Prayers for a Grace-full Christmas

I was an adult before I really understood the meaning of the word grace. I knew all the words to “Amazing Grace”, and my favorite hymn growing up was “Love, Mercy, and Grace”, but I really didn’t have a full concept of what grace was until several years ago.

In August of 2010, my father died suddenly and unexpectedly. My heart was so broken, but just one week later, Daddy visited me in a dream to tell me that he was OK and that I was going to have a baby. I thought it was just my heart playing tricks on me because we had tried unsuccessfully for years to get pregnant. But low and behold, two days later I had a positive pregnancy test. The roller coast of emotions is hard to describe, but I just knew in that moment that God saw me. He knew what was coming and knew better than I did what I needed when I needed it most!

A couple of months later, we had some labs done at our prenatal visit. The lab accidentally sent the results to my office instead of to my OB’s office. I walked in and casually picked up the folder on my desk, not realizing the seriousness of what I was about to read. Our unborn baby had a positive blood test for Down Syndrome. I knew we would love her unconditionally, but in that moment, I was angry. I was angry at God for jerking me around and for toying with my emotions. I was angry that he would give me my heart’s greatest desire in the worst days of my life only to rip away all the hopes and dreams I had for this child. And I was furious that he would do it when I was alone and unprepared and in my office just before having to put on a smile and comfort and treat other people. And I told him so! For the first time probably in my whole life, I really let God have it! (I sure am glad He didn’t smite me!)

But in that moment of complete raw honesty with God, I heard His voice. God spoke to me in that office just as clearly as I can hear my children playing and laughing in the other room. God told me that my daughter would be fine and that He had big plans for her life. “Just trust me,” He said. Well, OK. Through my tears, I told my sweet husband all of this and we agreed on a plan. We would see the specialist that was recommended, we would have the extra ultrasounds, but we would not do anything further that might pose a risk to our baby. We would trust God.

It was nearing Christmas, and I just really needed reassurance. I had heard God’s voice—that should be enough, right? But again, I just needed confirmation that I wasn’t hearing what I wanted to hear. I needed to know that He saw me, that He cared about me. So I did what any Doubting Thomas would do.….I asked for a sign. I asked God to let it snow on Christmas day if He really loved me and really meant that my baby would be OK. It was selfish and petty, and I knew it. The Creator of the Universe has better things to do that play games with me to prove He is real, but I was in a really emotional, and probably somewhat irrational, place.

The forecast certainly didn’t look promising. David told me that just because it wasn’t going to snow didn’t mean that God didn’t love us or mean what He said. But I just kept praying. And as Christmas day drew nearer, the forecast began to change.

I have a treasured photo of myself with my pregnant belly exposed in my grandmother’s back yard on Christmas day with beautiful white snow everywhere and continuing to fall, shining as it landed on my dark hair.

And that is the day I really understood the word GRACE: unmerited favor, undeserved kindness, an unearned gift. I didn’t deserve snow on Christmas day. I didn’t earn a beautiful white snowfall. I certainly didn’t deserve the gift of my firstborn child. All of her ultrasounds were completely within normal limits, and Ada Lynn is a beautiful, healthy nine year old who loves to read and who makes me a better person. We chose her name on Christmas day as well—a Biblical name that means “adornment” in Hebrew. She is certainly a jewel for our family!

As Christmas day approaches this year, 10 years after that emotional season of my life, we see snow forecasted again for Christmas day. I have shared this story with my children this year, and it makes them smile. I hope it reminds them that God sees them. He hears their hearts and knows what they need. He cares for them deeply, even more than I can. He is waiting to shower them with His grace—they need only be honest and open with Him. The same is true for you, friend!

Whether this Christmas is cold and white or warm and sunny, I will thank God for His unending grace, for the gift of His Son, and for the gift of that season long ago when I truly learned how good God is and how wonderful it is to receive His grace! I pray that you will know and receive these things as well!

Merry Christmas, friends!

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