Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Reason for the Season of Christmas (12/04/08)
- TITLE: Christmas Afternoon - The Magic is Gone
By Karen Lucille Gross
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“But you have brown hair and brown eyes”, replied Stacy’s mother Carolyn wearily. “Marsha has blond hair and blue eyes. I thought it would be more fun to play if your dolls each looked like you.”
“Well it’s no fun to all get matching pajamas,” 14 year old Bethany complained. “How can I ever have friends over if I have to wear the same dorky pajamas as my two little sisters! It’s bad enough that I have to share a bedroom with the two brats. There is nowhere to have a sleepover with my friends.”
“We can trade Barbies if you want,” whispered 7 year old Marsha. “I don’t mind…”
11 year old Danny interrupted, “This chemistry set is the lamest present ever! I wanted a bike! Dad would have bought me a bike. And I can’t have friends over either! My room in this apartment is smaller than my closet in the old house. I don’t see why we had to move.”
Carolyn couldn’t take it anymore. She ran to her little bedroom, which was even smaller than Danny’s, but at least she had a little privacy from the kids.
“Good going bonehead!” Bethany hissed at her little brother. “You made Mom cry again! You should be grateful that you have your own room. Why don’t you go and stay in there until you grow up!” Bethany went to the girls’ room and slammed the door.
Carolyn fell onto her bed, sobbing, again. She had tried so hard to make this Christmas normal for the kids, but who was she kidding? Christmas was never going to be normal again. Gradually, her sobbing turned to desperate prayer. “Oh God! How am I supposed to raise four kids without Bryce? How could you take him now, when we need him the most? I can’t even buy the right gifts for Christmas!”
As her eyes fell on the Bible beside her bed, Carolyn fought against the urge to throw it against the wall. Instead, she forced herself to open the book. She had been reading the Psalms, so she turned to the page she had bookmarked. She read in Psalm 68: “3 But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. 4 Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds-- his name is the Lord-- and rejoice before him. 5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
Reluctantly, Carolyn began to pray again. “Lord, you said to let the righteous be glad and rejoice before you. Well, right now I don’t feel much like rejoicing. You said that you would be a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows. We really need that right now. Help me to trust you to get us through this. Help me to rejoice even when I don’t feel like it.”
Carolyn dried her eyes and went back into the living room where Stacy and Marsha were playing with their new Barbies. Carolyn noticed that Stacy still had the brown haired doll. Stacy ran to give her mom a hug. “I’m sorry for not being thankful for the Barbie. She has brown hair and brown eyes, just like mine,… and Daddy’s. Maybe this doll can help us to remember him.” Just then, Bethany and Danny came out of their rooms to join the family.
“I’m sorry, too Mom” Danny said. “I don’t need a bike. I can’t ride one until summer anyways.”
Bethany held out a hastily wrapped gift. “Here mom. We didn’t want to ask you for money to buy you a gift, so we made you this nativity set out of Danny’s play dough. It seemed kind of dorky, so I didn’t want to give it to you. And Marsha drew this picture of Jesus in the manger.”
Marsha shyly nodded. “Stacy used the computer at school to add the words.” Carolyn read them out loud: “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”
“Do you think we could bake a birthday cake for Jesus?” Marsha asked. “Daddy is sharing birthday cake with Jesus and the angels.” “Sure,” Carolyn answered. “That can be our new Christmas tradition.”
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