Two Mansions

Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Silent Night Holy Night"1 (Lyrics)

1 Corinthians 2:9 – But as Scripture says: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him." (GW)

I didn't go home the Christmas when I was 19, living in a Bible school dormitory in Portland, Oregon, USA. I had a job, and I needed the money. My employer was an elderly woman in an architecturally significant mansion stuffed with expensive porcelain, like a museum. I was to dust every piece, while she followed me around, looking over my shoulder, inspecting my work, and trying to convert me to a religion that, she insisted, I would find much better than one that followed the Bible.

It was Christmas Eve, dark by the time when I finished. Putting on my jacket, I realized that she had set the clock back in order to sneak an extra half-hour of unpaid work from me. Then, she handed me a pamphlet about her beliefs, wished me "Merry Christmas", and gave me an orange. I hadn't expected any kind of Christmas gift from her. That cheered me up a bit as I went out into the rain, until I saw that she had deducted the price of the orange from my pay. Dejected, I went back to the empty 400-girl dormitory, expecting to spend Christmas Eve alone.

When I reached the dorm, there was a van idling outside. The driver was a student, a live-in caregiver for the invalid owner of the van, who had invited anyone left behind on campus to share his Christmas Eve. The van was full as we drove up a hill opposite the one that I'd just come down. We stopped at another mansion, windows ablaze with light.

Inside, an elderly man welcomed us as he sat by a cheery fireplace. Two people were carrying trays of food. A Christmas tree scraped the ceiling, and tall windows framed a view of the city below, while the decorations echoed many happy Christmases. It was like stepping into a Christmas card. We sang carols, ate home-baked treats, talked, and laughed as we shared our reasons for being away from home on Christmas Eve.

Returning to the empty dorm, I found the youth minister from my church back home, dropping off a friend. Full of the joy that I'd just come from, I hugged him happily. My unexpected warmth sparked his return interest. We began a conversation that deepened our friendship as I went home after graduation. By the following Christmas, we were engaged, and soon after, began a long and happy marriage.

When something comes along that seems to be directing life in ways that we don't understand, we simply say, God is in it. Someone once added, Just because things aren't going the way that we want doesn't mean that they aren't going the way that they should.

2 Samuel 22:31 – God's way is perfect! The promise of the Lord has proven to be true. He is a shield to all those who take refuge in him. (GW)

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we rejoice in the birth of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for all the joy that You bring to us through Him in whose name we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Rose DeShaw <>
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Love the story, Rose. Merry Christmas.

    Merry Christmas. I appreciate your writing.

    What a lovely story with a profoundly true message.

    So true and a beautiful ending, Rose! Merry Christmas!

    What a wonderful, uplifting story. Thank you for writing it!

    A lovely story. Merry Christmas.

    Dear Rose,
    Thank you for a fine, touching devotional.

    Thanks for sharing yet another lovely story about your life. Merry Christmas!

    Lovely story, Rose! I had a feeling it was yours when I started reading it. Merry Christmas!

    Thanks, Rose, for a heartwarming story full of God’s truth.
    Merry Christmas.

    Dear Rose,
    You have such wonderful stories to share. Thank you for them all.

    Thank you, Rose, for another wonderful story and message from your fascinating life. Isn’t it great how we can look back and see how God was working in our lives?

    Thank you Rose for sharing that meaningful devotional with us. Your vivid description touched my heart. Blessings as you celebrate the Birth of the Christ child.

    Rose, a beautiful story so nicely told. I enjoyed reading your piece and appreciated the theological guidance.

    Merry Christmas Rose
    Thanks for this interesting and loving devotional. It is so true, seen it happen many times.
    God bless.

    I enjoy each of your devotionals and am amazed at the life you have had and seen God’s hand in all the ups and downs and everything in between.

    Absolutely! I have told many people, and fully believe that unless and until you celebrate Jesus’ coming to earth, all the fuss of Christmas means nothing, mere window dressing. When you know Him, every day is a celebration. Rejoice in Him! Blessings.

    What a lovely story to tell us on Christmas Eve although the person you worked for was a grinch making you pay for the orange even if oranges were probably expensive why else did we only get them for Christmas. Glad you had a Happy marriage and Thank God for the Baby Jesus who did so much for all of us.

    Dear Rose,
    What an image you have painted for us today. Scrooge revisited with that distrustful and dishonest employer who sets the clock back and deducts the price of a “gift”! And the real Christmas gift embodied by that elderly gentleman who opened his house and his heart to all of you that night.
    Thank you for reminding us that all we live through, good or bad, is for a reason.

    This was what I need to hear!
    Life is not going the way I want. Although I have much to be thankful for, I can’t seem to recapture the words on a blue wrist band, “I am enough – I have enough”
    Now I know “God is in it”. I will remember “let go and let God”.
    Thanks, blessings for this season and in 2020,

    Greetings Rose,
    Thanks for writing this beautiful devotional today. What a wonderful gift the Lord provided for you that Christmas at the dorm – meeting your future husband! The Lord truly provides some unexpected and precious happenings in our lives to show His love and care and we owe Him great honour, praise and faithfulness.
    Blessings to you for a wonderful Christmas.

    Rose, thank you for such a beautiful true story. It brought a peaceful smile to my heart. God is so good. I will stop at that.

    What a lovely story. I felt from your description, that I was right there along with you as you went through each event. Really brought home the down’s and up’s that occur.

    Oh Rose,
    What a wonderful story yesterday about the two mansions.
    it is in the first place amazing how some people were treated in those days and secondly how things, with God’s guidance, work out in the long run. In 1940’s, my dad worked for a well-to-do dairy farmer. He sold my mom and dad a basket of tomatoes but he charged 25 cents deposit on the basket. Can you imagine!
    I wish you and yours a blessed Christmas and thank you for writing and you continues encouragement.

    Merry Christmas dear Rose. Wishing you all the very best in 2020, and I hope you write many more devotionals.
    Your stories are like a big warm hug. You have a way of drawing your reader in. Have you ever written a novel Rose? If so, let me know and I will buy it in a heartbeat.

    Beautifully expressed, Rose. You draw pictures with your words.

    Hi Rose,
    I was both happy and sad after reading your experience about Christmas away from home while you were a Multnomah student. It sounds as though things worked out well in the end, but those of us who were able to go home were blind and self-centered enough to not know what it was like for ones like you. This is a belated “I’m sorry!”

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