New Beginning

Advent 2012: Setting Captives Free

 …from our old life to new life in Christ

It was Christmas Eve at the Jacob’s.  Bing was crooning familiar carols from the boom box in the living room, while Jim put the finishing touches on a home project down the hall. Megan was in the kitchen, taking advantage of a napping baby, wrapping presents and working on dinner. Justin was busy being a three-year-old, jumping off the walls with excitement for Santa’s arrival.

“I’m gonna go pick up mom,” Jim said, carrying his toolbox through the kitchen.

“Jim wait! Can you please stop by the store and pick up butter? Oh, and get a quart of egg nog while you’re there. But non-alcoholic, this time,” Megan said with a giggle. Jim set his toolbox on the counter and wrapped his arms around his wife.

“Thank you,” he said, looking into her blue eyes.

“For what?” Megan asked, wiping the sweat off her forehead. A trail of flour remained sprinkled across her brow.

“For forgiving me. For being willing to give me another chance,” Jim said. He softly blew the flour from her eyebrow and kissed her on the forehead.

“Go on, now. I need you back here by six,” Megan said, giving him a swat on the rear.

It was a quarter-till when Jim arrived back with his mom. As they walked in the house, they could smell the roast turkey and hot rolls. Megan turned from setting the table and greeted Carol with a gentle hug, while Jim hung up her coat.

“Did you tell her yet?” Megan asked.

“Not yet,” Jim answered. ”I was waiting until I could show her.” Carol looked at both of them with a confused look. “Mom, we have something to show you. Come with me.”

The three of them walked down the hall, followed by their rambunctious little three-year-old. When they got to the end of the hall, Jim opened the door revealing his latest project. He had finally finished the spare room and bath. Carol gasped and smiled. She nodded her head in approval. “Mom, this is your room,” Jim announced. “We want you to come live with us. You’ll have this side of the house to yourself, and you’ll even have your own bathroom. What do you think?”

Carol was astonished. Her eyes glistened with gratitude as she gave her son a hug.

“I’ll take that as a yes, then,” Jim chuckled. Carol nodded and smiled, hugging him one more time.

“Well, dinner’s just about ready, so let’s eat,” Megan said. “Carol, I realize you can’t eat yet, because of you jaw, so I had Jim pick up some egg nog today. I know it’s one of your favorites.” Carol nodded and smiled.

As the family gathered around the table, Justin immediately reached for the spoon sitting in the mashed potatoes.

“Just a minute, buddy, we’re gonna say a prayer first,” his daddy said. Everyone appeared a bit surprised, then awkwardly bowed their heads and closed their eyes.

“Dear God, thanks for everything,” Jim prayed. ”Thanks for helping me get into recovery, and for my friend and sponsor, Joe. Thanks for helping mom start to heal and for providing us with a place where she could come live with us. Thanks for Megan, for fixing this great meal, but more importantly, for her love and forgiveness. Thank you for little Hannah Joy, who brought us a ray of sunshine during the darkest time of our lives. We’re grateful for a safe and healthy delivery.  We already can’t imagine life without her. And thanks for our happy little man, Justin. I hope he gets everything he asked for from Santa.” Justin looked up  and saw his daddy wink at him.

Then Jim continued, “And God, thanks for dad, may he rest in peace. Thank you for breaking the chains that have kept our family hostage all these many years. Thanks for freeing us from our past hurt and into your HOPE, for bringing PEACE into our lives and home, for restoring JOY in the midst of painful circumstances and for the LOVE we experience through you. And finally, thank you for sending baby Jesus to save us. And it’s in his name we pray, Amen.”

Just as they began eating, the baby woke from her nap and started crying. Megan sighed and stood up to get her, but Carol indicated she wanted to help, so Megan gratefully accepted her offer. As the family enjoyed Christmas dinner, Carol gently cradled her newborn granddaughter in her arms, and softly quieted her, humming, “Silent Night, Holy Night.”

 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, 
you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles 
and for glory to your people Israel.”              Luke 2:29-32


Merry Christmas,

Tom Wideman

December 25, 2012

To read this story from the beginning, click here.


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