Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)
TITLE: A Christmas Hug from Jesus
By Corinne Boback
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My traumatic divorce was final in August, ending ten years of marriage. This would be my first Christmas without my husband, and the depression during the holiday season was as fierce as today’s snow storm. I dreaded being alone with just my seven-year-old daughter this Christmas Eve. I felt like a complete failure to her, to my marriage, and most importantly, to the Savior whose birth we were about to celebrate.
Kristen was safe in the neighbor’s care, anxiously awaiting my arrival home. She would be spending Christmas Eve with me and Christmas Day with her father. I was already feeling sorry for myself with this arrangement, knowing I would be without my daughter on Christmas Day for the first time since she was born.
Suddenly, my car began to swerve on the ice. I decided I better concentrate on the roads instead of my feelings. Soon, however, my mind was crowded again with my emotions. Kristen’s smiling face came before me, telling me before I left her at the neighbors how excited she was about the candlelight service at the church tonight. I tried to focus on her face full of joy, but instead found myself imagining what it was going to be like entering that service without a husband by my side this year. The tears began to flow, and the road became a blur.
Suddenly, I felt a panic wash over me. It was Christmas Eve, and I wanted Kristen and I to have a special dinner before the candlelight service. In my depressed state, my cupboards and fridge were practically bare! Now what would I make? Some special Christmas dinner this was going to be! Failure, failure, failure! I heard the word in my head, over and over, pushing my battered emotions over the edge.
Starting to slide again on the road, I pulled to the curb to try to pull myself together. Sobbing now, anger began erupting like a volcano, an anger I had pushed aside for so long. Depression is simply anger turned inward. I knew that, but would not allow myself to be angry. Until now. God cannot heal what we refuse to give to Him. I had refused to give Him my anger. It seemed easier to be a victim of depression than to hand the Lord the anger that kept the depression in place. Today my breaking point had come. I let the anger out of me, and put it into God’s hands. Finally spent, I leaned against the steering wheel.
In that moment of sweet release, I quietly asked the Lord for a special hug from someone on this Christmas Eve, so that I need not feel alone. I was about to drive off. Suddenly, I felt huge, strong arms encircling me. Shutting the car off, I relaxed and leaned against those waiting arms. I felt the breath of God on my neck! I heard Him whisper my name, and call me His bride! Jesus Christ had come to give me the hug I longed for! I was His bride, and He would never leave me. He allowed me to feel His arms of love, bringing renewed hope to my weary soul.
With a newfound joy filling my heart, I arrived home. Our Christmas Eve dinner would be grilled cheese sandwiches and hot tomato soup! My Bridegroom would be joining us for dinner, and for the candlelight service! He would have His arms of love around me as I sang about His birth.
That Christmas Eve hug happened twenty years ago. It is the gift that keeps on giving, moment by moment, day by day, year after year. For His love is the greatest gift of all!
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