Friday, December 24, 2010

What Christmas Means to Me

Tonight we celebrate the birth of a baby in Bethlehem, a baby who, I believe, was and is the Savior of the world. He died that we might be forgiven of our sins and return to live with our Heavenly Father, but He also lived that we might have an example, a way to follow.

The past few days have given Christmas a completely different spin this year. As you may have guessed, the picture at the top of the post is a picture of our house on Tuesday afternoon. Our neighbors took this from their front door just before they skedaddled. The water level was actually higher than this at one point--it made it past the palm trees and all the way up to the sandbags in front of the garage.

But this picture doesn’t tell the whole story. About fifteen minutes before we narrowly escaped, our friend from the nearby mesa showed up. He was there to aid in the rescue efforts, and he helped Honey Bear get the last of the sandbags in place. As they were sandbagging, he said something like, “You know you can always stay at our house, right?” Honey Bear thanked him for the offer and said we’d probably take him up on it.

Here’s the thing, though: We beat our friend to his house, which meant he probably hadn’t spoken to his wife before we showed up on their porch. But when she saw us climbing out of the car, she met us on the doorstep and asked, “Do you guys need a place to stay? We’re not really ready for company, but we can be in five minutes!”

As I sat in their living room that night, staring at the twinkling lights of their real, live Christmas tree, a few verses from Matthew came to mind:

“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

“Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

When we showed up on their porch that wet and lonely afternoon, I felt like “one of the least of these my brethren.” My pants and shoes were soaked, my spirits even more so, but our dear friends didn’t hesitate. They gave us a place to stay. They gave us hope.

That’s what Christmas means to me this year. It means living the kind of life that precious baby lived--the kind of life our friends lived Tuesday afternoon--so that, when He comes again, we will be like Him and so abide the day.

Merry Christmas, everybody, and thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. I really think they made a difference. May you and yours have a beautiful holiday.


HGrant said...

Very moving story. I'm glad everybody in your family is okay. You're very fortunate to have such caring neighbors.

"For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in..."

Mother Teresa always quoted that passage. Thanks for sharing it with us -- it's the heart of the season.

Shari said...

I'm so glad that you and your family are alright. How frightening it must have been for you to go through all that. Enjoy the holidays and all the gifts of family and friendship :)

Krista V. said...

Merry Christmas, Holly.

Thank you, Shari. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, too.

Carol Riggs said...

God was/is taking care of you! I'm so glad you and your family had a place to stay during the flood. And yes, Amen to the birth of the Savior and the forgiveness of our shortcomings. Merry Christmas!

A.J. Cattapan said...

What a Christmas story!

God bless your neighbors for not saying, "Sorry, no room at THIS inn."

And God bless you for reminding all of us what is truly important at this time of year!

Merry Christmas!

Esther Vanderlaan said...


Your post was so moving. Thank you.

Krista V. said...

Thank you, Carol. We're glad we had a place to stay, too.

Clever comment, A.J., and merry (late) Christmas to you, too.

You're welcome, Esther. Merry (late) Christmas!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I've been kind of a lurker for a few weeks now... But, I just wanted to say thanks for the story, and I hope you had a Merry Christmas! :)

Also, I love reading your querying stats and agent interviews. I just started querying the week before Christmas, and it's just fun to see someone else going through the same thing as me! :) Congrats on all the partial/full requests! :D

Krista V. said...

Chantele, hi! Hope you had a merry Christmas, too. I hopped over to your blog, and it looks like we're in a similar situation, querying a manuscript for the third time and feeling a lot better about this one. Here's hoping for an agent - and a book deal - in 2011! (But we'll settle for the agent, right? Best not to be too greedy... :) )

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

What an amazing story. Your neighbors are awesome people. I'm so glad you had a place to go. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family. :)

I decided to wait until I get all the "winners" addresses before I mail the chocolate, so I'm still waiting for one. I'll just send it to your home address.

Happy New Year, my friend!


Krista V. said...

We did have a wonderful Christmas, Amy. Thank you. Hope you did, too. And thanks for letting me know about the chocolate. I'm looking forward to it:)

Solvang Sherrie said...

What wonderful friends and what a great reminder of what the holiday really is about. I wish you all the best for 2011.

Krista V. said...

Solvang Sherrie, thank you, and right back at you.