“What would I say to Jesus on Christmas Day” was a prompt for a writing contest I recently entered and won one of two grand prizes. I want to share this entry with you. I don’t know where you are today as you contemplate the New Year. I do know God will be with you.
It’s been a long, heart-wrenching year. Full of events I would not have chosen. Full of heartache I could never fathom. Maybe you also have had a really rough year.
It all began in early January, after ringing in the New Year. A time I usually anticipate, full of hope and wonder of what the near future might hold. I had no idea just nine days in our family would witness the tragic death of a beloved pet.
As we trusted in God to heal our hearts, more tragedy struck. This time of a personal nature that is not my story to tell. But for those who have witnessed someone who is dearly loved endure a personal disaster, you would know how frantic I felt, whispering words of panicked pleading to my Heavenly Father to step in and immediately intervene.
But He had other plans.
As the weeks stretched into months, my heart plunged with fear for the future. I clung with a desperate faith as the hot sun warmed up the summer weather and tried to be a positive person although I felt anything but. I could not share much with friends because it was not my story to tell. But I knew, God knew. I knew He saw me. I knew He was holding me. And when I came to the end of myself over and over again, I felt Him lift me up and care for me.
The autumn held a surprise I never could have authored. I was uncertain I should proceed where God seemed to lead me. Every time I prayed, I ended with, “Lord, close this door if I should not walk through it.”
You see, I thought I knew what those months should hold. This autumn, after years and years of serving my family full-time, I would finally pursue my passion. I knew God would hear me and of course, slam that other door shut! I also knew I was in a desperate place where I needed God to intervene in a mighty way and I told myself to trust Him.
Instead, He swung that other door wide open. I was instantly thrown into a career move I could not have authored myself. Yet, He knew the plans He has for me and He knew it was exactly what I needed.
As autumn leaves swirled around my frenzied feet and I adjusted to a new chapter of life that was way-too-busy, I had, for the first time in months, to smile. I realized that although I never would have pursued this opportunity on my own, I really relished most moments of my days.
Driving daily in the dark to work, I would blare the radio station singing praises to God and found myself humming those very songs throughout my day. His light shown in my life. The more I focused on Him and the work He gave me to do, the less I focused on the fear and darkness shrouding my heart. As the days grew shorter my tears fell less and my joy returned.
The situation which captivated my heart was not fully resolved but was slowly improving. It was not my story to write and aside from prayer not much I could do. I learned to fix my eyes on Jesus, and not set them on the sad situation. I learned to be happy despite what this world might throw at me. I learned to enjoy serving in a capacity I would never have foreseen. I learned as the storms swirled around me I could still hold onto hope. Hope in a future held by Jesus.
Hanging Christmas ornaments on a lovely little tree, I stop and reflect on this year. My eyes reflect back at me in a glass ball. Eyes that hold a glimmer of hope, full of expectation for a miracle this Christmas. Maybe the miracle will be complete, instant healing.
Maybe, the miracle is in my heart. God teaching me yet again, that He is indeed King of this world. All things are in His hands.
I can trust Him. Period.
Dear Jesus, You know the bizarre, heart-wrenching year our family has experienced. You also knew it would happen before we lived it. You planned ahead just how you would carry us through.
Dear Jesus, if I were to have the awesome opportunity to meet you face-to-face this Christmas, how could I thank you?
Would I stare in awed wonder and be struck silent? Would I sing praises and dance before you? My heart whispers the response: Dear Jesus, Thank you! Thank you for loving me! Thank you for protecting me!
Thank you for carrying me through when I thought I could move no more. Thank you for giving me sweet sleep as I fell into bed in tears.
Thank you for the gift of close, caring friends who You used to sustain me and make me smile.
Thank you for a place where I could go to serve You by serving others.
Thank you for caring for people more than I ever could, no matter how much I love them.
Thank you for taking my soul’s fears and soothing them as only you could. Thank you for that peace which passes understanding.
Thank you for your trustworthiness.
Thank you for your great love.
Thank you for coming to earth. Thank you for your birth and your sacrificial death. You came not only to give the gift of eternal life, but also to give abundant life to our days, our hours and our moments. You came to breath hope into whatever we are experiencing at any particular moment in time.
Jesus, without my soul knowing you, I am certain I never would have made it through this year.