Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. James 1:17
Growing up, my sister and I were well aware that our family was not “normal.” My mother’s addiction to alcohol infiltrated her body and brain, her personality, her moral compass, her approach to raising her children, and her ever-deteriorating feelings for my father. My father approached my mother’s “problem” full-on, like the military training he had received in his lifetime of service to our nation. Mother pushed, Daddy pushed back, and sometimes my sister and I literally had to pull the two of them off one another for fear they would do each other serious bodily damage.
One December, one or both parents decided our family should take a car trip to Disneyland. We embarked on an anxious drive from Colorado to Anaheim, California, arriving on Christmas Eve. On a whim, my father decided we needed a tree to decorate our little motel kitchenette unit. He left for about an hour, returning with a four-foot hot pink, metallic tree, which he had picked up for free as the lot was closing. He set it up in the middle of our unit. Gifts for us girls materialized as we waited for the inevitable argument—which never came. It was many years later, after I became a parent myself, that it occurred to me we experienced a Christmas blessing that night. My father was determined to make our Christmas festive, and he succeeded. My mother was more mellow than we had seen her in ages. Disneyland was fun, but the best part of our trip was gathering around that little pink tree and celebrating the birth of Christ quietly with each other.
Today’s Scripture from the book of James says “every good gift comes down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” How often do we take for granted all the presents we give and receive each Christmas, when each of them is really a special gift from God? This year, and every year, we can thank the Lord for all of our blessings: for families whole or fractured; for good health and God’s care in illness; for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and for free blessings bestowed by God.
Father of Lights, open our eyes to the richness of Your grace this Christmas. Amen
Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors. Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .