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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: Don't Forget Him On His Day
By Joshua Janoski


“Happy holidays, Honey!”

I greeted my lovely wife, Sharon who stood in the kitchen baking the traditional Christmas Day meal that we would eat later that afternoon.

“It’s not happy holidays, Bret! It’s Merry Christmas! I hope you aren’t becoming like all of those people that have decided to leave Jesus out of the holidays.”

“Sorry, Dear. I didn’t mean it to sound that way.” My hand was swatted away as I tried to dip my finger into a pan of gravy.

“The kids were able to stay asleep this year, huh? They used to yank us out of bed so they could open their presents.” I sat down at the kitchen table and skimmed the sports section of the newspaper. Sharon joined me with her bowl of oatmeal.

“It surprised me too. Enjoy the peace and quiet because they will soon be stampeding down those stairs.”

I exchanged the sports section for the classifieds. “Remember, I don’t want anything taking place until we have sat down and read the Christmas Story from The Bible.”

“Of course not. We’ll do that first. Oh no! My pies!” Sharon grabbed an oven mitt and ran to the oven. I walked into the living room and picked up the large Bible that sat on our coffee table. The stampede that we discussed earlier began.

“It’s Christmas! Yippee!” Kaylee yelled while jumping down the stairs.

“Time to open presents!” Her older brother Trevor yelled, as he made a mad dash for the Christmas tree. I ran over and placed a barricade between him and the wrapped gifts with my arm.

“Not so fast there, Fella. We are not opening any gifts until I have read the Christmas Story. You know it’s something that we do every year.”

Kaylee pouted and ran into the kitchen.

“What’s that smell? Is that apple pie?” Trevor asked as he followed his sister. I gathered chairs and beanbags for our family reading time. After the kids ate breakfast, I called for our traditional Christmas Day gathering.

“Sharon! Trevor! Kaylee! Come in the living room! It’s time to read the…”


“I’ll get it!” Trevor yelled, as he zipped to the front door.

“Uncle Jack!” Kaylee squealed as she threw open her arms to give my brother-in-law and his wife, Lindsay big hugs.

“Hi everyone! We made it after all!” Jack said.

“Jack! Lindsay! I thought you guys wouldn’t make it because of the snow! I’m happy you’re here!” Sharon hugged her brother and sister-in-law. “Lindsay, you have to come taste this fudge that I made. I found a new recipe, and it is to die for!”

Jack patted me on the back. “Bret, come check out my new hunting rifle that Lindsay got me for Christmas. It’s in the truck.”

I hesitantly set the Bible on the coffee table and followed Jack outside. After spending quite a bit of time listening to his stories about hunting deer and elk, we came back inside.

“Ok everyone. It’s now time to read …”

“Oh Bret! Let’s wait, Honey! The food is going to get cold if we don’t eat it now.” Sharon set the silverware on the table while Lindsay brought in the food.

“Dad, I want to open presents!” Kaylee whined.

“Me too!” Trevor begged.

“Sit down and eat first.” Sharon said. We all sat down and ate a wonderful meal. After we finished, I stood up.

“Let’s gather around the couch and read the Christmas Story now.”

“Let the kids open their gifts first. They have been so patient today. We’ll read the story afterwards.” Sharon got her camera out to take photos.

Everyone ripped open their presents and began playing and admiring their new items. Frustrated, I kicked back in my recliner and gave up on my reading. Sleep took me over. Shortly after, Jack and Lindsay left and Sharon ordered the kids to get ready for bed. She gently shook my arm.

“You coming to bed, Sweetie?”

I opened my eyes and looked at her.

“Sharon, I was right.”

“Right about what?”

“It was a Happy Holiday this year and not a Merry Christmas.”

Sharon looked down. She knew what I meant. She turned towards the bathroom and yelled…

“Kids! Before you jump in bed, I want you to gather around the couch. Christmas Day isn’t over yet. It’s time to remember what this day is really about.”

My heart rejoiced. Christmas Day was not going to end without Christ.

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This article has been read 676 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 12/04/08
Isn't it amazing how our best intentions get messed up? Very good story with a great message! Very timely.
Beth LaBuff 12/06/08
This line is so relevant for today, “It was a Happy Holiday this year and not a Merry Christmas.” I imagine 99.9% of families can relate to this. Nice writing.
Karlene Jacobsen12/08/08
It's so easy to get caught up in any given day and forget that it's because of HIM that we even have that day to live.
Well written.
Dee Yoder 12/10/08
It's so easy to get caught up in the "doings" of the day, that we forget our best intentions. Realistic scenarios in this story, especially the way the day progresses!
Diana Dart 12/10/08
Oh you're so right - this was a VERY important message! Nice pace too, I was rooting for him and then felt his disappointment as he fell asleep. Maybe a bit more description of the MC's feelings - like the tugs/distraction that he felt, etc. may have added a bit more beef to the story. Great overall though, thanks for writing it.
Leah Nichols 12/10/08
Great job, Josh! A timely message, and well-communicated within the context of the story. That's our tradition, too....no presents until after Luke 2!
Loren T. Lowery12/10/08
: ) This is one message that can't be repeated too often, especially this time of year. Maybe, this year it will actually sink in. Great job, Josh, you told it in a most engaging way!
Betty Castleberry12/10/08
It is so easy to put Christ on the back burner any time, but it seems it's even easier at Christmas, the very day we should be remembering him. Thanks for reminding us again what the season is really about. This was well written.
Catrina Bradley 12/10/08
I think you tried to fit too much day into too few words, leaving a kind of empty feeling - I didn't really get to know the characters - not enough details to give this story "meat". I was also confused as to who spoke the first line - I guess it was the husband, but his action-tag should have been in the same paragraph as his quote. It could have easily been the wife, because at the end it was the husband who was lamenting that he was right about Jesus being left out of the day.

I do love the message - and it came across strongly - that, even with the best intentions, Jesus can get pushed aside when something else comes up. An "I'll do it later" attitude. This message is not just for Christmas, but one we need to be mindful of all year. I'm glad they decided to finally invite the Birthday Boy to His party. :)
Teresa Lee Rainey12/10/08
It took me a few lines to get into the story, then I kept thinking - poor guy. Your message did come across very well. So glad you wrapped it up with his being able to read the Christmas story after all. :)