One cold, dark December night far from Christmas morn, I was blessed with an unexpected Christmas Gift from God. I was driving my Mustang listening to Christmas music, when one particular long-standing carol caught my attention. The notes of the melody filled the sky-blue muscle car and transformed my Mustang into an old peach-colored pickup truck back in the middle 1980’s. The musical chords reversed my 40 year old body to a pre-teen riding with my dad under a blanket of twinkling stars.
“O Holy Night” was playing out of the elder truck’s speakers with the strength of a King and the tenderness of a lamb. My dad and I shared a special moment together as we lifted our voices to the Heavens that cold, dark December night. I do not remember anything else that was said, but what I do know is that our hearts as father and daughter made a special connection. Our souls spoke to one another confirming what we just sang and what we believed in our hearts to be true — Jesus is our King and Jesus is our Redeemer.
As I came back to reality and was sitting at a traffic light in my Mustang instead of a truck with ‘80s hair and braces, I was first stunned by the thought that my dad has missed and will miss so many Christmases. Then the coin flipped over and I was reminded that he made many poor choices in his life. His poor choices brought him an early death due to choosing alcohol.
I shook the memory out of my head and refocused on this gift that sat on the passenger’s seat beside me. The unexpected Christmas gift glistened with its big floppy bow and shiny paper. I was eager to unwrap it and find out what was in it. I pulled on the bright gold bow and the ribbon fell all around the box in curls. Looking for finger holes in the wrapping, I began pealing the red paper off.
When I looked inside the box, I stared first at its contents. Then I slowly smiled and nodded my head in agreement at what I saw inside. The contents of the box in the seat next to me was amazing. I saw a brown wooden cross and a spotless white robe.
The trip down memory lane with my father and the Christmas song we heard that night so long ago was no coincidence. I had just turned 40 and I was having a difficult time turning the page of the calendar to another decade older. At this time in my life, I felt like a lot of time, spiritual gifts and resources had been wasted. I saw myself as someone who has been making poor choices herself.
As I looked over at the unexpected gift, I was reminded that I am forgiven because I accepted Jesus and loved, just like my dad, just like you. I can get very judgmental of myself sometimes and I end up before Amy’s firing squad. That is not how God wants us to be like. Remember “O Holy Night”? The theme of redemption is woven throughout the stanzas.
I love how God knows just what we need to gently pull us back in to Him. Now, when I hear “O Holy Night”, I will be reminded of God’s love and sacrifice. I will put down my microscope on myself and bask in His Love.