Christmas Healing

Tough year
Tough year

Just Me

In the year I was eight years old, I was allowed to attend the Christmas candlelight service at midnight with my Dad. With six children in our family the privilege was rare, staying up late and going alone with Dad. At the time, it was just about the best Christmas present I could have received. However I didn’t know then … how much better it was going to get.

The year had been one of the most difficult of my school years. The year before I had failed grade two, quite miserably. There was so much shame and remorse in my little heart at the hurt this brought to my parents. Consequently, I worked hard when I returned to school that fall and had a good first quarter. As a result, the school put me in a class where I was doing both grade two work and forging ahead to grade three work. Dad spent many evenings trying to help me understand the concepts of my homework. Finding it difficult I was often quite frustrated with my efforts.

This was the situation I found myself in that Christmas. Tired and discouraged, all I could see was a long year yet ahead of me. It was at this point that Dad invited me to go with him to the service. Just me.

The Wonderland Journey

I felt special and so grown up. Mom made extra sure that I was properly dressed and that I knew what to do.

We left the house shortly before midnight. I was sure we were driving into a wonderland. The streets were so quiet. Snow was falling and even the street lights added to the holiness of the night with a halo of freshly falling snow surrounding its glow.

Clutching my hands in silent anticipation, my eyes just couldn‘t take it all in fast enough. I wanted Dad to drive real slow.

Smiling, Dad looked over at me, and with twinkling warmth in his eyes he patted my hand. I smiled back and said nothing, not wanting to break the enchantment which seemed to have enveloped us.

A Christmas Transformation

As we got out of the car a sudden shyness over came me, I was overwhelmed and Dad, instead of hurrying me towards the big doors, quietly, reassuringly took my hand and silently walked towards the church.

I could hear the strains of a familiar Christmas Carol coming from the organ in the sanctuary.

Angels from the Realms of Glory”,

I looked up, expecting to see angels surrounding us with the Glory from Heaven.

I stayed close to Dad as we were greeted at the church door. Everyone was so quiet, so expecting. I didn’t know what they were expecting but my heart was beating furiously in anticipation.

Walking into the sanctuary, I was momentarily stunned. Candles were everywhere. Not ordinary candles but long, tall, stately, ivory candles which sparkled, glimmered and peeked from every corner.

At the front of the church the immense Christmas tree shimmered with magnificence. Pine boughs, flowers and decorations were strung along the communion railing surrounding the altar.

The smell of fresh pine together with the pungent aroma of burning beeswax hung in the still air like hallowed incense.

It seemed to me the whole room had been transformed into a most holy place. I stood in the awesome wonder of it all.

A New Found King

Feeling a tender nudge we moved towards our seats near the front of the church. Adults would come and shake hands with Dad and would smile warmly at me. I sat, ever so proudly, beside Dad, the only child in the service. With my own hymnal, Dad helped me find the first hymn. Suddenly, the organist started playing a little louder, announcing we were about to begin.

While we sang, two altar boys, quite a bit older than I, reverently preceded Pastor, who, dressed in full Christmas regalia, slowly approached the altar. I was absolutely spell bound. There was silence for a long moment, Pastor turned and with outstretched arms blessed us on this most holy night.

We once again began to sing with glorious heavenly worship and I just knew the angels had joined us in our joy.

Pastor did not go to the pulpit for his message but spoke from the floor beneath the towering Christmas tree. He drew our attention to both trees in the sanctuary. The one celebrating Jesus’ birth and the one commemorating his death.

I didn’t understand everything Pastor said that night but I realized for the first time, that these were the same Jesus. The one born on this night was the same Jesus who died on the cross. The same King who rose from the grave on Easter morning. I was astounded. Easter and Christmas connected for me that night.

My eyes filled with tears for the baby Jesus, his mother and father as I recognized a little of the sacrifice he had to make.

Dad felt my tears, seemed to know, and put a comforting arm around me.

We stood then and sang “O Come all ye Faithful”. I sang with as much love and energy as I could and gave it all to my newly discovered King.

Christmas Forever Changed

That Christmas Eve service turned out to be one of the most spiritually significant moments of my young life. I never thought of Jesus the same way again.

With the candles, the silence, the reverence, the elegant opulence, I felt and knew for the first time, that we were honouring a King. It was silencing for me.

Jesus, in that one night grew from a baby in a manger to be my glorious King forever. To this day the aroma of beeswax candles and evergreen pine boughs rekindles this poignant memory in my heart.

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Comments 22 comments

coffeesnob 5 years ago

This read and felt like a warm cup of coffee by a crackling fire..I loved it and loved you and your dad as I read. God bless you, Ulrike and Merry Christmas


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

THank you coffeesnob, this is one of the good memories I have as a child...it's precious and hold it close. thanks for reading and I hope you have a blessed Christmas yourself with close family and friends...Love Ulrike Grace


rls4immanuel 5 years ago

Ulrike Grace: Praise God from whom all blessings flow especially "The Greatest Gift." Your story is worthy of the tears they stir. Have a blessed and holy Christmas in the sweet fellowship of you Lord and King!


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you as always rls...I am glad these words touched you and God's blessings do flow each and everyday if we so choose to see them and give credit where credit is due! May God bless you in the remembrance season with a deeper and continual knowledge of the miracle He sent when He sent us Jesus. May His Grace and Peace overtake you...Love you my friend and brother...Ulrike Grace


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

I hope everyone has a memory of a Christmas like this to warm their souls in following years. A wonderful tale. Best wishes for the season, Ulrike Grace. Blessings on you and yours. Lynda


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Lynda for both your kind words and for stopping and giving this a read. Hope all is going well with your new book, haven't spoken much with you since NaNoWr. Blessings to you this Christmas Season and may you be blessed with warm encounters with friends and family. Ulrike Grace


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 5 years ago

UlrikeGrace, Lovely! What a charming heartwarming memory to share!

As children of God we have so much to be Thankful for throughout the year... Christmas time is an extra special time set aside to CELEBRATE HIS magnificent miraculous birth...! THANK GOD FOR JESUS! The Best GIFT ever! YES! "Unto us a SAVIOR is born..."

'PRAISE GOD from whom ALL BLESSINGS flow..."

Thank You for sharing, In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings! ~ MERRY CHRISTMAS ~


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

DeBorrah I celebrate right along with you! Living with Jesus is an all year celebration, but I am glad for this special time set away to focus on the miracle of His birth...God come to earth to be with us! Amazing and mind boggling. Blessings to you my dear girl and I pray you will have a very Blessed Christmas! Love Ulrike Grace


FloBe profile image

FloBe 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Loved the way you shared your memory. Your Dad, in his gentleness, helped to bring the love closer to you. Glad it was such a memorable experience for you. Have a wonderful Christmas as you celebrate again the Jesus you were introduced to so long ago!


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 5 years ago from Manila

Great hub, great christmas memories. Thank you for sharing these precious childhood memories. Truly christmas brings healing. I take also this opportunity to greet you and your family a blessed and merry christmas. May God's loving presence fill your christmas this year. May you experience the best of the yuletide season, Remain blessed always and best regards.


Jokarenk profile image

Jokarenk 5 years ago from Addison, NY

Nice Hub!! Very comforting and memorable, thank you for sharing, May you be blessed this Christmas season!


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

UlrikeGrace: Thank you for sharing such a treasured memory, your first Christmas eve, and your epiphany of Jesus baby and king.

God be with you always and bless you.

Brother Dave.


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

*FloBe, Wonderful of you to stop in and have a read.

Yes, it was a wonderful expereince and it has stayed with me. It's amazing when the Lord enters a life the type of things one remembers. He was always there with His grace. Blessings to you during the Christmas Season, Ulrike Grace


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

cristina327, I love Christmas, and although my memories are not all good, its not the memories that make Christmas for me. It's Christ and what He came to do and did so many years ago. When I finally made Him my Lord and Savior THAT was the best Christmas! Blessings to you this year. May God grant you a deeper awareness of His Joy and Presence in your life. Love Ulrike Grace


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

Jokarenk, There is no greater comfort than knowing that the baby Jesus was indeed God came in the Flesh to "be with us" and to save us from our sins. We would all be lost had He not had this love and mercy in His heart! Bless you this Christmas season and may you celebrate with deeper joy and awareness of Savior's Gift to us. Life! Ulrike Grace


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

Dave Mathews, blessings to you this wonderful and grace filled Christmas! I was raised in the Lutheran Church and although I no longer attend one, I still miss their reverence for the Church seasons and what it all means. Advent leading to Christmas, I loved it all, as it also in the end lead me to Jesus and His truth in my life! Blessings Brother Dave, Ulrike Grace


Inge 5 years ago

Ulrike, what can I say, this is a totally new side that I see of you and your Dad. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for this hub, it cheered me up quite a bit. I also miss the old ways from our youth and I get especially melancholy thinking of Oma, Opa and of course Mom and Dad. However, we are truly blessed to be part of the family of Christ and must never forget why we celebrate Christmas. Love you dearly...Inge


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

Inge, you brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for your very kind and wartming words. I'm glad, so glad that this has cheered you up some. I pray God will put the true joy of Christmas deep into your heart with a freshness that will astound you and keep you through the whole year through. Love you my dear...Blessings and much love to you and B...Love Ulrike Grace


drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 5 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

Your memories brought back my memories. This Hub made my heart warm. Thank you and God Bless you!


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

drpastorcarlotta, thanks for the kind words...I am blessed that you enjoyed this little story...it is good for me to remember this occassionally. The cradle and the cross held the same Savior! Bless you


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Thank you for sharing this precious event in your life.

"Thanks be unto God for His indescribable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada Author

THank you...RTalloni for taking the time to stop and read...and for making a comment...I appreciate the encouragement! Blessiings Ulrike Grace

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