Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas is Calling

     I was an eight-year-old girl sitting in the side pew of the First Baptist Church of Opp, Alabama, that October evening. It was fall revival week and my precious grandparents who loved the church and never missed an opportunity to serve others had taken me each night to the services. That particular evening, my grandmother had slipped out early to help prepare the refreshments that would later be served in the Fellowship Hall. And so it was that I was sitting there all alone. I don't remember the message, I only know that when the choir began to sing the oft repeated revival hymn, "Just As I Am,"  I found myself growing more uncomfortable by the minute. Suddenly my place in the pew no longer felt safe. I looked at the aisle of the church and wondered if I had the courage to get up out of my seat and walk the distance to the preacher standing there waiting at the end of the aisle. As I listened to the words of the chorus, my heart was beating so hard it felt as though it was about to come out of my chest. The wooden pew beneath my hand suddenly felt warm and then hot. I could sit no longer. I don't remember the walk down the aisle, the words the pastor spoke to me as he hugged me hard or the reactions of anyone else. I only remember the words to the song and the fact that from that day to this day 47 years later, I have been different. It was October on the calendar, but it was Christmas for me.
     Emmanuel, God is with us, Emmanuel, God is with me. I wish that I could tell you that I have never wavered, never doubted, never kicked out at God and screamed at Him in frustration, fear, panic, or pain. I wish that in these 47 years I had not been indifferent or apathetic or selfish or just plain mean. I wish that I had loved Him more and myself and things less. I wish a thousand different things about my walk with the One who called me out of the pew that night. But there is one thing I would never change. That night I began to know what it was to be a member of His family, to be His daughter and His beloved.  The Lamb who was spotless and perfect took on the weight of my millions of sins and paid the price so that I could have Christmas.
     I still can scarcely believe it. I know that I was scared that night. My daddy was dying with brain cancer, and I somehow knew that my life would soon change in ways that I could not fathom. But that October night when I left the pew, I left the comfort of the familiar to move into the realm of the impossible....and that is where I will always and forever be. I am a sinner redeemed by the glorious grace, mercy, and love of a magnificent God. I am in His family. It will always be so. He gave me Christmas in October and for me, Christmas it will always be. Emmanuel. God with us....God with me. A truth so amazing, I struggle to take it in.....and yet, for me each day, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas is calling......


  1. Powerful..."I left the comfort of the familiar to move into the realm of the impossible". I'm going to have to start quoting you!

  2. OH, Kathy! I love that "I left the comfort of the familiar to move into the realm of the impossible." How blessed it is! Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas!

  3. I'm reading this with tears running down my face. I'm so glad God called out to you and you answered. I'm glad that this memory will one day overshadow the memory of you losing your earthly father shortly after finding and accepting your Heavenly Father!


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