Without steady income, my mother and I planned new living arrangements. She moved in with my sister, Diane, while I moved in with my sister, Denise. This was our first time living apart and I came to realize how much I depended on her.
As a full-time student in beauty school, my budget was limited. During this younger stage, I was wrapped up in a secular lifestyle and oblivious to God. Instead, my focus was on myself; a girl who wanted to have fun.
Caught up in one whirlwind romance one after another, I yearned for something deeper and more meaningful. Being that I was raised without religion or biblical knowledge, I looked everywhere, except my Heavenly Maker. Experimenting with alcohol, drugs, and sex became my norm. A destructive path leading to complete darkness.
On Christmas morning, I woke up very early. My first thought upon waking was, "This Christmas Day will be like no other."
Rolling over to snuggle under my warm covers, it occurred to me that my mom worked so hard throughout her life as a single parent to give my sister's and I plenty of gifts. Since she was recuperating and unemployed, she couldn't afford the extra expense. It would be my first Christmas Day in which I wasn't lavished with presents.
Pondering this circumstance, I couldn't help, but question, "What is Christmas truly about? If we take away the gifts and commercialism, what's left to celebrate?"
Leaning over my nightstand, I turned on the radio and discovered a Christian station sharing the birth of Jesus. I learned that this precious baby was sent to our world to live in the flesh as a man. His purpose was to not only forgive us of our sins, but to die a brutal death on the cross so we would have eternal life.
Quietly soaking in each word to process this information, a peace unlike any other washed over me. In the stillness of early dawn, I felt the presence of God for the first time. All sorrow and loneliness drifted away. Instead, I was filled with gratitude.
Despite only one present waiting for me under the decorated tree, it was the best holiday I ever experienced. A Christmas unlike any other. The memorable day when Jesus gave me a gift of hope.