Archive for November, 2012


November 29, 2012 2 comments

“The Light Shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” John 1: 5


My first Christmas as a single father was not a bright one from my point of view. I was at the time living in a studio apartment in Riverside, and had very little in the way of income to speak of and I felt very alone and isolated. In spite of these circumstances, it was in my heart to give my daughters, who were 9, 8, and 4 at the time, the very best Christmas I could.

It started with the cheapest Charlie Brown Christmas tree I could find, and ornaments made from pine cones we found on the grounds of my apartment complex. We decorated my place with paper chains and snowflakes, and we planned to have canned Ravioli’s and Baby Cokes for Christmas dinner.

When Christmas Day arrived, I was to have the girls Christmas afternoon and evening, so they could spend the morning with their mother. I spent Christmas Eve and morning with my folks and left from there to pick up the girls to take them back to my place. Many of the gifts they were to receive were not yet under the little tree when we arrived, so in order to maintain a bit of Christmas Magic for them I asked them to wait, as I “Helped” Santa, in the only room with a door that separated it from the rest of the house, the bathroom. As they waited I gave them a big can of Holiday Popcorn, and 8oz bottles of Coca-Cola for them to enjoy as I finished setting up.

At the time I was in one of the lowest points of my life and trying to find my way out of the dark. I saw only my failures as a father and I thought my children deserved better than what I was giving them. While they waited in the bathroom for their Christmas with me to begin, the dark thoughts of self-pity flooded over me. But when all was ready and I opened the door of the bath room, my sorrow turned to joy for there were my three daughters sitting in the empty bath tub smiling and laughing like this was greatest Christmas adventure they had ever had… I mean how many times do you get to sit in a bathtub and eat pop-corn? They were like three bright stars shining in my very dark sky. It turned out to be perfect for all of us…just what the four of us wanted for Christmas.

As Christmas comes each year, God reminds me of that day, and I smile, and I think about when He first came to us. We could say that circumstances for His birth were not ideal by any means…a tyrannical government, a census, a stable, a manger…pretty bleak. But when Shepherds and Magi, peeked in on the babe, what greeted them was a light that shone in the darkness, like a star in a dark sky…bringing tidings of great joy which shall be for all people…even to a hopeless single father…who found his way out of the dark, and back into the light.

Blessings, Pastor Joel

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