I’ve always enjoyed Christmas Eve- sometimes more than Christmas Day itself! Being the last-minute person that I am, I am usually up late wrapping presents! Christmas Eve is a happy day for me- full of anticipation for the next day and peace over the fact that all my shopping is done! But, there is another reason that Christmas Eve will forever be special to me. Back in 1994 my family was in Iowa at my grandparent’s house. Surprisingly, Christmas was on a Sunday that year like it is this year! That year I had just turned 8. All of us kids, my siblings and cousins, had been sent to bed before the adults. I remember laying in the makeshift bed on the floor and unable to sleep- thinking and wondering. I guess that was the moment. When all that had been taught to me about Jesus and Heaven and eternity was finally starting to make sense! A Sunday School teacher had questioned the class I was in a week before and asked those who knew they were going to Heaven to raise their hand. I knew everyone else was, so I raised my hand. But that night in Iowa, I knew I had lied and I knew that I didn’t know for sure if I was going to Heaven or not. It bothered me enough that I went and found my mother. I don’t know what I told her, but she understood and took me into the sunroom where we talked in private about Jesus and how He saved me from my sin by taking it on Himself when He died on a cross. How He proved He was the Son of God by rising from the dead and how God simply desired me- a simple child- to tell Him that I believed it was true and that I knew I couldn’t save myself from my sin. That night, close to the Christmas tree I got on my knees and trusted in Christ alone to save me from my sin. That night, the Holy Spirit came into my life. That night, though I did not know it then, my life was changed! That night, in the house my mother grew up in, I found my Heavenly Father! This is why Christmas Eve is so special to me!
Tonight I attended a Christmas Eve service and was so touched by the music and truth from God’s Word. They took the passage John 3:16 and talked and sang about it piece by piece. The very same passage my mother shared with me 22 years ago! As we sang of the angels bringing glory to God and the hope that the world will join in those praises, I see it! Maybe not the whole world- at least not this world- but I can see a people who have heard and understood and can finally praise the God who created them! I can see a hope for every nation because God has made a way for them to come! And I see my little nephew, innocently looking at me, and I know that one day he too will come to know the Jesus who we sing about! I think of the house in Iowa and hope that one day another child will find the joy of Christ within its walls! And, within the brokenness and strain of my little world I am reminded of joy and God’s faithfulness! Jesus wasn’t born into perfect circumstances and neither are we. So, tonight I am thankful! Thankful for His grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness extended to a young girl so long ago. Lord, help me cherish every aspect of those truths and remain faithful! Merry Christmas!