Luke 2:13 – Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.
As a child growing up in a godless household, with a single mother trying to raise six children, including four adult male alcoholics, I dreaded Christmas. Not for me was the anticipation of presents under the tree, nor the feeling of being safe, loved, or cherished. This dread and, at times, hate toward this time called Christmas, stayed with me well into my late 30s.
Then a Christian man entered my life and, four years later, we married. By then, however, I was so scarred from my life's experiences that trust was only a word in the dictionary. In March 1988, I was on my way home to commit suicide when Jesus intervened to save me. My past life of bitterness, rage, rejection, hate, anger, and a multitude of unresolved issues became a quest to know this Jesus who had, for reasons unknown to me, decided I was worth saving.
Ten Christmases have passed since that day in March 1988, and so has my old life. Now the Christmas season is one of peace, joy, and wonder at how God sent his Son in the human form of a baby – not an excuse to get drunk and fight. I've also come to realize that his peace that is now in my home and life is the Greatest Gift of all.
Prayer: In the Old Testament you promised to be the God who will heal us (Exodus 15:26). Thank you, Father, for never giving up on us as we chip away at our old self. Thank you for sending Jesus, who loves us no matter what, and who teaches us to do the same for ourselves. Amen.