The week before Christmas a winter storm system swept through the mid-west dumping heavy snow and leaving our home without electricity for approximately 35h:25m:32s (but who’s counting?).
Talk about an inconvenience. I was really annoyed. I kept asking the question, “Why now, God? You of all people know how important this time of year is for me. Don’t you know all that I still need to do?” It turns out He did. He understood my priorities better than I did.
As the hours past and my family and I moved around a cold, dark house, oddly enough my annoyance started to wane. I was eager to make the best of our situation. We played games with the kids most of the first day. I was grateful for our gas fireplace. Somehow it still managed to ignite when we flipped the electric switch (I still haven’t figured out how that works when you don’t have electricity!). At least we had some heat if we huddled close.
But even in my gratefulness I was starting to feel anxious. I still had so much to do, to cook and bake. I had not considered we might lose electricity and my house still needed cleaning and our laundry was piled high. By Thursday night I was near the point of hopelessness and seriously considering canceling Christmas. I was overwhelmed. My son started running a fever. I knew it would be a very long, cold, and miserable night for him if we stayed in our home but I also wasn’t sure where we could go. Driving conditions were not good and frankly, even though they were projecting outage for another day or more, I was still hoping and praying for electricity so I could get on my way with Christmas preparations.
As I was praying over our situation, and my hopelessness, I felt a strong sense that I just needed to and could trust God in the entirety of the situation. If we needed to leave or stay He would provide a way. If we weren’t going to make it to celebrate an early Christmas with my family, it would be ok. And if our house or laundry did not get cleaned before our Christmas’ company arrived it would not be the end of the world. I just needed to rest in His care and not worry about tomorrow, or the next day, or the next. While the past few years I had been trying to simplify our Christmas traditions, for the first time ever, albeit I had no choice, I was able to set my “to do” list aside.
I turned on my cell phone to call my neighbor. I was curious how they were coping and frankly I wanted to commiserate with someone who would understand. To my surprise I was greeted with an optimistic voice. “I was just going to call you,” she said. Her husband who manages college housing had just called her to see if we were interested in spending the night in the dorm—it had electricity and was virtually empty. Needless to say we took them up on the offer! We slid on ice all the way across town but thankfully arrived safely to warmth, light and a hot meal!
There were so many gifts of grace God showered on me this Christmas but His greatest gift was taking us off the power grid. This enabled me to let a lot of things go. Ultimately, He redirected my focus back to the true meaning of Christmas—the celebration of God becoming flesh, a baby born in a manger over 2,000 years ago.
Having no electricity was for me a physical reminder of a life I had once lived apart from Him and He contrasted it against the backdrop of the Christmas story, the reality of His Son, The Light of the World that has come and now most certainly is the Light of my life. In my circumstance, as much as I longed for light and electric power, my desire for His Light and Power burned greater and I saw Him blazing in every direction I turned. Somehow, in my modern-day situation, the stable story became ever more real to me. That frigid night, as I sat in our fire-lit family room with our sick son I thought of Mary. Was she worried about her baby boy, born in a cold, dark and unsterile stable? Our shelter, though compromised, was much greater and yet I was certainly worried about the comfort and health of my son. In that moment I felt a connection, we both knew and trusted God would take care of our every need.
As a new year begins, I look back at this past Christmas as exceptionally special despite so many unforeseen bumps in the road. It’s unexplainable to me, but somehow our birthday celebration of the Christ-child all managed to come together more perfectly than I could have imagined. Or maybe so much of what I thought was important, the food, the gifts, the wrappings, the baked goods no longer mattered. I had a new Christmas perspective and this time it was completely centered on Christ.
As my family gathered for the Christmas Eve celebration at church my heart leaped with joy during the music and the reenactment of the Christmas story. Somehow the miraculous-ness of the incarnate Christ filled me with awe like never before. As drummers, wisemen, shepherds and dancers moved across the stage toward the baby in the manger suddenly all grew silent as they drew close. Then in one moment they all bowed their knees to the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, Immanuel. Nothing mattered but Him! In my heart I bowed too; and I wept for all that He is and all that He has done in my life. I am grateful for the incarnate Christ, the Light of the World. He has not only come, but He has given me new life.
There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.—John 1:9-13
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://blog.lifeassuranceministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/DSCN0187_2_2.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Cherie Skrivan was born and raised in the Seventh-day Adventist church and school system. She spent nearly 10 years working for the SDA church in publishing and communications. In 2005, Cherie’s life was changed forever as she was born into a new life with Christ. By the grace of God she exchanged her knowledge of Christ for a relationship with Christ alone as her Savior. Today she is happily married to Jim and is a stay-at-home mom to their three kids —Kai, Mila and Marika. They live in Omaha, NE where they are members of Christ Community Church. Cherie is passionate about encouraging and helping people grow their faith and relationship in Christ and enjoys helping teach a discipleship class at their church.[/author_info] [/author]