In “Christmas, Cold and Gray,” Rainer Kocepek and his wife, Verna, try to give each other the perfect Christmas gift. Set in 1980s East Berlin, the couple have to navigate through the cold and gray environment created by the German Democratic Republic’s oppressive regime to bring a little light and happiness during for the holiday.

Illustrated by Leslie A. Wicke, this 36-page PDF short story has echoes of O’Henry’s Gift of the Magi. “Christmas, Cold & Gray,” placed second in the ACFW Virginia chapter’s 2016 Short Story contest.