Monday, December 24, 2012

Take Two: What Christmas Means to Me

I know a lot of you were around two years ago when I blogged about this the first time, but it's a story worth repeating. As I explained in this post, the river near our home flooded a few days before Christmas back in 2010. (A few miles upriver, it actually carried whole houses off their foundations and dashed them to pieces not far downstream.) That part was horrible, but what came just after was anything but. It perfectly captures the true spirit of Christmas, so I wanted to share it with you one more time on this Christmas Eve.
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.


Jenilyn Collings said...

Beautiful story. I hope you have a happy--and much more peaceful--Christmas this year!

Tamara said...

That is such a great Christmas story. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas this year and thanks for sharing this with us!

JeffO said...

It is a story well worth repeating. Merry Christmas, Krista.

Andrea said...

What a great Christmas message. Thanks for sharing and may you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Vijaya said...

Wonderful story, and thank you for repeating for people like me who are new readers.

May the peace and joy of Christmas be with you now and always.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thanks, all, for your Christmas wishes. We did have a quiet, lovely Christmas and a fun New Year's. I hope you had the same!