It has been quite a long time since Christmas came into my life. Jesus was born in my heart the day I received my confirmation at the age of 11. Since then He has never left me, nor forsaken me. No matter how far away I tried to run He was there. Jesus walked with me never giving up on my sinful nature that battled with Him over control of my life. Even today He is with me.
This is my story of Christmas. I was raised in the Catholic Church. My Mom was a strong Catholic and my Dad was a non-church goer, yet he encouraged and supported my Mom as she raised us all in the church. I attended Catholic school until Mom and Dad could no longer afford the tuition. Thus I was immersed in the theology and tradition of the church throughout my day until I was 15.
God, Himself, brought me to believe in Him. The teaching I received from the Catholic Church was mostly concerned with sin, being good, and working hard to make it into heaven. As a child I was very afraid of hell and wanted desperately to go to heaven and to please God. My heroes were the saints I read about and told to be like. To me they seemed to know God in a real way and I became very hungry for that in my life!
As I walked forward to be confirmed in the church, I prayed in my heart telling God that I wanted to be a saint and to go to heaven when I died, but I knew I wasn't good enough. I asked Him to change me. He did. Though the Catholic Church never taught me that Jesus would come live inside me outside of a communion experience, I knew that Jesus came to live in my heart for good! Somehow I knew He wasn't going to leave me! Though I had been taught that Jesus would take me to heaven only if I was good enough I knew that my home was in heaven because I believed! Though I had never been taught to study the bible, I wanted to read it for myself. That was my Christmas Day! That was the day that God came to be with me. He was my Emmanuel!
And so, I come to this Christmas Day 2010. God is still with me. God has entered into His creation and has changed it and continues to change me to be more like Him. He saved me. God is still my Emmanuel!
Emmanuel, God with us, You are my Christmas! Thank You for speaking to me and teaching me Your word. I love Christmas, not just the Christmas of family and friends, nor just the Christmas story of long ago. I love the Christmas You make in my life every day! Touch those around me that do not have Christmas. Let them see Your heavenly star shine over the lowest of places here on earth. Let them hear angels sing Your praises in the darkest hour of the night. Let them be filled with faith, hope and eternal love!