Because Life can only be lived a moment at a time.

A Christmas Gift

I was a crier when I was kid but I got over it.


But not at Christmas.

Tears tend to bubble just beneath the surface of my grownup exterior from Thanksgiving through December 25th. I never know what will cause them to appear: A Folgers commercial, a Hallmark movie, a moment of reverence in a worship service or a Christmas song. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” gets to me every time.

As I listened to Michael W. Smith and Carrie Underwood sing “All Is Well” yesterday my parents came to mind. They married on December 24, 1937, and thinking about what would have been their 80th anniversary made me cry. (For those doing some mental math, vanity requires that I mention that I was a mid-life surprise baby.) Daddy’s been gone almost 30 years, Mama over 20, but at Christmas the grief is fresh again, if only for a moment.

Perhaps my veneer of toughness slips because Christmas reminds me of the relentless passage of time. Gaps in our circle become more pronounced and I realize I’m one year further from my youth. I also become keenly aware of diminishing possibilities.

The other day I spent a little too much time wondering where my writing path was going. I haven’t published many columns this year because I’ve focused on fiction. I finally finished my novel this summer and a novella last week. But I don’t know if anyone outside my family or a couple of friends will ever read either one.

Even a cursory study of the world of publishing was daunting, but that concern was eclipsed by a deeper question: Are the thousands of words I’ve written any good? I’m a decent judge of these essays, but I’ve grown too close to my fictional characters to be objective.

I wound up twisted with doubt that no amount of Christmas busy-ness could assuage. But yesterday I heard a word that made all the difference.


In the church I visited the pastor preached that Christmas is really all about hope, both for this life and the next. I was familiar with every Bible passage he referenced, but I heard the verses with a heart thirsty for answers.

I realized that in turning my gaze inward I had lost sight of the One Who exists in past, present and future and Who has a plan for my life. I’m a storyteller but I need to trust God with my story. I have to continue to do the work—to write the words and to explore publication—while resting in the certainty that Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, will work things out according to His perfect plan, not mine.

Merry Christmas!

A Change in the Weather

Looking Up