There have been many Christmas gifts that have been wonderful through the years, but this year there is one that particularly stands out in my mind. It is one that rests on my mind daily and could not be shaken off if I tried – not that I would want to, for it is a gift that I have desired for years.

Recently I received bad news that threatened to take my peace.  I think disappointments are the hardest for me to live with – for the death of a dream has always been hard for me. I must also admit that the greatest things in my life have come directly after the death of a dream. I find myself tooling along in a happy state, encouraged and hopeful and then bang! The dream is ripped in two and I’m left in the middle of a sad, empty, cold room all alone with no light.  (When I say “I”, I’m including my husband. We take life’s ups and downs together as one person. Along with us has always been my mom – even when she didn’t have an answer, she was always present.)

But this time was different. I can barely believe it myself.  This time, little by little there began to be light. Then a little heat. Next I saw various people I knew sitting near me encouraging me to look up – to see the Savior’s shining face giving hope. I wish I could say I expected it to happen. But I never thought it would. In the past the cold empty room was a sure thing, something that I was used to, something that was familiar. Just me, the Word and nothing else.

But this time was different. It was so different that I feel like I’m living in a different world. Why was it different? People. People made it different and I don’t know why this time it all changed, but it did. I know God did it, but I don’t know why He did it this time. Before it was just Him and me. This time it was Him and me, four daughters, one son, two sons-in-law, one nephew and a niece, a brother, pastor, 5 friends and 4 strangers. Wow.  This time it was different.  It’s like God grabbed people and said to them, “Hey, go walk beside them, they need you right now.” Wow. God did that for me. If you are one of the four daughters, one son, two son-in-laws, one nephew and a niece, a brother, pastor, 5 friends and 4 strangers . . . thank you. I like this new world that God has given me now that you are in it.