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

TITLE: The Seasons Doth Change, but Evermore Shall the Reason Remain
By Lyn Churchyard


The pain came in great rolling waves causing the young woman to cry out and grasp the arm of her husband who knelt along side of her. Would the pain never end? How much longer must she endure this?

Relief came as the pain ebbed away and she relaxed briefly before the next wave surged. The animals housed in the stable looked on impassively for a moment before resuming their eating. A lamb bleated and continued suckling on its mother, its tail wagging rapidly every now and then as it filled its belly.

Her husband wiped her brow and held her hand as her saw her tense as another wave hit her. “Joseph!” she cried out his name in pain and fear and felt as though she were about to be torn in two.

“Shhh,” he said softly, trying to sooth her. “All will be well; just a little longer Mary.”

Then suddenly, as quickly as it came, the pain was gone. Mary looked up into her husband’s face that held an air of wonder. “It is finished.” He whispered, before reaching down to minister to their newborn son. Their son? No, not his own flesh and blood, far more than mere flesh, and he would do all a father could do for this baby born of strange circumstances.

He and Mary had been betrothed when she came to him and told him she was pregnant – by the Holy Spirit no less. At first he thought of divorcing her quietly, but then one night, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

Mary sat under the shade of the cedar, watching her children playing together. Jesus as always, calming any disagreements and spontaneously hugging his siblings. She thought back to the day she and Joseph had presented Jesus at the temple just eight days after his birth. Old Simeon had prophesied about the future of their tiny babe, warning that a sword would pierce her own soul. She often pondered on what he had meant. Simeon had also said her son, her little Jesus, would be the cause for the rise and fall of many in Israel. Words so strange to her mind, but words that seemed to ring true for Jesus was not like his brothers and sisters.

The pain came in great rolling waves as the man raised himself up to breath before dropping down again to rest on the small piece of wood near his groin as the nails in his feet tore the flesh more. His shoulder joints felt as though they were on fire and as he rested for a few seconds, his hands dragged against the nails that held him on the cross. Over and over, wave of pain upon wave of pain. Up and down, up and down just to keep breathing. Naked in his humiliation, his face like one massive bruise.
Those around the base of the cross heard him cry out in deep despair. “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”

The sky had been dark for three hours now, and Mary knew then exactly what Simeon had meant those many years past. Surely, a sword was piercing her soul right now as she watched her first-born hanging on the cross in agony. And then, with a last surge of energy, Jesus cried out in a loud voice “IT IS FINISHED”.

Mary watched as he slumped forward, his head dropping to his chest, his shoulders at an unnatural angle. Her son was dead. The others around her who were his friends and followers gathered closer and they wept together. John, the big burly fisherman his arms around Mary holding her, wept unashamedly with the rest. Such a waste of life. And yet... the promise Jesus had given His disciples seemed to whisper in their ears once more. This death was not the end. This was the reason He came into the world.

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Marilyn Schnepp 12/11/08
You have documented well the Reason for the Season. There are some minor errors, but a nice narrative of Jesus' life as a whole. (Due to the era in which this transpired, I believe "with Child" would have been more appropriate than "pregnant" - Just a thought.) Have a great Holiday...and God Bless.
Marlene Austin12/11/08
Great summation of this precious life. Loved the comparison tie-in of the "waves of pain" at Jesus' birth and death. Wonderful job. :)
Angela M. Baker-Bridge12/11/08
Nice summation...I also liked the repetition of pain in birth to in death.
mick dawson12/11/08
Loved it. Agreed; you covered the reason for the season well. It was short, sweet, and hard hitting. Well done with this one.
Carole Robishaw 12/16/08
Good parallels, between the birth and death. But it's not quite finished, there will be another pain filled battle in the future when he returns, as there is also a current and continuous battle for us to remember the truth now.
Teresa Lee Rainey12/16/08
The power of the pain in His life - from birth to death - is such an awsome story. Other than a few little word errors, this was a great entry. You told the story well. :)
Betty Castleberry12/16/08
Wonderful description. So good, in fact, I cringed when reading about Jesus on the cross. Well done.
Deborah Engle 12/16/08
I have often thought about the fact that His birth was the beginging of His death, but never considered it as a story theme. Well done.
Pamela Kliewer12/16/08
I like how you tied in the pain of birth w/ the pain of death. This was gripping and a great reminder to us that Jesus' coming was not w/o pain, something we need to remember as we celebrate this season and allow it to fill our hearts w/ joy.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/16/08
Comparisons of pain for birth and death are excellently presented, along with a wonderful reminder of the reason for the season.
Karlene Jacobsen12/16/08
Really, really good. I like how you followed Mary through time, showing her considering all that Simeon had said to her.
Peter Stone12/17/08
Wonderful reminder that the reason Jesus was incarnated as a human was to redeem us on the cross. Loved the way you showed Him with His siblings, how that He was obviously different from them. The "It is finished" at the birth and at His death linked together wonderfully.
Jan Ackerson 12/17/08
Oh, cool--I love the parallel structure, with the little interlude in the middle. I caught the "it is finished" in the first section and thought, how ironic...then it came back in the last part. Excellent!
Sharon Kane12/17/08
I don't often comment if all I have to say has already been said by others, but this is too good to let it go. You tied everything together so well with the paralles of the pain of birth and death, and the physical anguish and psychological wretchedness. Mary's memory of the prophecy in the middle section and her confusion about who Jesus was also wove in well to the tale. It is not hard for a mother to describe labour pains (!), but you did some serious meditation on the cross to describe Jesus' death throes like that. Thank you for helping us get closer to Him in reading this.
Leah Nichols 12/19/08
Beautiful tribute to the reason for the season. So often we either focus on the birth of Jesus without a view to His death - the real purpose. Excellently done!
Sara Harricharan 12/19/08
Very well done! I'm so glad I didn't miss this one. There is so much you captured in this short piece. Lovely! Simply lovely. ^_^