Christmas Is God's Extraordinary Opportunity to Work in a Mighty Way
Christmas was bleak when I was fourteen years old. My father had fallen off the roof of a barn while trying to make a repair and ended up severely injured. His hospital and home recovery took months. As a coal mining family we lived financially tight even in the best of times although farming and gardening often got us over the hump. With no paycheck coming into our household for several months I have no clue how my mother and father kept the lights in the house burning. My mother worked only briefly outside of the home and it wasn't during this critical time.
Christmas came and my father was recuperating but still on crutches. We had a Christmas tree but there weren't any packages... I understood. I didn't even think about Christmas gifts or packages or even of a Santa coming around. I knew it was not the best of times. We did have food and the furnace was on and the fact that my dad was getting well gave us all a sense of optimism that things eventually would return to normal.
On Christmas Eve my mother surprised me by handing me a tiny package. "Thank you," came from my lips but I know I mumbled in disbelief. Ripping off the paper I beheld a watch. It was my one and only gift that Christmas. It was a simple gift but it was thrilling to me at that time and I knew it came with sacrifice and love. I remember the blessing.
A year later I would celebrate Christmas as a new Christian and even share in my church family's Christmas program. Two other teenagers and I sang "We Three Kings of orient are bearing gifts we've traveled afar." We walked down the aisle of our church in bathrobes and weird king looking crowns as we approached Mary and Joseph and the Christ-child in the manger. It was all so simple but filled the greatest need of my heart. I remember that Christmas program. I r ...
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