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

TITLE: The Treasure Chest
By Ruth Neilson


“Candee Kane, to you, I give you the most important job that I can grant an elf,” Santa rumbled and Candee looked up, carefully peering over her glasses at him. He smiled and winked as he continued. “You will be the keeper of the entire reason that Christmas exists.”

“But Santa...” Candee began her face flushing.

Santa shook his head once, his blue eyes becoming serious as he knelt before the small she-elf. Wordlessly, he placed an intricately carved chest in her arms.

Carefully, Candee cradled the chest and looked down at it as Santa’s next words washed over her. “Do not loose this, little elf. There will be a day that mankind will forget the reason for Christmas and they will need a reminder.”

Candee nodded her green eyes bright. “Yes, Santa.” She whispered before rushing off to her room to hide the precious chest.

Years went by and Candee found herself working side-by-side with other elves to meet the ever increasing demand on the workshop. Long gone were the days of lovingly carved trains and dolls only to be replaced by CDs and remote control cars.

After one long and grueling day, Candee felt a strong hand rest on her shoulder. She looked up from the assembly line and smiled wearily at Santa. He didn’t smile in return. His normally merry face was lined with stress. He rumbled, “It’s time, Candee. Mankind needs to remember what is in the chest.”

Candee nodded and scrambled away from the chaotic toy factory. The chest had been hidden in her closet for several years. She only hoped that it was still there. She ran into her room and flung open the door to the closet, her eyes looking for the precious box.

It was gone.

Candee sank to the floor, tears burning her eyes. “No...No no no no...Where did it go?”

If you ask Me, I will show you... The whisper of a familiar voice disturbed the quiet of her room.

Candee found herself nodding, “Yes, Father, show me what was so important about that chest.”

Her surroundings blurred before sharpening once again. Candee looked around in surprise. Her room was gone and she stood in a stable. Before Candee was a young girl, tucking a thin strip of cloth around a Newborn. A man stood over her, holding a lantern high and several shepherds were standing guard.

This is just part of the real reason of Christmas. Her Father’s voice whispered again as the Newborn blurred and then faded. Candee swallowed painfully as images from the Child’s life played within the food trough ending with the Child dying on a human torture device only to emerge from His borrowed tomb three days later.

Candee’s knees buckled and she collapsed. Her face pressed into the damp earth.

Now you know the real reason for the Christmas season.

Candee whimpered as her world shifted once again. Slowly, she lifted her head and gazed around. She was back, safe, at home. Santa...the chest... Candee leapt to her feet and ran to find Santa.

The chest might be gone, but Candee knew that there had to be another way of reminding mankind of the real reason of Christmas. As she sought, Santa out, her mind worked overtime. Slowly, a plan began to form.

Candee spotted Santa’s large form in the stable and hesitantly, she approached him.

“Santa...I’ve lost the chest.” She began quietly. “But, I know the real reason of Christmas...and I have an idea as to how we might remind mankind of it.”

Santa tilted his head to the side and Candee motioned for him to kneel. She began to whisper her plan in his ears. Slowly a smile filled the larger man’s face.

“Yes, Candee, that might just work.” Santa rumbled before he took her hand.

Elf and man rapidly walked to his workshop. They had to work to do. Together, they created lists of those who knew and those that didn’t. Extra special gifts were created, for those who knew the reason to share to their friends, family, and neighbors who didn’t know the reason. Inside each gift was a simple note.

This gift is a simple one. It is not for you to keep, but rather to share with those who need to know the real reason of Christmas. Be bold and courageous and share the Light in this dark world.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Gregory Kane12/13/08
You captured the childish innocence well. I particularly liked the scene transition to the Bible story - clear without being laboured. Mind you, I didn't entirely followed the ending. What was the gift? Or was the note more important? Maybe I've read too many stories today!
Joanne Sher 12/14/08
Lovely melding of tradition with truth. Your characters are so realistically drawn. Beautiful.
Karlene Jacobsen12/14/08
Honestly, I'm not a fan of Santa stories, but this one captivated me. I like that.
Catrina Bradley 12/15/08
Great characterization, and a very cute story. I'm guessing the gift was a candy cane, with the story of the meaning of the shape and the red & white stripes?
Jan Ackerson 12/17/08