by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson
The first Christmas I spent away from my family was also my first Christmas of walking with the Lord. Having grown up in the deep south, my assignment to Boston after college couldn’t have been more exotic if I’d been sent to Mars.
I arrived in early October. The beauty of the colored leaves intoxicated me. The quaint town of Needham, with its mixture of Victorian houses and small clapboard homes, held storybook charm. The locals’ accents fascinated me. One student, named Barbara O’Conner, introduced herself as “Barba-er O’Conna.”
The ministry team I joined was made up of seven young single men and women. We quickly became fast friends.
I’d planned to return home for Christmas. But our national director had other plans. He asked everyone to remain on assignment to prepare for the conference that would begin the day after Christmas.
The Lord had prepared my heart for this change in plans. I was excited to experience a New England Christmas. Since Boston winters were much colder than Savannah winters, I wanted the perks of a northern Christmas. I asked the Lord for a white Christmas.
The Boston natives groaned at my desire. “We don’t want to travel in snow,” they said. No problem; I asked the Lord to let my friends get safely on their way, and then bring snow.
Christmas Eve arrived, and there was no sign of snow. The guys on our team came over to our house, and we talked and laughed late into the night. At 2 a.m. I climbed into bed. There was still no sign of snow.
Christmas morning my housemate Candi padded into my bedroom and wished me a Merry Christmas. “You want to see our white Christmas?” I joked.
I pulled the shade and gasped. Six inches of marshmallow cream glistened in the morning sun—a living Christmas card.
We squealed in delight and rushed to dress. The guys showed up with sleds, and we romped like kids.
I baked my first turkey that Christmas. A widow joined us for dinner. In the evening we gathered in our small living room and thanked God for His Christmas gift of Jesus and for His forever family.
Instead of feeling homesick being hundreds of miles away from friends and family, I felt full and loved. God had not only granted the desires of my heart, He’d protected my friends’ travel.
Perhaps not having expectations for that year freed me to recognize and enjoy the treasures that matter most. And God granting me a perfect white Christmas reminded me that He knows and cares about our heart’s desires.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32 NIV
About the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog. debbieWwilson.com
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