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By Michael Chin

Name: Aaron Chen

Age at time of next Christmas holiday: 34

Select the categories that best describe your reasons for application (check all that apply):

☐ Sick

☐ Injured

☐ Sick or Injured Loved One

☐ Impoverished

☒ Bereaved

☒ Divorced

☒ Heartbroken

☒ Chronic Loneliness

☐ Existential Crisis

☒ Significant Life Change

☐ Other: ______________________________________________________

Category of miracle requested (check all that apply):

☐ Physical Healing (reminder: reinstatement of life is beyond the capacities of our institution)

☒ Intellectual Revelation

☒ Emotional Revelation

☐ Financial Windfall

☐ Other: ______________________________________________________

Describe your lowest moment from the last year (limit 500 characters):

A dating app put us together. She was much younger. Pretty, too. Rosy cheeked when she came in from the cold. Mucus bubble at her nostril. She swiped at it, self-conscious. It made me like her more. Trust her. She asked about me. I hid behind words like pediatric oncology but she didn’t have the vocabulary. I swept a hand across the table and accidentally knocked over my beer. The pint glass shattered and I wanted to apologize, but all I could say was I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Describe why a Christmas miracle is particularly well-suited to your needs (limit 1000 characters):

We always made a big deal out of Christmas. Always spent it with Anna’s family. They always had a big, real tree, always the full turkey dinner. I proposed on a Christmas morning and the only Christmas Anna missed spending with her family was after Simon was first born and we couldn’t fathom making the trip, barely keeping a grip as we were on diaper changes and bottle-warming practices at home. Simon’s first Christmas I squinted my eyes as I rocked him trying to see what the blur of the tree lights might look like through underdeveloped eyes. Simon’s second Christmas, he delighted in a new red car, real metal exterior; in a white plush teddy bear. Simon’s third Christmas he clutched wrapping paper in his hands, toddled fast—he’d learn to run soon after—and screamed a wordless tune to “Jingle Bells.” By Simon’s fourth Christmas, we all had a sense of where things were headed.

Describe your anticipated contributions to the community, should you receive your Christmas miracle (limit 500 characters):

Some days I get up and shovel not only my driveway and walk but the neighbor’s too. If I can get myself to buy coffee, I tip generously. But there are these days I fast, not out of principle, but stupor. These days I wonder if I lay long enough, if I might fade away. These days, I think I might be so much more. A lesson in loving and having lost. I know this, but I don’t feel this. I need to feel this. I need to feel. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.


Michael Chin was born and raised in Utica, New York and currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife and son. His debut novel, My Grandfather’s an Immigrant and So is Yours (Cowboy Jamboree Press) came out in 2021, and he is the author of three previous full-length short story collections. Find him online at and follow him on Twitter.


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