Elizabeth was lying on a small bed, the cold floor and the bars of her cell reminding her of the coldness of her heart. It was Christmas Eve again. She hated this time of year because the hunger and the pain she felt deep within always increased on Christmas Eve.
She ached for the sweet prick of a needle to again experience the overwhelming peace that accompanied the drugs as they streamed through her bloodstream. Nothing else could take away her emptiness and pain. Where had this hunger and emptiness come from? In a soft voice, barely above a whisper, she cried, “Lord, please help me”
Immediately the battle raged in her mind. ”What’s wrong with me? I know there is no God.” She thought for sure that long ago, on another Christmas Eve, she had settled this issue in her mind forever. Still, like then, the memories would not let her rest. She tossed and turned on her cot, thinking, she desperately needed to get some sleep, but the combatant thoughts were winning.
It had been twenty-five years today. Why couldn’t she get through one Christmas Eve with out thinking of that day? She was only ten years old when there was a Christmas Eve party at the small church where her parents served as pastors. Driving to the party that windy night, they sang Christmas carols and clapped as happy memories were made, even Jacob her six-month-old baby brother joined in the clapping.
The church was in sight, when suddenly out of nowhere a car raced towards them traveling at a very high speed. She was conscious of Jacob’s frightened cries, as her mother’s screams pierced her ears. The car slid with the sound of crunching heavy metal, as darkness enveloped her.
Blinking her eyes, as she tried to adjust to the bright lights in the emergency room. Where was she? Not quite awake she could hear voices whispering. “They say it was a drunk driver, and just think of it, he only received a few scratches. He’s been taken to jail. Her Mom and Dad were pastors. It’s so sad that these children are left alone. Thank God a Christian couple has agreed to adopt the baby.
Regaining complete consciousness, her screams filled the room. “Mama, Daddy, Jacob!” A needle pricked her arm and there was wonderful peace.
Abruptly, her cellmate, Mary, violently shook her from her deep thoughts. “Hurry you promised to attend the Christmas Chapel service with me.”
Mary dragged her right to the front row in chapel, which was the last place she wanted to be! Chattering on and on, Mary spoke about this young minister, who was going to give his personal testimony. The title of his message, How I Became a Christmas Gift.”
As the young man stepped up to the platform to speak, Elizabeth was captured by something in his eyes. What was it? In total shock she realized his eyes were just like her Dad’s and that beautiful smile on his face was exactly the same as her mother’s smile. She sat frozen, unable to move. “This is too much!” She thought, I’ll never make it through this day!”
The young man began to speak, “Hello, my name is Jacob and I want to tell you how I became a Christmas gift. On Christmas day, twenty five years ago today I was adopted by two wonderful Christian folks.”
Elizabeth began to shake, with sobs raking her body, as Jacob continued his message. For her, time stood still, but Jacob was silently praying for this young lady, whom he could tell she was filled with pain. As he reached the conclusion of his story, Elizabeth through her sobs heard him say, “I have a sister out there somewhere. I have been searching for her for many years. With all the uncertainty of not knowing where she was, I prayed that she found a good home and became someone’s Christmas gift.”
That was it! That was all she could take! As she fell sobbing at Jacob’s feet, she cried’ “Jesus, Jesus forgives me. You are real. Thank you; Lord, for this wonderful Christmas gift. She felt the coldness and hunger of all those years fall away as the peace in her heart returned. Singing, “Joy to the World, the Lord Is come”, the battle for her soul was won.
On Eagles Wings Prison Ministry