Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: HARVEST (11/21/19)
- TITLE: A Christmas Problem
By Dennis Gallemore
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She studied her husband’s weathered face before answering. “You may not, but you know who does, Jake,” she replied softly. “We’ve been through tough times before and I’m sure they’ll come again.” Reaching across the kitchen table, she patted his arm. “With the Lord’s help, we’ll always get through.”
“Before you ask, I’ve been praying for guidance, but nothing has happened so far.”
“You have to be patient, Jake. Sometimes, it’s quite a while before a prayer gets answered.”
“Well, it needs to be pretty darn soon.” He looked toward the ceiling. “No offense, you understand. I’m just in a world of hurt right now. It’s almost Christmas and soon there will be a whole truckload of folks out here wanting to buy a real Christmas tree and there won’t be a single one cut. With my busted leg, I can’t do it and Emma sure can’t do it being in a wheelchair and all, and we don’t have the money to hire someone.”
“Well, Jake, what about asking Bob?”
“Bob? You mean Reverend Saunders?”
“Sure, why not? Tomorrow is Sunday; he could mention it right after the sermon. I’m sure someone might help us out.”
“Might as well, I suppose,” Jake said, “But I’m not holding my breath.”
“I see that most of you are still awake,” the minister said with a grin as he looked out over the church sanctuary. “Although I would appreciate it if someone would wake Alan back there.”
Jake and Emma joined in on the laughter. “It wouldn’t be a normal Sunday if Alan was awake,” Jake whispered to his wife. “He must take a sleeping pill before he comes to church.”
“Now Jake,” Emma replied, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say a thing.”
The minister cleared his throat. “I have a few announcements this morning. First of all, we need a new wise man to replace Ralph. As I’m sure most of you have heard, he was knocked senseless when he tried to put a Santa hat on one of his milk cows. Those Holsteins can kick like the Devil himself.”
“Ralph never was very bright,” Jake observed.
“Hush,” Emma said.
“Next on the list is the upcoming Christmas Eve service. We bought battery-operated candles for this year. I’m sure you all remember what happened last Christmas when we tried using real candles.”
A collective groan went up. “There was a Christmas miracle for you,” Jake said. “The miracle was that the whole church didn’t burn down. Good thing half of the town’s fire fighters were here that night.” Emma nodded, but remained silent.
“Next up is the results of the Ugly Christmas Sweater contest. All of you voted last week and the winner was Blake Mallon. Unfortunately, Blake informed me that he hadn’t entered the contest and I apologize for that mistake. Emily Felton is the real first-place winner. Finally,” the minister continued, “Jake and Emma Tanner grow Christmas trees out on their farm and they aren’t able to cut them this year. They need some help cutting them and helping customers. They would appreciate it, and so would I, if anyone could help them this coming week. Their farm is right east of town on Farm Road 2810, just past Sam’s Tattoo Parlor and Firewood Emporium.”
“Always thought that was a strange combination,” Jake commented. “I wonder if a feller could get a tattoo of a rick of wood.” Emma rolled her eyes.
Leaning on crutches, Jake looked across the farm in astonishment. “Look at that, Emma! There must be twenty people helping us out this morning. Most of these people I’ve seen at church but I don’t really know them.”
Emma shook her head. “I told you, Jake. The Good Lord answers prayers. He surely does!”
“You reap what you sow.”
Jake and Emma turned. “Hello, Reverend,” Jake said. “What do you mean?”
“All of these people have you two to thank for being Christians.”
Bewildered, Emma glanced at her husband and then back at the minister. “We didn’t lead any of these people to Christ.”
He smiled. “Not directly, no, but you led many of their parents to Christ. You two stepped up to the plate years ago and now your receiving help with your harvest. Merry Christmas!”
Matthew 9:37 (ESV) Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
(Work of fiction)
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