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

TITLE: A Witness In Chains
By Diana Dart
12/10/08


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The darkness is heavy and thick on my chest and I struggle to breathe evenly. Sleep evades me and the cold fingers that grip my naked back will not be ignored. I remember that this night should feel different. Vaguely recalled snippets of memory testify that this eve was once filled with eager anticipation and the good night kisses on my cheek spoke of the promise of tomorrow. But life now is empty of anticipation and the promise of tomorrow is only a mirror of the lonely yesterdays.

Despair whispers through the prison bars at my skeletal body. You will never again feel those lips; never hear the sound of a child’s laughter. You are lost here in this concrete cell, beyond the grasp of any who love you. I suck in my breath at that thought, a battle call sounding in my spirit. I know I am not out of reach of the One who loves me more than any other. Clinging to that knowledge, I exhale slowly. Despair slinks away, defeated for now. A grateful prayer wafts through my thoughts as sleep reluctantly descends.

The morning brings some nourishment - hard bread and a small mound of dried fruit wait on the bare floor near the entrance to my cell. Not the feast this sacred morning will bring to many homes, but enough to quiet the growling hunger. I have long forgotten the taste of a holiday meal and can barely remember the sight of a laden table. Those missing scenes make no difference, for Christmas still arrives without them. With this meager meal I am provided for and it is enough, even today.

The smell of damp rock and unwashed bodies soaks my nostrils, not fresh pine or warm spice. No ribbons or colourful lights hang, only abandoned spider webs and murals of moss cling to the walls. There are no schedules to keep, greetings to send, or traditions to share. This day will still find me weak and alone in this dank cell, yet somehow full of praise. My heart radiates warmly, not masking the harsh reality but altering the very way my body reacts to it. The knowledge of today is the lone jewel in my possession, a tonic that I drink with abandon. For today reminds me that I can never be forgotten, that one life began in order than none may be lost. I know that the One born on this day willingly shouldered a punishment beyond what I could imagine.

Squatting close to the bars, I listen for sounds of life around me. A soft weeping floats through the corridor beyond and is overwhelmed by a thunderous curse. No sleigh bells or the bustle of gatherings, here the only sounds are full of sorrow, anger or pain. Music seems absurd, yet I suspect the seed of joy I carry in my heart will be the only light that shines through the inky blackness. A prayerful song in my head might be more prudent, but darkness can only be broken by light that shines forth.

My voice croaks in song, beginning quietly but swelling with each word. It is a familiar tune that silences the weeping and curses for a moment. With eyes closed, I lift my hands to the heavens beyond the prison walls, offering the only thing I have left to give. To all who can hear, this is my gift, a testimony of the truth that will not be bent, shadowed or forgotten. It is true that there is hope, deliverance, and forgiveness because of this day. Nothing else matters here or anywhere.

As the song fades, wild laughter and angry oaths are thrown in my direction. It is no matter that my fellow prisoners have only mockery and rage for me. Men had the same for Him, and yet He gave all that He had. I gladly follow and accept whatever returns to me.

Singing again softly, a carol flutters from my cell undeterred. It is how I must mark this sacred event. Today will pass like all of the others and in chains I will witness the marching of time. But there is great joy as I look forward to the morning where I will admire dawn outside this prison. Because of Christmas, I will one day be free.


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This article has been read 710 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Murray12/12/08
"I know I am not out of reach of the One who loves me more than any other." This is the line that defines the strength of all those who know Him. From struggling start through fearless witness to brave, indeterminate finish your story gripped me. Great writing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/16/08
This is beautifully written with a wonderful message.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge12/18/08
Congratulations on your EC! Amazing that you were also thinking of prisoners for this topic. God must be trying to tell us something. Beautiful story.
Catrina Bradley 12/18/08
Congratulations!! Fabulously inspiring story.
Janice Fitzpatrick12/18/08
Amazing! We need to seriously think of how many christians are persecuted for being a christian and not be complacent in our walk and belief. Instead, we take a good look at where we are spiritually and thank God that we still can praise Him and attend the church we desire,etc. One day, and not that far off I do believe that it may take persecution and less rights given to us to finally wake us up and have us not take for granted how blessed we are indivudually and as a nation. Oh Lord, that we wake up before it is too late, and draw unto Him, and share the Good News, through our examples of His love and mercy! Wonderfully written. Congratulations hon! Lord bless you!
Connie Dixon12/21/08
WOW - amazing. A story of despair and hope all wrapped up in one story. The place sounded like hell, only there was no void of God's presence. Now that was awesome writing, and obviously, the judges thought so too. Congratulations on your win. (does that put you in masters or do you have a ways to go?)

I look forward to reading more of your writings. Blessings, Connie