Christmas Stories: Day 2
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Christmas-tide… the season of joy and hope and light. Four years ago, I entered the holiday whirl in a hopeless fog of depression. My dream and driving passion had been crushed over the summer and I was crushed with them, lost and with no idea what direction I should go next.
In that state, a new friend from the church I’d recently started attending gave me a ride to their annual Tacky Christmas Sweater Party. The obnoxiously large pompoms that adorned the noses of the reindeer on my sweater reflected the opposite of my mood as I jingled with every bump in the road. We were welcomed into a festively decorated room filled with people I barely knew and my ride, whose arms were filled with goodies, disappeared into the sea of people surrounding the snack table. I spoke to the few people I did know, met a few more, and took note of one tall attendee who had boldly paired a pink sweater vest with his blue button-up shirt.
The evening dragged on and I was among the last to leave, since my ride was helping clean up. At a loss as to how to help and sniffling wearily through a nose as red as Rudolph’s due to the cold I was recovering from, I found an out-of-the-way pillar to lean against and stood, eyes closed, listening to someone strum a guitar. From nearby, I heard a voice say, “Sure is chilly in here.” I opened my eyes to see Mr Pink Sweater, his sweater laid aside. He wasn’t facing my direction – his comment had been directed at the empty air in front of him, but I heard, as though from someone else’s mouth and in a tone positively dripping with sarcasm, “You could always put your lovely pink sweater back on.” He turned toward me (Oh. My. Gosh. He heard me.) and instead of being offended, extended a hand in greeting. “I’m Adam.”
As we exchanged introductions and small talk, a deeper voice spoke life into my shattered soul. After a lifetime of trying desperately to be Good Enough on my own, Love and Grace whispered their truth and light shot through my darkness – not just the flicker of friendship, but a brilliant glory that illuminated every corner of my heart. Hope that everything would be ok, not because of a change of circumstance, but because my dreams were held safe in nail-pierced hands, overwhelmed me. Human attraction served as a metaphor to finally open my eyes to an unconditional Love that was willing to die for me, even and especially when I was least loveable.
Adam and I were married before the next Christmas came and his presence in my life serves as a continual reminder of grace and love. And each year amid the festivities surrounding the birth of God-with-us, the memory of my own rebirth gives me yet another reason to celebrate.
Sarah Jo Burch lives in the South and is rediscovering her sense of adventure with her handsome and hardworking husband and inquisitive daughter, and blogs (usually over a cup of tea) about faith, the everyday life of a wife and mum, loving her neighbors, gratitude, and knitting – with pictures between. You’ll find her at Paper-Bark Burch, posting between dishes and rescuing a Small Person who just learned to climb.