I shared a little of this story over on Facebook Live on Monday… this season always reminds me of a truth I learned that Christmas Day of 2016.
We had a truly wonderful Christmas that year- lots of time with family, good food, seeing our little ones enjoy the special gifts they received, and participate in the annual cousin’s nativity play. Zeke (my youngest) was Jesus since he was just a baby then.
That evening we got the boys bathed and in bed, and my husband and I settled into the couch while we were reflecting on the day. I remember thinking, “This was the best day.”
Then it happened.
The frantic knock, knock, knock and ring, ring, of our doorbell. Alternating knocks and rings until my husband got to the door. When he opened it, I heard the breathless voice of our neighbor: “Your van is on fire!”
I grabbed my phone and ran to the door. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing- my neighbors were throwing snow at the back of our van, engulfed in flames. I called 911 and alerted them of the fire- they let us know our neighbor had already called and they were on their way.
‘Please God, don’t let their sirens wake the babies.’ I prayed. Within moments, two large fire trucks and an ambulance came around the corner- they turned their sirens off before they turned on our street. ‘Thank you, Lord.’
They got the fire out, and a kind fire chief came up to me to see how I was. He asked me questions, but I don’t remember them. I do remember thinking, ‘How did this happen? How are we going to pay for this? Is the stroller in there or in the garage? How are we going to pay for new car seats? Does insurance cover those?’
“Ma’am?” he waved his hand in front of my face.
“Oh, sorry… what was the question?”
He paused and looked at me. “Ma’am, I know this is really hard to see. The one thing I want you to look at is your house where your babies are. They are ok. You will be ok. Can you tell me, do you typically park in the driveway?”
“…No. We park in the garage.”
We began to discover that in more ways than one, the Lord had protected our home and our family. He used our neighbors, He used those firefighters, and He used my husband not pulling the car in that night. A spontaneous electrical fire was discovered to be the cause, and we lost everything in the van.
It was three weeks before CPC17. We were still paying medical bills for Zeke. Our insurance didn’t cover the damaged baby gear. I felt like we didn’t have the time or money for this… but I couldn’t get past the way God showed His faithfulness to us in our protection, and I had to believe He would show up in our provision. It was that Christmas that I learned that faith and sadness can exist together, but what must sit right in the middle of the two is hope- the anchor we throw toward the promises of a covenant-keeping God Who loves us.
I learned that my belief – even next to my grief and questions – is held together by the miraculous provision of the Son we just celebrated that day: Immanuel, God with us.
Friend, 2019 might have been a wonderful year for you, or you might be more than ready to say goodbye to it. It might feel today like something good has gone up in flames before your eyes, or you might have a sense change is coming… whatever the case may be, my prayer for you this Christmas is that you will allow your faith in a trustworthy Savior and your honest questions to exist together with genuine hope in Him sitting right in the middle of them.
These lyrics from O Holy Night are dear to me, and I pray they bless you as you set aside time to behold your King – He knows your need. He is your friend, and He is your hope. He is worthy of our total adoration!
“The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger; In all our trials born to be our friend. He knows our need, to our weaknesses no stranger, Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend! Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!” – lyrics from O Holy Night
Merry Christmas, my friends! He is with us!