Down through the years, I’ve heard some people dismissing God as a silly myth. I’ve heard others declaring that God is far away and unconcerned with the puny mortals inhabiting the Earth. I might have bought into their opinions if I hadn’t experienced something unexplainable at 2:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve long ago.
When I was in middle school, I was worried and concerned about many things—especially my looks. Even though I was young, I was almost six feet tall. I towered over my classmates. I felt like a hulking giant. Cinderella had tiny, dainty feet, but my feet were enormous. I definitely wasn’t princess material. I was awkward, clumsy, and at times, painfully shy. Life–as I saw it–wasn’t easy.
During Christmas vacation, I tried pushing my worries aside, but I couldn’t manage it. When I went to bed, my troubles swirled around me like a big, black cloud. I tossed and turned. I thought about my problems and tried to find solutions. Unless I wanted to chop my feet off at the ankles, there weren’t any. I desperately wanted to be pretty, but in my opinion, I was just a freak of nature.
By the time Christmas Eve arrived, I was a moody, grumbly, icky mess. I couldn’t sleep again, so at 2:00 a.m. I crept from my bedroom and went to the living room. My parents and siblings were all fast asleep. Padding across the carpet in my bare feet, I plugged in the lights of the Christmas tree and sat on the couch to watch the embers flickering in the fireplace. Turning my head, I looked out the window and saw Orion twinkling in the inky black sky.
I sat for a long time, reviewing my problems and mourning the fact that I wasn’t “princess” material. I felt like a weirdo—an ugly weirdo. I wished things could be different—that I could be different.
As a tear snaked down my cheek, I saw my mother’s music box on the window ledge. The music box depicted a lovely angel playing a piano. I had always loved that music box. Even when I was little, listening to it play “Silent Night” would fill me with joy.
Even though I felt awful, I picked it up and wound it. Deafening silence cowered and slunk away as the music box played. As the soft sounds of “Silent Night” filled the room, my turmoil started to recede. When the music ended, I wound the music box and listened to the song again. As Orion made his way slowly through the dark sky, I listened to “Silent Night” over and over.
About the tenth time through, I started singing the lyrics softly, “Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright.”
I looked at the flickering embers. I studied the lights of the Christmas tree. I tipped my face up to the sky and watched Orion.
As the music box wound down and the music stopped, I sat in silence staring at the fire. Suddenly, I felt a warm peace surrounding me. It felt as if a cloud of love was wrapping around my body, encasing me in a soft, heavy quilt. Sighing, I closed my eyes. The peace in the room was so thick—so tangible—that I felt I could touch it. I sighed again.
My eyes popped open. The peace and love surrounding me increased. Again the voice said, “I made you. And I love you for who you are.”
As I sat on the couch blinking, the voice said firmly once again, “I made you. And I love you for who you are.”
The peace and love that I was feeling was overwhelming, and suddenly, it was mixed with unspeakable joy. I looked down at my huge feet and smiled. God made my huge feet. God LIKED my huge feet! I studied my impossibly long legs and grinned. God designed my legs. He LIKED my legs. Standing, I went and looked at my reflection in a mirror. I studied my messy hair, my crooked teeth, the pimple on my chin—and I smiled. God made me. God LOVED me. God LIKED me just as I was!
Standing in the middle of the living room, I hugged myself. Tipping my face up toward the ceiling, I whispered, “I kinda like you too, God.”
“Cheer up, don’t be afraid. For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a might Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you in great gladness; He will love you and not accuse you. Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord Himself exulting over you in happy song.” Zephaniah 3:16b-18a