The next morning, it took Fred awhile to remember where he was.
[This short story begins here]
When he looked around and remembered, he wasn’t sure just how much of what had happened had been a dream. Trying to get a better grip, he got up and splashed cold water on his face from the basin in the corner. He quietly made his way down the stairs, thinking, “I’ll just leave a note of thanks and some money.” But Papa was just setting out a big breakfast of scrambled eggs and called him into the kitchen.
As they ate together, Papa said, “You are probably a bit confused just now about what has happened to you. It’s all right; don’t worry. That is the way it feels to most people when they come here. They wake up with a lot of questions, wondering if they have been dreaming or something. That is why I gave you the book. You are going to find a lot of answers in there. You will be amazed at how, the more you learn, the more questions you will have and the more you will want to know. Just keep that book handy. Gradually, you’ll begin to get the hang of it.”
“What happened to me?” Fred asked.
“You had your heart fixed; you came to Life – real Life. That empty place in your heart has been filled with life and light. Jesus has come to live in your heart. You don’t have to protect yourself from being hurt anymore, you don’t have to be afraid to love and be loved. You don’t need to worry about being vulnerable. Now that He is alive in you, you will never be alone. You have been given a new kind of life and power – a new kind of light. It takes some getting used to, but as you will see, everything will be different. Oh, your car is still broken. It’s still cold and snowy outside. Your wife and kids are still gone. None of that has changed. Perhaps some of that will get fixed, in time – who knows? But you will discover as you leave here and go back out to your car, you will experience all these things with new peace, new power. But don’t worry: Trust Him, like He said. And, oh, by the way, let me be the first to say it to you: Merry Christmas!”
About an hour later, as Fred climbed up into the cab of the tow truck, he noticed how the snow, which had looked so menacing last night, now seemed to sparkle with beauty. The driver looked over at Fred, jammed the truck into gear, and growled, “Bummer to be stuck on Christmas, eh?”
Fred just smiled and said, “You know, the most amazing thing happened to me last night…”
The name of that story is, Christmas Lights. There are many kinds of light that we experience at Christmas.
- There are Christmas lights on houses, for example. Some only see those lights from a distance, but others go over to get closer. The Wise Men did that.
- Then there is the light that is an invitation, spilling out from God’s front door. Some see that light and walk on by, feeling a bit wistful but not going in. Others kick the snow off their boots, go in and accept a hot mug of cider and a seat by the fire. Mary did that.
- Some are content to just sit in the glow of the firelight, and the lights on a Christmas tree – but others see a gift with their name written on it. As they open the gift to see what it is, they discover that the gift is Jesus, who offers to heal the wounds, take away the twistedness and sin, and light a lamp of life in the darkness in their heart. Some say, “No thanks, I can do this by myself.” But others trust Him and receive the gift. Lots of times they wake up the next day, a bit bewildered. With amazement, they begin to learn what has happened, and how Jesus died to make it possible. They have heard these things before but now they begin to understand. It is like the dawning light of a new day – the thrill of watching the sunrise on Christmas morning – as they begin to see how it all fits together.
Of all the different kinds of Christmas light, that one is the absolute best. It is the light that Jesus lights in a heart that never goes out, the light of true life. Jesus said it like this: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
“Yet in the dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.”
Merry Christmas! May you be blessed in 2017!