Friday, December 25, 2009

The Best Christmas Present... Maybe Ever!

So I wish I had a picture to show you... I wish I could take the image that is forever burned on my heart but it was one of those moments when I was afraid to move to get the camera...  I was afraid to breathe...  For fear that I would somehow disrupt the gift that was occurring right before my eyes...

Every year on Christmas Eve, Scott reads the Christmas story from Luke 2...  We talk about what Jesus did for us, and each year as the kids get older, we challenge them more and more to think about why Jesus left the glory of heaven...the infiniteness of living in the Spirit... and confine Himself to space and time and flesh.

Abby really struggles when we get into conversations that she doesn't understand...  I think it probably disrupts her sense of belonging and that's understandable, but it's that balance of nurturing our older children and having grace for her circumstances that can be so difficult.

I guess after sitting still for over an hour during our Christmas Eve service (which was OUTSTANDING as usual) and then being asked to sit still again as Scott read the story of Jesus' birth, was just too much.  She pulled her hood over her head and refused to listen.

Now she was sitting where I couldn't see her, so Scott and I had no idea what was going on...  But it really upset my grandmother, who is 97 years old.  After Scott finished, I heard her say to my mom, "Why did Abby cover her head?  I would not allow her to do that."  At first I felt a little defensive, 'well, neither would I if I had had any idea it was happening..."  But I sat quietly and started to watch as these events unfolded...

My grandmother called her over to her...  Abby was reluctant at first but she went to her and let Mama H. pull her close.  I kind of held my breath because my grandmother really doesn't understand the nuances of dealing with an adopted older child, but it turned out to be one of the most Spirit filled moments I've ever experienced...  She demonstrated more grace and understanding than I ever would have mustered...

Very gently, my grandmother asked her why she had covered her head and refused to listen.  Of course, Abby didn't have an answer...  So Mama H. began to explain what Jesus did for us.  "Abby, Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  We're all sinners, even children and He died to save us.  So we need to listen to the story of His birth."

She talked to her about how Jesus loved her and she said, "I know you love Him too because He died for me and for you."  And then she said, "Abby, when Pop (that was my grandfather who passed away...but she was really talking about Scott)...  when Pop reads the Christmas story next time, you'll listen right?"  Abby nodded her head and Mama H. pulled her close into a hug and said, "I knew you would, you're such a sweet girl and I love you."

It's funny, in all these years, I've never heard my grandmother so passionate about Jesus and what He did for us...  I've heard her share her testimony...  I have no doubt about who her heart belongs to, but as the generations before us often are, she has always been a little more private about her faith.

But tonight took my breath away...  She was upset that Abby showed such disrespect for the story of Jesus' birth...  Yet, she showed such grace and love as she shared her faith with her...  As I sat and watched in utter awe and wonder...  as I considered how there was no doubt that this was a God ordained moment, led by the Spirit... I thought, "It would not surprise me in the least if someday, maybe in 2 years...maybe in 20...  Abby remembers how her 97 year old grandmother shared the gospel with her and planted a seed in her heart that took root in a great love for Him."

No matter what earthly gifts lay under the tree for tomorrow...  God has already unwrapped the greatest Christmas present... Maybe ever (except of course for the birth of His Son...)  It's 12 A.M. right now... Merry CHRISTmas!

6 comments:

Lori said...

Oh Sharla! What a beautiful story...I couldn't read it without tears rolling down my cheeks! What a special memory that will be...and perhaps the very seed that will bring salvation.

Denise said...

Oh, what a precious moment! I know that no earthly gift could replace that moment! Merry Christmas dear friend~

Judy said...

Sharla, how beautiful this story is!! To be part of the Spirit moving in your child's life AND to have it through your own Grandmother!! WOW!! Pecious memories for sure! Thank you for sharing your life with us--it really blesses me everytime I read your blog!!
Love you, Girlfriend! :o)

Anonymous said...

Wow Sharla, this is so very sweet, just like our precious Lord. Life is not measured by the amount of breaths we take, but those moments that take our breath away...this takes our breath away. love ya girl Cindy K.

Our China Starfish said...

I found your blog from another's (can't even remember now from whose as I bookmarked yours a while back) and have been blessed by reading your posts about Africa. I always feel humbled when reading stories such as these and reminded to keep my priorities in the right places. It is a blessing also to read your story about Abby and your grandmother. You have a beautiful family. God bless.

Naomi said...

Sharla,
It is great to check in with you and read this beautiful story!! My dear Granny was such a light in my life and I will never forget the seeds of Christ's love that were sown into my heart through her kind words!!!

Happy New Year!!