“It’s almost Christmas. Can you believe it?” Lizzy asked me.
“Yes, only one more week,” I answered.
“You don’t sound excited.”
“I am,” I said trying to sound convincing as possible. Lizzy didn’t believe me.
Lizzy was my best friend, but there were just some things she didn’t understand about my life. She didn’t live in my house. In fact, even if I was allowed to have her over, I wouldn’t.
I’ve watched all the Christmas movies each year. They portrayed all the celebration in a way that didn’t describe my family at all. To top it off, my birthday was three days after Christmas. I hated my birthday. It reminded me of how rejected I felt by my mother and family.
You know, as far back as I can remember I kept hoping for a better Christmas, but it wasn’t. For some reason, I still hoped and was again this year.
“Hey Callie,” Lizzy said waving her hands in front of my face.
“I’m sorry. What were you saying?”
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Really. What were you saying,” I asked.
“I was wondering if you could come to church with me on Christmas Eve?”
“Oh. Well, I don’t know. I’ll have to ask.”
For the last three years Lizzy asked me to come, and my mom refused to let me. I’d ask her again, but I doubted she’d change her mind no matter how much I begged.
I don’t know why she made me stay home. We didn't do anything special. If I lived with my dad, I’m sure he’d let me go. However, I only saw him on weekends, and Christmas wasn’t on a weekend this year.
When my mom got home from work that night, all my chores were done. I thought that if I removed a reason for her to fuss at me it might increase my chances. I didn’t think she would say “yes”, but I hoped.
She seemed not only pleased with my finished chores, but with some of the extra ones I completed. I put away the breakfast dishes, set the table for dinner, and even offered to help with making dinner. I’m sure she knew I was buttering her up, but she didn’t comment about it.
After dinner, I immediately tended to the dishes without her mentioning it to me. I finished my homework and then joined my family in the living room around the television. I waited to figure out the best time to ask.
I needed to be sure there weren’t too many beers in my stepfather and just enough in my mother. My stepfather was on his third, but my mom was still on her first. I knew I needed to ask before he finished his fourth. I watched my mother and followed her into the kitchen when she went to retrieve some more beer.
I received my first miracle that Christmas at this moment. Without arguments or hesitation, my mom agreed to allow me to go to the service with Lizzy. She informed me that she had been invited to a party with friends that night, and I didn’t need to stay home.
I couldn’t believe it. Lizzy was even more excited then I was.
“We’ll pick you up at 6:30,” she told me.
Only being there two other times with Lizzy and her family, I was excited. As we entered the church that night, different people greeted us with smiles and hugs. I recognized several from my school, too.
The service began with lots of singing. I didn’t know the songs, but I noticed that they kept talking about Jesus’ birth. They were praising God, and I realized that they referred to Jesus as a king, Emmanuel, and someone they could have their hopes and fears cared for by Him.
I guess I never paid attention when I came with Lizzy before, but it was different this time. After all the singing, the pastor talked. I couldn’t believe when he said that Jesus was born to die for my sins. By the time he finished, I was crying. Lizzy asked me if I wanted to speak to him, and I did. When I finished confessing my sins and asking Jesus to be my Savior, I felt like I was free.
Nothing in my home changed that Christmas, but everything changed for me. I had received the best Christmas and birthday gift in my life. I knew that I had God with me now and forever.
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