Whittington: We got the greatest Christmas gift of all

By Debra Whittington

 

Religion Columnist

Christmas isn’t the same this year. I went to only one Christmas party, have written no Christmas cards, intend on doing no baking this year, and have watched few Christmas movies this year. I forced myself to decorate and now that it is done, I am glad I did it. Still, Christmas will never be the same again. Mom went home to heaven on Easter morning and now it will be just Mark and I on Christmas morning.

Christmas isn’t the same this year. More than ever I realizethat it isn’t the stuff that makes Christmas, but the WHO of Christmas. This was so evident when I attended the Christmas cantata last Sunday at First Baptist Church. “Joy, unspeakable joy”, the choir sang out. I felt like crying out loud because I finally got it. The unspeakable joy is the Savior of the world who came to earth on our behalf, not because we deserved it, but because of joy and love of the Father. In 1 Peter 1:8 we read, “Whom having not seen, ye love, in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”. It is the joythat doesn’t depend on circumstances, it is the joy that comes from deep within through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I had my moments of deep despair as I not only miss my precious Mom, but also other members of my family that are in heaven. For example, even after almost 49 years, I miss my Grandpa, especially at Christmas. I remember how he was always in the living room waiting for my brother and I to get up on Christmas morning. It wasn’t until years later that I learned he got up at 3 a.m. on Christmas morning and after a cup or two of coffee, he and Grandma would head to our house. Luckily, we lived in the same town. Waiting for us to get up, he had another cup or two of coffee as they visited with my parents and waited for us. I think he was almost as excited as we were. To me, that is true love because Grandpa, Grandma, and my parents were willing to do that for us.
Still, isn’t it the great, unspeakable joy of Jesus who didn’t sacrifice sleep, but His life for us that shows pure love.

Christmas isn’t the same this year. Earlier in the year, I prayed that if it was God’s will, that a little girl would come into our lives. Throughout our marriage we were blessed by friends who shared their children with us. Their sacrifice allowed me to have someone to have tea parties with, bake cookies, make crafts, and spend time together. All of these children are grown now and I was missing the joy of having a little girl in my life.

God answered this prayer in an unusual way. There was a little girl at church who spent a great deal of time watching the adults in the church. One day, her mother came to us and said she decided Mark and I were
going to be her new grandparents. I was to be “Grams” and Mark would be “Pops.” She has such a loving heart and wisdom beyond her years. We are still getting to know each other at church, but I look forward to spending more time together. She made us
Christmas wreaths and told Pops that his wasn’t “girly.” The fact she made them makes me treasure them that much more as do the presents from the other children over the years.

Christmas isn’t the same this year and that is all right with me. God in His infinite wisdom guides me through this first Christmas without any of my immediate family members to share it. Most of all, He reminds me that I already received the ultimate Christmas present that can’t be topped. “For God so loved the world that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting
life.” (John 3:16) If that doesn’t cause you to experience that unspeakable joy, ask Jesus into your heart today and experience the greatest gift of all for yourself.
Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:
dawhittington@msn.com

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