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Christmas is in the air – the gift of Jesus Christ to save the world is the reason for the season. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, family gatherings, laughter, and good food are commonplace. These are the basic ingredients that impress memories onto our hearts of minds; memories that can last a lifetime.
Have you ever had a time in your life when instinctively you felt transformed back in time such as a deja vu experience? This Christmas Eve, thoughts and feelings are remembered. “Wow! It is like our family regressed to Christmases past…only those memories are not so pleasant” softly whispered from my lips. My husband was driving the car and listened with empathy: he knows how hurtful my sisters have been to me in the past. However, when mom died in May 2000, the bones in our fractured family began fusing back together. The spirit of family was being reborn.
“What is with those two? I did not do anything wrong, and their accusations really hurt.” Anger was building within and the caustic feelings from the past resurfaced. My voice grew stronger as I vented about the injustices against me. “Why would they ruin Christmas, again?” The catalog file, in my photographic mind, quickly flips to similar family memories which only fueled my hurts into a raging bonfire. Not exactly the types of feelings one would expect at Christmas.
Upon waking Christmas morning I tried to make sense of what happened but it was no use. My heart was broken and the hurts weighed down the joy of this holy day. My original plan for the early hours was to write a beautiful love letter to Jesus and thank him for being born. Sadly though all my heart and pen could focus on were the painful feelings that were now twelve hours old. I poured my heart out to Jesus, although not in the way intended: I was looking to comfort my sorrows by his grace. Then the word “forgiveness” inked itself onto the paper.
“Forgive them God? Why? They hurt me.” My insides felt like a rabid dog had taken hold of my heart, was clenching it within its tight jaw, and thrashing his ahead back and forth. Yes my pain was real. Yes they hurt my feelings. My heart aches because of what progress our family made in the past five years in a split second was all but dead. But did it matter to them? No!
Christmas is often associated with gifts because of those given by the magi to the baby Jesus: gold because he is King of the Jews; frankincense to honor his priestly mission; and myrrh for sacrifices yet to be made. On this day God was asking me to give myself a gift: peace of heart and mind. God gently reminded that to give myself the gift of forgiveness was for my own sanity. For giving me the ability to forgive their actions and behaviors does not condone how they verbally attacked me. For giving myself peace of mind through the power of forgiveness I can lay down the fire breathing within my broken spirit in spite of the wrongs done to me and be made new.
I thought back to my original intent for this Christmas morning; writing a love letter to Jesus, and although my words were not eloquent or too loving they were from my heart. By the power of Christ himself, he gave me a special gift on this day – a love letter reminding me about the healing graces when I forgive. Happy birthday Jesus! Thank you for this lovely gift.
(c)2006 Judy Sauer
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