“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another … If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” -1 John 4:11-12
The morning air is chilly. And though I’m young, I hobble along, gritting my teeth through the pain in my hips and knees. My body aches in the aftermath of yesterday’s convulsions. But I need to walk; it’s the only way to break the cycle of exhaustion. This is life with Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome.
I try to focus on the quiet beauty of our neighborhood. Frost glitters on the grass and fallen leaves. As I turn the corner, the sun peeks through frozen trees and thaws my face a little. I thank the Lord for sunshine in winter.
Up ahead, a group of parents huddles together while their kiddos play tag. I watch as they scramble for their backpacks and clamber onto the big yellow school bus. Chattering children wave from the windows. I try to smile, but it’s a weary attempt. They are so young and energetic! As the bus rumbles away, I can’t help feeling left behind. And old. And tired.
The next street is darker and colder now, overhung with thick pines and covered in shadows. I can see my breath, and I’m really straining now. I shiver in spite of my fluffy coat. I’m nearing the halfway point on my route, which means I’m committed. I can’t turn back for a shortcut home. And suddenly I wonder: Can I make it?
Slowly, slowly. Step by step. I think of The Little Engine That Could. “I think I can, I think I can.” I stare at the ground, concentrating on each painful step.
Suddenly a clear voice rings through the air: “Good morning!” I look up in surprise and search for the source. From across the yard, I spy a rosy-cheeked lady wearing a blue plaid jacket and jeans, waving energetically from her front porch. I can’t help noticing her resemblance to Mrs. Claus, complete with curly grey hair and spectacles. “Merry Christmas!” she shouts. Delighted, I wave back and cry, “Merry Christmas!”
“Oh, thank you!” she replies as she scampers off the porch. Then she slings her giant purse over her shoulder and climbs into a little red car. My heart swells with gratitude. I continue walking for a bit, then turn to watch her back out of the driveway. Tears well up in my eyes as I watch her zip away.
The truth is: this might seem like a little thing, but it was not little to me. It was the perfect gift, at the perfect time. Just when I needed a cheerleader, my neighbor was there. I was alone, suffering, in pain. And the Lord sent me a blue plaid Christmas angel.
This year, as we celebrate Christmas, my wish for you is this: May we have the courage and insight to be angels for others. And may we pause to recognize and honor those who minister as angels to us.
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