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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: Lines of Longitude
By Gregory Kane


Choi Jeong-yoon tucked her daughter into bed and kissed her tenderly on her button nose. Hye-su had had an exhausting day, what with presents to open, church friends to greet, cousins to chase, and more food than she knew what to do with. Switching off the bedroom light, Jeong-yoon stood by the window and looked down into the street so many floors below. Partly she resented her husband having to work on Christmas Day, but she understood that someone had to remain on duty at the station. Just then, as in the twinkling of an eye, the night sky was transformed and Choi Jeong-yoon gazed upwards, speechless in wonder.

Raashid Mukherjee bowed low before the clay statue of Jesus. His wife had only given him daughters and he hoped the god of the Christians would grant him a son, especially on this holy day when people celebrated the god's birth. Raashid made the sign of the cross, copying the pattern he had learned from the missionary fathers. Then he replaced the figurine in its alcove and took out the idol of Ganesha, his personal favourite of India's 330 million gods and goddesses. The flash of light that ripped across the sky was so sudden, so intense, the clay statuette slipped from his fingers and shattered into pieces. Distraught, the young hindu fell to his knees and cursed the very heavens.

Sandra McAllister struck the red phosphorus head against the rough sandpaper and smiled in triumph as it burst into flame. Damp had seeped into every corner of her Aberdeenshire croft and it had taken four frustrating attempts to light one of the obstinate matches. Reverently she pushed the blazing wood towards the wick of her fifth and final Advent candle. Her vicar had prattled on that morning about Christmas being a time for inward reflection. But for Sandra, Christmas had to do with the joy of knowing that her Saviour had stepped humbly into the world. Slowly, painfully, she bent one creaking knee and began to pray. Far above her thatched roof the afternoon sky turned to fire but Mrs McAllister fixed her eyes on Jesus and took no notice.

Tommy Morrison picked up the discarded house of Duplo bricks and hurled it against the far wall, narrowly missing the head of his little brother. The ensuing protests dragged their mother out of the kitchen where she had been slaving over the festive goose. The two boys were frogmarched out into the garden where they huffed and puffed because there was nothing to do. Their Christmas presents were back inside the house and all their friends and neighbours were off at church. Tommy picked up a stone and was about to chuck it at a passing mongrel. But the rock fell from his hands as he stared at the most beautiful sight his eyes had ever beheld. Moments later, his elation gave way to feelings of abject grief and terror as Tommy fled to the safety of his mother's arms.

José Ramírez's first thought was that World War Three had started. His brain was still reeling from the effects of too much cocaine and too little nutrition, but even in his befuddled state he knew that it ought to be dark at that hour of the morning. José threw open the front door of his studio apartment and peered up at the comet trail of light that lit the firmament from one horizon to the other. It reminded José of a sci-fi movie but he couldn't remember if it was the one starring Will Smith or that other one with Tom Cruise. What was clear to José was that the end of the world was well and truly nigh. Staggering into his kitchenette, he picked up a pack of Marlboro Reds, lit a cigarette and waited to die.

Archelon turned to his friend Hephistames and slapped him on the back. “Do you think anyone's noticed us yet?” he asked, not really expecting a reply. Every eye was fixed on the two figures at the front of the massive angel train. Michael held his great trumpet by his side. Any moment now, the Master would give the nod and the archangel would sound the command. Then Archelon, Hephistames and thousands upon thousands of their kind would descend upon the earth to catch up the elect. It was fitting that the Lord's second Advent should take place on the very day that the world celebrated his first appearing.

“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Mt 24:30-31 NIV)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 12/04/08
Incredible—you hooked me right from the first word and there was no thought of escape until the end. Excellent.
Sharon Kane12/05/08
This has to be one of the best thought-out FW entries I have read. It seems to have layers and layers of clever craftmanship, and the message is a double-edged sword. What if Jesus were to return on Christmas day?? The thought thrills my heart and yet sends chills down my spine. How many believers actually 'take Christmas day off' from a life of faith and righteousness? All our frantic preparations for the special day, would certainly be meaningless in THIS scenario. What a powerful reminder to keep Him central in ALL of our life. Fantastic!
Sharlyn Guthrie12/07/08
What an intriguing thought! I like how the story is told in vignettes from around the world.
Karlene Jacobsen12/09/08
Very interesting. I began to wonder how each paragraph was threaded together, until about 2/3 way down. Then it began to unravel for me.
It's unique, and very good.
Clyde Blakely12/11/08
Superb, Gregory, and saw myself in all the above, except the addict but his thoughts could have been mine at some time. Met your title well. So many variations of potential human thoughts at the time of His coming. My 'favourite' (yes, I know how to spell in "English" having lived in Canada for awhile) was the worshiping sister.
God bless and have a wonderful Christmas before heading back to the mission field.