Sometimes in what is a simple and joy-filled moment, God taps on the ears of our heart and asks us if we’re listening. He wants to make sure we’re paying attention.
Tonight’s annual Christmas stroll was such a moment for me. You see, despite the words my heart has heard and whispered to my writer self to share, I am still harried and overwhelmed in the wrong way with Christmas. And with life sometimes.
Tonight, God reminded me that this feeling tends to be universal because, well, we’re all broken and messed up and in need of Jesus. Thus, Christmas.
The thing is, it’s not easy to know what we need or even what we want. Sometimes we stand paralyzed by uncertainty even in the hope of Christmas. Thus, Jesus.
I saw that in my sweet 7 year-old tonight when God came up alongside me and told me to watch her with my heart. To listen to her with my heart.
My girl looks forward to this night all year. She is the epitome of delight and joy-filled abandon. And she is still in awe of the magic of Christmas and Jesus and Santa.
With a lack of words and a look awash in a mix of hope and fear, she stood watching and then quietly moved on, away from the place where Santa sat waiting, even calling to her, inviting her to come and talk with him.
My heart was filled with God’s voice: That, my child, is you. And there you go.
We wandered away, toward the sights and sounds of other places, the lights on the trees and the fire pits in the closed-off road. Lured away from the one thing about this annual stroll that my little girl loves above all else.
And so her heart stayed in that spot where she’d stood, watching and wanting to draw near. Even as she ran toward the twinkling lights and the performer singing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, her eyes aglow with obvious joy, still she looked back to the place where Santa sat waiting.
We came back toward that spot and her eyes danced in the firelight as we drew near once again.
“Take my hand,” I told her.
“Come with me,”she asked at the same moment.
We drew near together, her hesitantly, me with anticipation. He offered his hand and an invitation and she took it, slowly approaching him until at last she sat with him, her smile radiant. Joy seemed to wrap around her.
Even so, she offered few words to his many. And when asked what she wanted down deep in her heart for Christmas, she looked away and paused before telling him, “I’m usually excited with whatever gift I receive.”
And God’s voice in my heart whispered, “There. There is Christmas, my child.”