She stared out the window of the cheap motel room. For now, it was all she could afford on her disability check after new owners threw her out of her apartment.
A flurry of snow blew sideways outside the window. She shivered. Heat struggled to escape the pipes, causing her to tug at the sweater she had retrieved from the trash bin.
The tracks she had made earlier in the snow as she walked back from the corner mart were now covered. From the pan on the hot plate arose the aroma of hot chocolate, transforming the stagnant air in the room to something a little homier.
Alone. Her husband left her for someone else. The weight of her failing relationship with her daughter punctured her heart, as if a scalpel had ripped open her flesh and spilled out her life’s blood onto the tattered and grimy carpet.
Many did not care to help, and those who did care could only help a little, while others just weren’t able to give her the financial help she needed.
Her eyes pooled with tears. Though normally upbeat and thankful in all things, she now felt just as worn out as the old sweater wrapped around her.
Christmas! Bah! Humbug! she thought. Christmas, this year, would be non-existent for her.
As she stared out the window at the lone street light on the corner, glowing in the night through the blasting snowfall, her thoughts drifted off to another time and another place. Back to a time when, as a missionary in another land, she was invited to dinner by a family living in a small, rundown hut.
The dirty carpet beneath her feet reminded her of their dirt floor; the streetlight glowing in the night reminded her of the only light in their hut, a small candle half burned away.
In her mind, she could see the kids running around the hut happily playing chase; she could hear their laughter. She also recalled the father and mother joyously praising God for all they had. She remembered their love and tenderness as they shared a meager meal with her. A slight smile began to replace her frown.
Her feelings of self-pity and discouragement felt like hot liquid draining from her heart, running down her legs and right out her toes, while grace and love spilled back into her from heaven’s lap, coursing through her veins.
Forgive me, Father, she sighed.
The meaning of Christmas flooded her soul. She imagined another cold night with a bright light, the night Mary gave birth to Jesus and a glowing star lit the way to His presence.
She remembered the Reason for the Season…Love. The Love of God. Love came down in a pink earth-suit, bringing new birth with Him.
Staring at the streetlight and the falling snow, she started to hum. As tears streamed down her face, a smile gently spread across her face and the words to the song tumbled out…
Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
Mumbling “the dawn of redeeming grace,” she lay down on the old mattress, grateful for a warm place to stay. Praying for a better tomorrow and vowing to help another less fortunate than she on Christmas day, she fell asleep.
~Depressing, huh? Not everyone will have a merry Christmas. This happens all across the world. With differing circumstances. Know anyone like this? I do. Though I’m not able to help her financially right now, I pray for her every day…many times. And I know the Lord will bless her mightily for her faith.
But Christmas is still a joyous time; no matter what is going on around us. It is a time of giving. The birth of Love. If you know the true Reason for the Season, be sure to pass on this Love to others. All. Year. Long.
That’s what Jesus came for. That’s what He died for. Love!
May there be a glowing star in your dark night to light the way to His presence, and may you have a Love-filled, Redeeming-Grace-filled, and Joy-filled Christmas!
***Hope you don’t mind a Christmas rerun from 2013.