The gift of Christmas. I love this time of year. I love to go to church and sing Christmas songs. I love to be reminded of what Christmas really is; the birth of Jesus. It can be so easy to get caught up in the busyness of this season. But my heart feels right when I'm worshiping with other believers.
This Sunday was no different. But what was so special about this church service was ...the stories.
I love to hear people's stories.
My pastor asked people from our congregation to share their stories. It was filmed so we could all watch and listen to their voices.
One young woman shared how she had a plan for her life and was intent on working her plan. But then she listened to the soft whispers in her heart as she realized that wasn't really God's plan for her.
A father and son shared how they both got caught up in addiction to alcohol. It wasn't until the son was in jail in Phoenix's tent city that he prayed and asked God for help.
A couple were hopeless as they wanted to have a child. Their story involved a family boy who was taken into child protective services. Would they adopt this one who needed a home?
Another couple lost their jobs with the overturn in the economy. With two little children they traveled with the name of a friend of a friend as the only one they knew in Phoenix.
Another young man shared how he was homeless living in his car. He attempted to hide this secret each day as he went to work.
Towards the end of the service, the people who shared their stories in the video came forward and stood behind huge gifts that were labeled: Alcoholic, Homeless, Hopeless, Fearful, Stubborn. Then they opened up the gifts and held up the signs: Addiction-free, Belonging, Joyful, Secure, and Surrendered.
It was a beautiful sight! I was so thankful that these people were willing to be transparent and share their stories. I believe it helps each one of us when we realize we're not alone. We each have our own story. I may not struggle with alcohol but I may be fearful and stubborn at times.
Are you still holding on to something or someone that you know isn't right? You may think it's too hard to change or that's just the way I am.
"For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37 (NIV)
There isn't any problem that is too hard for God. I encourage you to begin praying and asking God for help.
Christmas is a time for giving and receiving gifts. But the true gift of Christmas is ...JESUS.
Will you give him your heart?
Blessings and love,