By Ray Lynch

It was Christmas Eve 1957 and I was home alone. Everyone was out running last minute errands so I decided to plug in the Christmas tree lights just before they returned home. Much to my shock, I tipped over the tree in the process! Nearly half the Christmas ornaments that seconds earlier were hanging beautifully on the tree, were shattered. My plan to surprise everyone with a brightly lit tree had become a disaster.

After righting the tree, I went upstairs to await my parents return and the harsh words I knew I would receive. I don’t know whether it was my demonstrative display of confession and repentance, or my tears, but upon seeing the mess my father quickly turned to me and said that broken Christmas tree ornaments would not ruin our Christmas and that he and mom still loved me. Oh how my spirit lifted as the burden of my misdeed was removed by my father’s unconditional love. What a great Christmas I had that year.

As great as that Christmas was, it paled to the Christmas I experienced twenty-nine years later. Less than a month before that 1986 Christmas, Pastor Skinner shared the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and I experienced the unconditional love of my heavenly Father as I put my trust completely in Him for the forgiveness of my sins. For the first time, I truly understood the reason for the birth of the Messiah, who would ultimately demonstrate His unfathomable love for me, and you, by willingly dying a horrible death on the cross.

Adding to my joy was the understanding that my new relationship with God could not be broken. Romans 8:28-39 tells us that nothing “will be able to separate us from this love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you have put your trust in Christ for your eternal life, then remember that His love is unconditional and forever. And may your desire to know Him and to live for Him be far greater than your desire for the temporal things the world tells us we need in order to have a great Christmas.


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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.