This Christmas I want to share with you something that happened to me. You may begin to read this and think it’s better suited for Lent, but stay with me. About 10 years ago I was in a bad car accident. I had so many internal injuries i felt my middle name was pain. I remember clinging so much to Jesus to get through it all. A few weeks after a spinal surgery I was at a weekday Mass. I remember sitting there and as always offering this Mass for the salvation of my children. I can imagine many parents pray for the same thing. I could hear this small voice inside of me saying “what will you give in exchange for their salvation?” I was in shock! We make deals with Jesus – usually over a toilet bowl after drinking too much- or another crisis moment. We promise anything to get whatever we are praying for. I had never heard of God making a deal with me- I will trade you something for what you want. I questioned Him “Lord is this really you?” and again the voice- “what will you give for their salvation?” Jesus I would give anything I thought- truly anything to ensure my little ones were kept close to the heart of Jesus. The voice again questioned “would you give your leg?” I was double shocked… this could not be Jesus speaking to me. He DOES NOT make deals!
I pondered that question. I was already in so much pain. Really how could God want more than the suffering I was already offering up? In the end I grudgingly responded, “ok take my leg, but don’t ask me which one- that would be just too much for me.” Then silence. I continued through Mass and was reflecting on all that had happened in just a space of a moment. I could not believe that God was asking this of me. I thought back to all the bible stories I knew and could not think of one where God made a deal with man. In the contrary man was quite often making deals with God. I remembered how Abraham had haggled with God for the lives of those in Sodom, going back a few times to renegotiate the terms until he got the number from 50 to 10.
At the end of Mass, I heard the voice again. “Come and contemplate me on the altar.” The weekday Masses were given at the little chapel behind the main altar. Of course, at His summons, I rise and walk to the main altar not knowing where this is going. This is what I see:
I focused on the crucifix and hear the voice again “ I don’t need your leg; I want their salvation more than you do.” All I could see was Jesus on that cross given up for each one of us. This is how much God is invested in our salvation. He had given not a leg or sent His word that had created everything out of nothing, He was willing to give His only begotten son.
Why is this better suited for Christmas? Well, it’s a gift that God gave me and I want to share with you. To all you parents out there worried about your children. God wants their salvation more than you do! These words gave me so much hope and peace. I just knew that all the stupid mistakes I made could not undo God’s plan for me. The same with my children. As I watch them grow and explore life, not always making the choices I would, I pray and know that God has a plan for them as well. To all of you that do not have children, drink in the love of the Father sent in this message. “I want it more than you do!” We may struggle and go off course but if we place our trust in God, we can be confident in knowing that He wants our salvation more than we can imagine. Continue to come back to Him with the confidence of a beloved child. You will always be loved.
One last thing; I am the youngest of nine(my mom was a living saint!) There was always chaos and an abundance of love in our home. One day in frustration I asked her as I saw my older siblings falling for the lures of the world; “mom, you are such a godly woman, and have raised us in the church, don’t you get frustrated that your children are falling away from the church?” Her response stays with me till this day. “My job is to plant the seeds; it is up to God when He will harvest them. I have planted good seeds.” That had to be at least 35 years ago and as I look at our family now, I see that God is harvesting these good seeds planted with love. So, continue to plant good seeds, and know that in His time God will harvest them in your children.
Merry Christmas. I pray that this testimony touches you and that the hope of Christ is reborn in you this Christmas!