Holly T. Ashley

Oh did I type that outloud?

I just want to enjoy the Christmas season…

“I just want to enjoy the Christmas season,” I said.

““See some lights, go to some parties, cook some great, fattening food, and celebrate Jesus,” I complained.

But it seemed as if each week that passed in December was flying by like one very long, never-ending day…

I was visiting the hospital, making a million phone calls, then waiting for someone – anyone to call me back before I had to head to the bank, then rehab facility, but not before heading to the house… again…  to get things she might need – in between searching for an Assisted living facility and finding a way to pay for it while we got her house ready to sell…

Each week that passed I thought, “surely, we are almost there…”

Yet today, the day of the move in, plans were thwarted yet again.

After I skipped (yet another) day working on my experiment for my final project at school because I had to meet the movers and set her up in her new “apartment.”

“Ugh! Really!!” I thought…

Only a few days left before Christmas and I haven’t even made fudge… let alone dinner –

In a month.

As I made my requests known to God, I pleaded… “I just want to enjoy a little of the Christmas spirit, father…”

He answered, “Oh, but you are.”

As I pondered this thought,  my mind went to Mary and Joseph and their mandatory trek while she was very, very pregnant (Luke 2:4-5).

Through traversing the mountain of things that had to be done to ensure the health and safety of my Aunt – not to mention trying to help preserve the emotional state of my poor mother, who lives thousands of miles away… It dawned on me:

Surely being berated and beaten-down by the children of my Aunt who haven’t so much as stopped in to visit her – is certainly less taxing than the humiliation of a pregnant girlfriend…

I realized that traveling hundreds of miles on a donkey while being very pregnant must have been harder than the 44 miles I drive each way to and from my aunt’s side of town…

Although I have been dead-beat tired and drained at the end of each and every day –

being forced to give birth in a barn, was surely more difficult.

After going through boxes and boxes of time-worn things trying to decipher “value” and coming home needing nothing but a hot shower…

– lying a newborn child in a filthy, dirty animal’s trough after hours of labor and travel must have been heart-wrenching… and mentally exhausting!

But the value of that child was truly the greatest gift of all. The fact that He would grow up, only to be beaten beyond recognition and then hung on a tree for my sin – my worthless, complaining, wretched sinful self –

How could I be so blind?

To miss such a blessed event!

But then that glimmer of the hope of the season – delivered by the very Truth that came that day in Bethlehem…

This past month has been the greatest, most blessed, and truest celebration of Christmas yet.

Having not spoken to my own mother for the past six years has now become the fulfillment of God’s restoration of “all the locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).

The unexpected treasure found in being part of the blessing has been enormous. The fact that I have been witness to the glory of God and the strength of His spirit has revealed more about Him then I could have ever imagined.

The opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus has been widened like a floodgate and the response has been beautiful to watch as God touches the hearts of my friends and family some close at hand… others, from years gone by.

The things I thought I had “put on hold,” have miraculously taken care of themselves – with the help of God’s chosen, beloved people He has sent my way.

Even postponed fundraisers during the busiest season of the year – were met with unexpected checks in the mail and the kind donations of supporters.

How blessed am I to be part of such a beautiful Christmas! Praise the Lord.

So, as you celebrate the beauty of the lights, the Christmas pageants, the parties, friends, and family – remember that the greatest gift demonstrated on that day was the gift of a child, who would grow to be the Man who would give his life for you…

Then, find someone to give part of your life to.

I promise it will be the best Christmas you will ever experience.

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