My most memorable Christmas came as a child. My parents had purchased me a bicycle. It was liberating. I suddenly had wings!
I delightfully took advantage of little-used country roads and Florida’s beautiful wilderness to expand my boyhood adventures. Without a care, I roamed the expanse of my father’s phosphate mine. Only now do I look back and realize that I was always under the protection of a powerful father.
Our most precious Christmas came in 1972 as I held baby Scott, our first-born son. “Father, I know how you feel!” I cried out. A miracle birth, his mother had endured six months of confinement while a miscarriage loomed. But God had other plans.
Our most unusual Christmas was in South Africa. “Beware of the Christmas Beetles,” we were warned. In the southern hemisphere, Christmas in Johannesburg arrived with hot weather, open windows with no screens, and invasions of – June bugs!
Christmas is about fun, food, and family. But Christmas is truly merry because 2,000 years ago holy angels announced “…good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10 ESV) Angels first broke the news of this miracle, a conception unlike any previously known in human history.
Forty years ago, as young pastors, my wife and I saw our firstborn son delivered after the obstetrician had given up all hope of a normal child or a full term delivery. For many months, she was bedfast and had no evidence the baby was alive.
Today Scott is an adult, a good husband, and an amazing father to three lovely grandchildren, and a man of God. What happened? Grace happened. Prayer changes things, and faith in God works.
Grace from God gave us the first Christmas, the divine invasion of our human space, the realm where suffering, struggling people like us need mercy and help.
This week I was reminded of the power of grace when I gave my wife a special gift. She loves music. I like good books and movies. So I took her to see the new movie, "Les Miserables," by Victor Hugo, starring Hugh Jackman and Ann Hathaway. All the lines are sung live!
Never have I had a movie move me so deeply. I loved Gregory Peck in "To Kill A Mockingbird." But this movie captured our human pain, our need of grace, and the power of forgiveness in a vivid, dramatic way. For Christmas, give yourself a special gift - go see "Les Miserables" here in Meridian at the Bonita Lakes Mall.
To all our family and friends, we wish you a Happy New Year!
With much love to all, Ron and Lana Wood.
Ron Wood is pastor of Trinity Assembly of God in Meridian. Visit the church website at www.trinitymeridian.com.