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888.524.2426 |  mark@churchcmo.com

My Christmas Miracle… I hate Christmas Morning!

The tradition in my family for many years was to gather with my mom and dad and my three brothers for Christmas Eve to celebrate Christmas. As our families grew we would continue to gather at the house where I grew up, eat hors d’oeuvres, attend the Christmas Eve service at the church where I was baptized, and then return home to open gifts. It was some of the greatest, family memories of my life! 
It was thirteen years ago when I started to hate Christmas morning. Per the tradition, our family gathered for our Christmas eve celebration with a houseful of grandkids. It was as joyful an occasion as we had experienced in my adult life. The church service, although it was the same story we had heard for decades, seemed quite poignant this year as my children were old enough to pick out new details from the story of Jesus’ birth. I had not seen my mother so happy to be surrounded by her family, and she gave all of us extra special hugs as we departed to our homes. Maybe she knew something… 
After the 45-minute drive back to our house, it was time to put the kids to bed and for Santa Claus to get to work. I finally got to bed around 2am for a brief nap until the kids awoke early on Christmas morning. But before the kids burst into our room, the phone rang at 6:15 am with those words I will never forget. My dad was on the other end…”your mom is gone; her heart gave out in her chair in front of the Christmas tree.” 
In that moment, as I stood stunned and paralyzed, I began my hate and dread for Christmas morning. It’s not as intense as it once was, the years have eased the pain, but each year I am wide awake at 6:15, lonely and sad. The sadness fades as my wife and kids start to gather, but the hole in my heart is always there and on Christmas morning it throbs. 
Where is my Christmas miracle in this sad story of loss and loneliness you ask? Even on the day when our family lost its rock, God immediately filled the abyss in my heart with hope, love, and a grace that she is still a part of my life and we will all be reunited again. Every year, God anticipates my despair and depression and puts someone in my path with a message that speaks directly to that hole in my heart. After more than a dozen years, I now look for that person or that opportunity to engage or share Jesus during Christmas. It’s what she taught me, it’s what she would have wanted, it’s how Christmas is supposed to be –  a shared experience of the saving grace of Jesus Christ! 
Are you looking for that message from God to fill the hole in your heart this Christmas? If you are having trouble, message me, I would love to help you find it! 

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