21 December 2008

Christmas Story

I've been reading the LDS Publisher blog for a while now. The author has some good general information about publishing, especially for self publishers or those trying to get published for the first time. About a month ago, a post appeared inviting everyone to submit Christmas stories for a little contest. I didn't think much of it, but on my walk home from work a story started forming in my head.

That night, I tried the story out on Candace. I just told her I wanted to tell her a story and then proceeded to try and tell my ideas as a coherant story. I think I was doing pretty good until I got to the end which I hadn't decided on yet. We talked about it for just a bit and then went to bed.

The next morning I started writing. I wrote the story from the top to the bottom. I read the story a few times correcting different inconsistencies and other little things. I gave the story to a friend who enjoys creative writting and had him read the story and give suggestions. I agreed with most of what he said, but never had the time to implement the changes before the submission date of the contest.

None of the above is real important, but it gives a little insight into the development of the story. I would like to have the story illustrated and published so that I could give it to my children one day. You can read my submission on the contest page or below.

Cricket's Gift

There would be no snow for Christmas this year. The winter was far too warm to allow it. Cricket sat alone outside his doorstep. He watched many animals scurrying back and forth on the roadside in front of his home.

Field Mouse must have been preparing a great feast. He was running in every direction scavenging any nuts and berries he could find that had been left by the late coming winter.

Snow Owl sat quietly in a bare tree over head. He was just waking as the sun set behind him. Cricket watched as Snow Owl left his perched position and flew high into the evening sky, his wings stretched out wide as he glided in front of the rising moon.

It was Christmas Eve and all the animals were rushing to finish their preparations for their Christmas celebrations. Cricket had no one to spend Christmas with this year. His preparations were very meager and so he sat and watched the bustle of others.

As he sat, Cricket began to play his favorite violin. He loved to play even though he never had an audience. On this night he played a beautiful medley of Christmas hymns. As he played he thought of the Christ Child. His feelings and his melody grew deep and strong. He played with all his feeling and the hymns floated through the still night.

Cricket put down his violin long after the last rays of sunlight had disappeared. The animals were still scurrying from place to place. No one seemed to notice his melody in the air. The night was now dark and cold. Cricket entered his home, stored away his violin and prepared for bed.

Before retiring, Cricket knelt by his bedside and prayed to the Lord. Cricket thanked the Lord for His goodness in sending the Christ Child. Cricket cried. In part for joy and in part for loneliness, for Cricket had no one to share his joy with this Christmas. In time, Cricket climbed into bed and fell asleep.

Cricket was still drowsy but he awoke to a voice calling his name. "Cricket," the voice called again. Cricket lifted his head and looked around his room. A man with a long white beard stood at the foot of his bed smiling at him.

"I am the Spirit of Christmas," he said. "I have come to deliver a gift to you. This is no ordinary gift. It has not been crafted by the hands of men, but instead is created in their hearts." He then beckoned to Cricket saying, "Come with me."

Cricket pulled on his night-coat as he crawled out of bed. Together they stepped out of his house and into the street. Walking with the Spirit, Cricket did not feel the cold chill in the air. They stopped at the home of Field Mouse and entered the house, but no one could see or hear them.

Field Mouse was singing merrily as he added finishing touches to many of the Christmas decorations around his home. Eventually, he was satisfied with all his preparations and sat down in a chair next to his lovely wife. His wife looked up at him as he quietly finished the melody of a beautiful Christmas hymn. She spoke softly, "I have never seen you so happy before and never singing so joyfully." Field Mouse looked thoughtful for a moment and then replied, "As I was out gathering the last preparations for Christmas, I heard the most beautiful music. A single violin echoed the voice of heaven as it filled the world with the hymns of Christmas. I guess I have been singing ever since."

The Spirit of Christmas beckoned and led Cricket from the home of Field Mouse. As they walked together Cricket said, "I didn't think anyone heard me play tonight." The Spirit smiled and said, "We never know what the hearts of others see and hear."

They continued on their journey to the home of Rabbit and his family. While at Rabbit's house Cricket learned that Rabbit had opened a window upon hearing the echo of a violin. He gathered his wife and children around him and told them the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. He told them how angels had filled the sky and sang to shepherds who tended their sheep in nearby fields. That night even the youngest children sat quietly and listened to the sounds of the nativity. Their hearts were full knowing that they were allowed to hear the heavens rejoice on this Christmas Eve.

The Spirit of Christmas led Cricket from home to home that night. Each residence held similar convictions. They all felt that they had been blessed to hear a heavenly melody ringing in the Christmas celebration.

Cricket returned home and cried again as the Spirit of Christmas left him. He knelt by his bedside and thanked the Lord for the vision he had been shown. He was no longer lonely, for he had hosts of people to serve and bless. Cricket still plays his violin each year to usher in the Christmas celebration. If you listen very closely this Christmas Eve you to may hear his heavenly melody playing in your heart.

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