Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

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

TITLE: How to Create a Really Memorable Christmas


Accept an invitation to your parents’ home for Christmas breakfast, knowing your marriage is about to impact a cinderblock wall. It will fuel the ride and give you witnesses to boot. Use passive/aggressive techniques to lob subtle accusations in the general vicinity of the antique chandelier and then act victimized when they come barreling back at you. Say, “See, Mom, Dad—this is how it is.”

Once you’ve goaded your husband into making a spectacle of himself, launch into your own tirade. Tell your parents how Trace never helps at home, is always out with his friends, and blows what little money he makes on selfish pursuits.

Don’t tell your dad you rushed marriage to escape his overbearing personality. Don’t tell your mom, you resent her mousiness. Instead, ask for the eggs.

When too much has been said, and the silence swallows the gathering, prepare yourself for your announcement. Pull your shoulders back and modulate your voice. Don’t cry. Say, “I’m leaving Trace and would like to move back home.” Pepper your gravy.

Be gracious when your parents excuse themselves. Ignore any guilt which threatens your throat and definitely ignore him.

Lean back with your coffee when your parents return. Act impervious to pain—a glance over your shoulder with a raised chin should do it—when your father says,”Pearl, we’ve raised you the best we knew how and have done all we can for you. You’re a grown woman and you can’t come running home. But Trace, here is still a boy. We haven’t done everything we can for him. He’ll move in with us, and I’ll teach him tile work. There’ll be church and rules. We’ll give it one year—no more, no less—if he’s willing.”

Try to keep your lofty chin from dropping when Trace accepts.

Wander your apartment for weeks—wondering what went wrong—before signing up for business classes. It’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but didn’t because your father encouraged it. Stubbornly, stay away from your family the entire year.

Wake up early Christmas morning because you just can’t help it. Get dressed in at least somewhat matching clothes, and pray to God you don’t poke your eyes out applying mascara. Don’t run yellow lights. Use your hip to prop your enormous box of gifts as you let yourself into your childhood home. Leave any remnants of pride at the threshold. Don’t cry.

Find your mother in the kitchen. Kiss her cheek and tell her how good everything smells. Note her sorrow when she says, “It was my idea, not your father’s.” You don’t have time to dwell on this because you notice your father coming through the back door with an armload of wood he takes to the fireplace. It strikes you that everyone carries a weight.

You hear your mother tap the floor as she says, “Trace designed this.”

You crane your head around your box and see a work of art. Overall, there's a diamond pattern made of a bluish-gray slate, but in the corners of random tiles, there are miniature mosaics made of pewter stones forming fish and Bible references. A tremor migrates across your abdomen. You’re grateful when your father lifts your burden and kisses your cheek. Cherish his “Merry Christmas”—it could be his last.

You recognize the steps coming up from the root cellar. But you’re hard-pressed to recognize the man. Trace has filled out. His forearms look incredibly strong extended beneath his rolled shirt-cuffs. His smirk is gone. He says, “Here’re the potatoes, Mom.” Your mother pats his shoulder, and your parents excuse themselves for the second Christmas in a row, and again, you are mute.

But this Christmas he has a voice.



“You’re wearing fuzzy slippers.”

You look down at your feet and nod. You say, “This tile work is beautiful.”

“Dad wants me to take over—if I can get the business end under my belt.”

This you must ponder later, because now you have to ask the one question that’s been burning in your heart for a year.

“What made you accept my father’s offer?”

“I don’t know,” you hear him say. “I didn’t mean to, really—but then it hit me. Somebody wants me. And I heard myself agree.”

You don’t need to stem the tears butting up behind your eyes.

These you may let fall. Your father has taught him to carry a handkerchief.

You will never forget this Christmas.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 848 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 12/04/08
What a novel way to bring tremendous meaning and teaching to the theme. Very well done.
Jan Ackerson 12/04/08
What a really memorable piece of writing! Unique POV, fascinating voice, and the characters of the parents are totally unforgettable. Awesome story.
Laura Anne Harrison12/04/08
This is a winner! Very well done! Charaterizations and point of view are excellent.
Catrina Bradley 12/04/08
Incredibly well done 2nd person POV!
Beth LaBuff 12/04/08
LOL I love the insertion of "Pepper your gravy" in the paragraph where you have the bombshell request to move back home. I can see that your character Peal must have haunted you. :) Then your italicized, "Somebody wants me." really hit me between the eyes. Great message! You are so talented, wow!
Sonya Leigh12/05/08
What a deep, creative well God has given you. It is a true privilege for us to read this kind of writing that raises the bar of excellence for all of us...we demand a book, already!
Leigh MacKelvey12/07/08
Excellant writing! Unique story and a winner!
Sharlyn Guthrie12/07/08
Memorable? I'll say! This story is, as well. What a unique perspective for the topic.
Diana Dart 12/08/08
Sha Bam - this one rocked! Really like the POV, the humor along with the angst and message. I am in awe, truly.
Betty Castleberry12/08/08
Love the uniqueness of this piece. It made me smile, and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Leah Nichols 12/09/08
What a unique experience! I'm not sure anyone would really do that....but it makes an interesting point to ponder!
Gregory Kane12/09/08
Sensational writing. Your first half is so incredibly sharp. I'm kind of glad that you changed tack or I might have been left with an odd taste in my mouth at the end.
One mild criticism would be that I thought the middle section was too brief and needed either to be expanded or deleted.
So are you planning to hit an off-week any time soon and submit only an average story? Just as the rest of us lesser mortals seem obliged to do...
Sharon Kane12/09/08
I have no idea how I missed this the first time I read the entries in masters. Awesome writing. I loved the repeated 'Don't cry'; The hard exterior hiding the desperate longing inside. I have heard of so many ways to salvage a falling apart marriage, but handing the husband over to the wife's parents for a year is definitiely a new idea!
Marijo Phelps12/09/08
Love the twists,turns and endings and especially liked this phrase:"let fall. Your father has taught him to carry a handkerchief."
Karlene Jacobsen12/09/08
Very good. Very smooth.
It's too bad her pride kept her away from her parents' home a whole year, but good to see she finally overcame that.
Pamela Kliewer12/09/08
Wow. What a creative take on this topic. Loved it from start to finish. The Somebody wants me. line really got me too... wow.
Carol Slider 12/10/08
An unusual and beautiful story. I couldn't guess at any point in the story where you were headed with it, but I did like where you ultimately arrived!
Teresa Lee Rainey12/10/08
Wow. I'm glad I went searching for this. Great story - Creative - Certainly memorable. Really appreciated how you allowed your mc to be so very open. The way you showed her emotions really drew me in. :)
Dianne Janak12/16/08
I loved loved loved this one.. and I want to share it with some in my life who are experiencing marital issues.. this is priceless.. thanks~