that blared from loud speakers, beckoning parents with children. . . .

For one brief moment, my heart cried out, “Where is the joy of this season? Where is the star that lit the skies that night when shepherds lingered with sheep, when wise men journeyed from afar, when the heavens opened and the angels sang? Is the star that shown so brilliantly above a manger filled with straw not real today?”

Raw, bitter wind whipped me back to “Now”. As I reached for Hallmark’s door, my eyes caught sight of a child peering intently at the store’s window display. His tiny, bare hands found refuge inside the huge pockets of his faded oversized blue jeans, and his chin snuggled down inside his jacket, but his head – like mine – was bare.

Gazing at the little boy, I turned to see what he saw. There it was - Nativity in miniature! A bright star above the stable enhanced its minuteness with a brilliant glow. The figures were intricately small and fragile, but all were there – the shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and the Christ Child in a bed of straw.

I whispered, “How beautiful!” The child moved closer, and his deep fawn eyes filled with excitement and joy, as he exclaimed, “Do you see what I see? The star is shining on Bethlehem!”

“Yes! The star IS shining on Bethlehem!” My spontaneity was so quick it astonished me. As I turned to face the child, he no longer stood beside me. Scanning the growing crowd and finding that he had disappeared, I returned - for a moment - to the “window Bethlehem and the star,” before walking away from the store to my car. Driving home, I prayed, “I’m putting Christmas day in your hands, Lord.”

In the quiet of that night, our girls sat on the floor looking up at the angel that stood on top of the tree beneath the star that spread its light throughout the dimly lit room. As their daddy completed the reading of the Christmas story from Luke, three little voices sang softly, “Silent night, Holy night. All is calm, all is bright. . .” and my heart shouted the good news, “The star does still shine!” . . . .

Christmas morning, as our little family began breakfast preparations, the sound of shuffling feet and a loud thump hit the front porch. As we opened the door, we were greeted with a cheerful “Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!” from Santa bearing a large red bag filled with gifts and Mrs. Claus holding a freshly baked turkey with dressing.

Inside, as Santa and Mrs. Claus (who bore quite a resemblance to Pastor Jim and his wife Nellie from church) distributed the gifts, our five-year-old exclaimed, “This really is Christmas Day!” Tears filled my eyes, as I watched the excitement surrounding our girls. . . . In that moment, I heard God’s Promise: “I know the plans I have for you. . . plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. . . you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. . .”

In the afterglow of those special moments surrounding our three little girls, my heart whispered, “Thank You, Lord, for this beautiful Christmas day!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Murray12/04/08
How I love these stories about love in action. Love is really what it is all about. Beautiful is certainly the word.
Dolores Stohler12/06/08
Good writing! What I liked best about your story was the little boy admiring the nativity scene. He's focused on what is most important, enduring and wonderful. Merry Christmas to you.
Karlene Jacobsen12/08/08
Well done. The faith of a child is an incredible anchor that will always bring us back to the truth...
If we'll listen to them. :)
Pamela Kliewer12/08/08
What a heart-warming story. Well done.