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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Reason for the Season of Christmas (12/04/08)

TITLE: Profit or Loss?
By Carole Robishaw


Fred cheerfully walked around his store, straightening a few things here and there, humming “Here Comes Santa Claus” as he went.

Ahh, this is exactly the way things should be. Look at all these people in here, shopping and spending money. Why, if this keeps up, we may make an even bigger profit this year than last year. I could really use it, too. Yes, what better way to celebrate the holidays could there be than spreading cheer and filling my pockets with a little more money?

Fred stepped towards the young woman standing in front of the dolls. “May I be of help? These dolls are on special, they’re just what every little girl wants, and all for the low price of only $79.99.” Fred pointed to a display of dolls that they were breathtakingly beautiful, wearing dresses of shiny, glittery, eye catching fabrics.

“I don’t think so. What would a child who may not even have a place to call home do with a thing like that? I’m not shopping for a self-indulgent child. I’m shopping for a little girl who has nothing.” She turned to walk away.

I’m not going to lose this sale. Fred jumped in with “But that’s exactly why this would be perfect. It would make up for not having anything else.”

“Sir, I believe that’s a very selfish attitude. Why, that doll costs more than some people make in a days wages. I wouldn’t even buy that for my own daughter, it would be ruined in five minutes. That’s a doll to be set up on a shelf, a collectors item, not one to be played with.”

“I’m looking for something that a child can find comfort in, something that says they’re loved, and cared for, not something that can only be looked at. Children who have very little need something they can relate to, and play with, to be a part of their lives. Something that will bring relief to what may be dreary lives, not something that just looks pretty and has no real substance. A china doll with a beautiful dress is something from a world of dreams, it’s going to break and be ruined. Then what will she do? No, I want something that can be familiar, yet new. Something of value, but not to be left on a shelf, something that will be a part of her daily life, not something to just look at from a distance.”

Fred shook his head with wonder. “There is no such thing. All anyone wants is to have what they see everyone else with. That doll would set the child apart, give her something to look up to, to strive for.”

“Something to make her feel even poorer than she is, don’t you mean? No, I need something that says I care what is happening to her today and tomorrow. Something of substance, that won’t be gone the day after Christmas. I need something personal. Something no one else will have, something…”

“That doesn’t sound like something you can buy.” Fred wasn’t happy, this wasn’t going the way he wanted it to. He attempted to edge her towards another display of toys. “That doesn’t sound like something that even exists. But maybe we can find something over here that will work?”

“I think you’re right, I can’t buy it. I think it will have to be something from my heart. God willingly gave up his son, Jesus, as a gift to me, I think that in return I can certainly give some of my time as a gift for this child. Thank you! I think I’ve finally figured out what will last forever and might really make a difference in the little girl’s life. I’m going to give her me! I’ll get that small teddy bear over there, as a token, but what I’m really going to do is spend time at the shelter. I’m going to make a difference in her life, not fill her head with nonsense and her hands with something too fragile to be hugged.”

Fred stood there, totally baffled by what had just happened. I’ll be ruined if everyone thinks their time is the most important gift that can be given. What was that she said? “Jesus as a gift.” What on earth did that mean?

He looked around, his eyes stopped on the nativity set in the window display, his forehead creased in puzzlement, as he wondered again what she had meant.


Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

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This article has been read 585 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Colin Swann12/13/08
Some of you writers got more inspiration than me. I dropped out of the Christmas series a week or two back. I just dried up. Thanks for sticking with it! All the best with your writing in the coming year. Col.

Christmas Blessings.
Laury Hubrich 12/14/08
The poor salesman doesn't know what hit him. Hopefully he gets it before the season is up:) Good story!
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/16/08
You managed excellently to get the "reason for the season" across in your story.
Karlene Jacobsen12/16/08
What a neat gift she decided to give...
I loved this story.
Leah Nichols 12/17/08
I liked this one....a thoughtful look at the reason for buying stuff for Christmas. Well done on the dialogue. Red ink: I didn't really "see" the woman in my mind, just heard her voice. Maybe you could bring us into a visual of her rather than just writing what she says. Nice work!
Jan Ackerson 12/17/08
Great lesson!

The woman's long speeches just didn't ring true to me...perhaps if you'd broken them up and had more give-and-take between her and Fred?

Fred's a great character--I'd read more about him any day.
Sharon Kane12/17/08
There is quite an ouch in this. How often we throw money at 'the poor' as if that will solve all their problems, when actually what is so much more needed is love, time, grace, and sitting where people sit. Good work.
Catrina Bradley 12/17/08
Super lesson on the reason for Christmas; I hope the seed she planted in Fred takes root. I thought her "speeches" to him might have been a bit long to be realistic dialog, but I LOVED what she said.
Lyn Churchyard12/17/08
Fred already has a loss by not understanding what Christmas is all about. Let's hope he learns before his profit line becomes too big and he thinks that's all he needs. Hooray for shoppers who can make a difference. Great lesson on the truth of Christmas. Well done.