It was less than 48 hours before Christmas, and I was at the mall. For weeks before the big day, Jamie told me, “I don’t want to be at the mall the weekend of Christmas---it’s going to be a zoo. Either finish your shopping or go yourself, because I’m not fighting the traffic.” And yet, here we were, the Friday before Christmas fighting the crowds and braving the traffic, AND IT WASN’T MY FAULT!!
Ironically, Jamie was the one who woke me up and said, “The Holy Spirit told me that we need to go shopping” (Don’t you wish you got a word from God like that?) Only we had to go to the store for one very specific gift: a Christmas present for my Dad.
So here I was---packed into a tiny little store with fifty other people---looking for Philadelphia Eagles pajamas and a matching t-shirt. And the miracle was that I had total peace.
Now you may be thinking, “Uh, what’s the big deal? So it was a little crowded---you’re a big girl, you can cope.”
However, the anxiety that I expected to feel had nothing to do with the crowds or the fact that we were probably breaking some kind of fire restrictions for overcapacity---instead, the big deal was that we were buying my Dad a Christmas present for the first time in seven years.
Now because I think we've talked enough this year about my Dad's poor choices and bad behavior over Christmas, I'm sure you understand why there were many years when we just let our Dad ignore Christmas rather than forcing him to celebrate. And for many years God was very patient with us.
However, last year came the Holy Spirit’s wake-up call---"Now that you’re healed, it’s time to get your Dad a gift."
Honestly, as soon as Jamie relayed the message to me, I knew it was from God.
Even though we didn’t know how Dad would respond, there was a peace in our hearts that said, “It doesn’t matter---Do the right thing and God will take care of you.”
So off to the mall we went.
But the miracle was that I didn’t feel angry…I didn’t feel fear…I didn’t even feel pain. All I experienced was the unexplained peace that the Holy Spirit brings when our obedience is combined with His healing power.
Even as we gave the gift to my Dad, Jamie and I still had overwhelming peace. Even though it wasn’t exactly a Hallmark movie moment where my Dad broke down and apologized for everything or vowed that his Grinchy heart would grow (actually the whole thing was kind of awkward), for Jamie and I it was as miraculous as the day the angels brought the gifts to our back door.
Why? Because it showed us that over the years, God really had changed our hearts. He’d healed our wounds. He’d strengthened us and restored our joy.
We were no longer controlled by years of heartache and pain.
Unlike our Dad who let his past steal years of happy holidays from him and our family, our willingness to take painful steps of faith allowed God to heal the memories of our past help us walk in the present and future of freedom.
This is the true miracle of Christmas!
You see, the miracle of Christmas only begins in the manger. It continues on toward the cross where Jesus bled and died for the sins and pain of all mankind.
Isaiah 53: 5 says:
But He was hurt for our wrong-doing.
He was crushed for our sins.
He was punished so we would have peace.
He was beaten so we would be healed.
The truth is that when Jesus died on the cross, He provided more than just forgiveness for your sins and the promise of eternity in Heaven. Although these are amazing things, His sacrifice also made provision for healing and deliverance. That healing is more than just physical, but it includes the deepest, darkest wounds of your soul.
This is the healing that my brother and I have experienced in our lives---a revolutionary, life changing healing that doesn’t just take away the pain of the past but allows you to move forward living in freedom and joy.
But the miracle doesn’t stop there: it grows and grows as you take the healing God has given you and pass it on to others who also need their hearts to be healed.
You see, the miracle of Christmas 2016 wasn’t just that Jamie and I realized we were healed---it was that out of our healing we were able to give a gift that expressed healing and forgiveness in a tangible way to our Dad. Through the power of Jesus, we were able to demonstrate Jesus’ love to him in a way that seemed impossible for years.
I believe that is the true cycle of healing: God takes the broken places in your heart and heals them so that you can offer God’s healing power to other hurting people.
Does this seem impossible to you?
Trust me, I understand how you feel. (Thank God life isn’t dependent on our feelings!)
Yet the truth is that with God ALL things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
You can experience healing! You can experience freedom! You can have joy and peace in your heart that is beyond anything that you could ever imagine.
Here’s an even great truth: You can forgive.
You can move forward.
You know, I hear it all the time:
"I could never speak to her again."
"I will never be able to forgive them for what they did."
"I'll never be able to celebrate with joy. This season will always be sad for me."
"I could never do something kind for them---they don't deserve it."
Well, I'm here to tell you that these beliefs are ALL LIES!!!
You don't have to stay trapped in the pain of the past!
You don't need to spend every Christmas wallowing in pain and heartache.
You can forgive. You can show Christ's love to your enemies.
You can do whatever God asks you to do whenever He asks you to do it. Even if that means demonstrating love and forgiveness to someone who doesn’t deserve it.
You can do ALL THINGS through Christ Who strengthens you. (Philippians 4:13)
How is all of this possible?
Through the healing power of Jesus.
As you allow Him to heal the wounds in your heart and mind and obediently follow the Biblical principles for healing, you will be amazed at the miracles God will do in and through you.
I know because I’ve lived it.
Last year I did something that five years ago was unimaginable---and yet because of God’s healing power, I did it without pain.
That’s not just a Christmas miracle---it’s a miracle that’s available year round because of Christ’s work at the cross.
Through Jesus you can experience healing, freedom, joy, peace, and you can life as more than a conqueror in Christ. Your life can be a testimony as you not only leave your pain behind but even demonstrate love to those who hurt you.
If you’d like to learn more about the Biblical principles that helped Jamie and I find healing, I encourage you to read “Finding Healing”.
Don’t let another year go by without starting your own journey to healing---begin living your abundant life today!