Many Christmas seasons have passed since the ten days we spent devoid of electricity and modern conveniences.
On New Year’s Day, our family, along with many other northeast Texans, awoke to see fields, roofs, trees, roads and powerlines covered in a two-inch thick glaze of ice. An unexpected overnight storm of sleet followed by freezing rain paralyzed travel, business and most of all, my college break. Linemen worked as fast as they could to restore power in cities and towns. But, we knew it would be a while before they reached our rural area. Dad, mom and I spent our days huddled by the fireplace, our only source of heat, and our nights sleeping beside it.
Six days later roads were still hazardous. Since we couldn’t go to church, Dad decided we’d have our own church at home, by the fireplace.
“Luke chapter two,” Dad said opening his Bible.
What? The Christmas story? Christmas was two weeks ago. Oh well. Wish I had a quilt. Three layers of clothes, a coat and two blankets aren’t enough. Brrrrr. Dad read. Mom and I listened.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. (Luke 2: 6)
No room for them in the inn. Probably warm there. Sent to a stable. A drafty, smelly stable. No heat. No bed. Is Dad’s voice cracking?
I glanced upward and watched him take a white handkerchief from his pocket. I could count on one hand the times I’ve seen him cry.
Such harsh conditions. I pulled the blankets closer to my face.
Jesus—the Prince of Peace. A newborn prince born in a stable, placed in a feeding trough. I’ve heard this story all my life but somehow, today it’s . . . I never really thought . . . tears gushed as I placed myself within the primitive birthing room. I sobbed and bawled and felt foolish for feeling sorry for myself, for being grumpy about the cold and disrupted plans.
Dad closed his Bible. I folded the wet corner of my blanket and wiped my face. Forever changed.