The Christmas I’ll Never Forget

The Christmas I’ll Never Forget

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I said I would never forget that Christmas, and I haven’t.

It’s been a decade now. Ten years since the Christmas of 2004, the year God showed our family that He was More Than Enough for all of our trials, needs, and beyond.

In April of 2004, my husband resigned from his job as a pastor. Through a series of difficult events, we realized God was closing the door on full-time ministry for us, perhaps forever. It was a year of mourning. It was a year of ashes. It was a year of never knowing how we’d make ends meet. Never in our imagination did we picture ourselves becoming so needy so quickly. There was no insurance for this type of thing. It wasn’t a death…exactly.

A year of vast need and vast emotional strain was wearing down on us and we weren’t sure how Christmas would be the time of joy we longed for it to be…especially for our children. There was no money for gifts. Just paying the mortgage and meeting our bills was a miraculous feat each month. My husband was teaching music lessons and tuning pianos while I provided childcare for a single working mom. Together, we were bringing in about 2/3 of my husband’s former salary. Yet we knew God had taken care of us and met all of our needs each month since the resignation. People had “come out of the woodwork” to help us. Every month, a money order for a very specific amount would show up in our mailbox…with no sender’s name attached.

God was loving us in ways and through people we will never know until we reach Heaven.

Maybe we should have guessed something amazing would happen at Christmas that year. That beauty would come from ashes. That our mourning would be turned to all-out joy. The first sign of things to come was when the local Lion’s Club showed up with a frozen turkey and all the trimmings. A few days later,  a Christian man we knew came to take a look at our failing boiler and not only fixed it, but  refused to take a dime for his work. He said his life had been blessed by ours and that was enough for him. Then came Christmas Eve. We received a phone call from friends telling us they’d like to swing by. They arrived a little while later with gifts for our children. While we were all in the front of the house, watching our girls open their gifts, someone knocked on the back door. When we reached the door, we saw more wrapped gifts waiting for us on the back porch. These turned out to be just for my husband and me. We were overwhelmed. Among the gifts was a card with money in it…a sum that made our eyes tear up with gratitude.  But again, we had no idea who had left these gifts.

God was loving us in ways and through people we will never know until we reach Heaven.

That night, after putting our little ones to bed, my husband and I  stood in the living room and literally laughed with joy-filled hearts. We laughed with pure bliss at the way God not only met our needs, but answered prayers far beyond our expectation. In many ways, that Christmas caused us to feel richer than we’d ever felt, even though, on paper, we appeared to be living “at poverty level.” We realized there was simply nothing…nothing that could separate us from the Love of God. In fact, the year of greatest trial, need, and  fragility had become a year when we saw the provision of God most profoundly. And we will never forget.

I love this season because it most reminds me of my need and God’s provision. My emptiness and God’s fullness. He was the first Giver. And He will be the Last. He initiated my salvation and He will finish it. He began the good work in me and He will be faithful to complete it on the day of Jesus Christ. When I give to others, I reflect the love that’s been shown to me. I get to participate in gospel-driven giving, giving that reflects selflessness and sacrifice. My life has been changed by that kind of giving many times over, has yours?  If so, never forget it.

Kristin Bunting About Kristin Bunting

Kristin wishes you could pull up a chair, enjoy a cup of coffee, and talk with her about how amazing Jesus is. For 33 years she has walked with her Savior, and each year is a new adventure in learning how He is always "Enough" for her, no matter what the circumstance. Kristin is wife to one loving small-church pastor, and never ceases to be amazed at the 3 daughters God has given them to raise. Her one-day dream is to write a book for women, chronicling her walk with Jesus and encouraging them to never quit pursuing the God who loves them.

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