Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Christmas of Miracles

Miracles happen every day, and when we least expect it, Christ sends new ones our way. Finances were tight this year, and with Christmas approaching, I wasn’t sure what to do about gifts. So I prayed to Jesus Christ about what to give my grown children and their spouses, and then felt strongly to make presents – fun booklets for each person containing puzzlements that included each family member. I found a book on puzzlements showing how to create word searches, word games, crossword puzzles, logic problems, math and story games, and mazes.  Asking each person what their favorite color, movie, game, pet, and childhood memory was fun. Then, I injured my arm and wasn’t able to complete the project. The diagnoses was tendonitis, along with shoulder inflammation and calcium build-up. Making gifts for Christmas seemed impossible.

But God was gracious. Through prayer from friends, resting my arm in a sling, discovering turmeric capsules for inflammation, trusting Jesus as my Healer, and patience (the hardest part), my arm began to heal. Three weeks later, when my arm was about 90 % healed, an opportunity came out of nowhere. A church about 40 minutes away, was looking for an artist to speed paint during a Christmas song for both Sunday services on December 18. This was something I never did before, but wanted to try. So I researched speed painting on YouTube, sketched out a few possibilities, and then stepped out and said yes. I had one week to prepare, but with God’s help it was enough time.

When Sunday arrived, my arm felt pretty good, and my husband carried all the heavy stuff into the church, so I wouldn’t re-injury it. When the time came to paint, I stepped on stage filled with joy and excitement, knowing that since God brought this opportunity, the Holy Spirit would paint with me. The singer began her song as I picked up my brush. It was then that I discovered the new tube of gold paint had an inner safety seal that wouldn’t come off. I wasted almost 30 seconds trying to tug it open. Remembering that there was an old tube in the box, I quickly found it and unscrewed the cap. There was enough paint, but less than four minutes left to the song to finish the art. I applied paint to the canvas as fast as I could, adding the last few strokes as the song ended, and then flipped it right-side up so the congregation could see the finished art. I heard loud gasps, followed by an applaud when the people recognized the pictured that I had been painted upside down was baby Jesus in a manger.

After the second service, the person who hired me to paint wrote a generous check. Not only was my arm completely healed, but I now also had money to buy a few small gifts for each person. And there was still one week left to finish typing, sketching and compiling the family booklets for Christmas. God always has perfect timing, and by the time Christmas Day arrived, the presents were finished, wrapped and under the tree.

It turned out to be the best Christmas ever! Everyone loved both the purchased presents and the puzzlement booklets. They dove into the family crossword puzzle, word search, maze and logic problems, helping each other solve the missing pieces. It was so much fun to finally have a Christmas where the family was in unity with each other. Highest praises to the Lord God Most High, Jesus Christ, who works on behalf of those who trust Him, and brings us together through surprising, creative ways.

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