Ann was sleeping soundly when she heard the phone ring. She looked over at her beside clock and saw that was only 1:10 in the morning. Groggily, she picked up the phone and answered, “H-e-l-l-o? And do you know what time it is?”
“Hi Ann! Just calling to let you know that it’s Christmas Day! Want to go to Christmas service with me at St. Paul’s? They’re going to have a beautiful service this morning. Oh, please, won’t you come?”
“Julia, it is now just 1:12 in the morning and I was deep in sleep! And besides, I told you earlier that I don’t go to church anymore; it takes up too much of my time and besides I have plans for the day..”
“I’m sorry, Ann. I shouldn’t have called you so early in the morning. It’s just that….Well, I’m so happy that it’s Christmas! I know Jesus’ birthday is not in December but the 25th of December symbolizes his birth and life. I wish you would come but I understand where you’re coming from. Just thought I would try one more time.”
“It’s O.K. Julia. I appreciate the offer but I just don’t need Christianity in my life. My Dad stopped going when he was still alive and well….I’m doing quite well without it. My life is good and the future looks even better. Take good care, dear, and enjoy the day.”
After she hung up the phone, she tried to get back to sleep but sleep would not come. Julia was a good and loyal friend but sometimes she was just too emphatic about her beliefs.
Finally after an hour of rumination and a touch of guilt, she fell asleep. But around six in the morning she woke, startled and confused, for she heard something hit against the window. She looked outside her bedroom window and saw a small package lying neatly on the snow covered lawn.
“What could it be, she thought and 'Who put it there and when?”
She quickly got dressed and rushed outside to get a better look at the package. The package was small and light. She picked it up and brought it inside.
Closing the door, she placed the package at the entrance to her living room door. It was cold outside, so it felt good to be back inside.
The package was wrapped up like a Christmas present, with red and green ribbons that surrounded a beautiful gold package. She carefully took off the ribbons and gently removed the wrapping paper.
With some anxiety and trepidation, mixed with joy and anticipation, she opened the package.
Inside, she saw something that would forever change her life and her feelings about Christianity. For inside the package she saw a large envelope with the outside words reading, “To Ann, from your Father.”
Those words startled her, for her father had been dead for several months. She quickly opened the envelope and read, “My Dear Ann, please go to church with Julia this morning. There is someone who wants to reconnect with you. Love, Dad.”
Ann never believed in the spiritual world, but this took her back.
She had some breakfast and then called Julia to say she would meet her at church. She found Julia waiting at the entrance of the old church and seconds later they walked in.
As they sat down in the pew, she noticed an older man, who looked a lot like her father. He smiled at her and the moment she met that smile and reciprocated, she felt deep inside that the message in the box had been fulfilled. Dad wanted her back in church!
During the service, she looked at the beautiful stained windows with the many figures of Christ, his disciples and his mother, Mary. She found herself praying, “Lord Jesus, I have put you aside for many years but my heart and my Dad are telling me to come back to you and so, if you’ll have me, I am yours!”
She left the church feeling joyful and renewed. She whispered, “Thanks, Dad and Thank you, Jesus!”
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