When They Prayed
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES   I chose the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference session, “When They Prayed,” based on Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they ...
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A Christmas miracle in April

December 19, 2016

My lovely Christmas ball hangs on the back door of my kitchen, visible yet hidden away from the rest of our family gatherings. I keep the ball there to always remind me of the most influential woman in my life, the one who created the Christmas ball when I was a young girl.

My sweet mama. 

I remember watching her make this and other Christmas balls from a round piece of Styrofoam covered with cloth, ribbons and sequins. She kept a bowl of those balls on our coffee table every Christmas. But one ball was special, always hanging from the door between our living room and hall.

Into that ball she placed a music box, with a lever extending below to start the music of Silent Night. An artificial sprig of mistletoe hung down from the ball, making it the delight of my sister and me every Christmas. We loved to get under the ball and challenge another family member to give us a kiss under the mistletoe.

So many years have passed since those happy days of my childhood, and when mama went to heaven, I was so happy to have this ball in my possession. Every Christmas, I carried on the tradition with my husband. “Roy,” I would tease. “I’m standing under the mistletoe!” Always, I received a hug and a kiss from my beloved.

In April 2009, Roy, changed his residence from earth to heaven. It seems like yesterday. It seems like forever. I didn’t feel like putting up the Christmas ball during those few years of sickness before he died. So it had not been touched in at least two years on the day of my Christmas miracle in April.

The day before his funeral, my large family gathered for a meal friends had provided. After everyone filled their plates, I walked slowly behind them. I didn’t feel like eating, but I could try. Alone, since the others were already sitting either in the kitchen or the den, I walked by the Christmas ball. Suddenly, it started playing a line from Silent Night. Stunned, I asked everyone if they heard what I heard. They did. I could never try to explain how this happened. I only know that it happened, and that no one in my home had turned the music lever. But, someone had.

My mama? An angel? I don’t know. But, as quickly as I heard the music, a silent message descended into my heart from Mama. “Roy is with me, and you’ll be all right.” 

Sometimes God moves into moments of our lives with unexpected beauty, and because He is wise enough not to give us these moments daily, they come to us with believable strength and purpose. On the day before Roy’s funeral, God showed up in an ordinary kitchen in Chula, Georgia and graced my life with strength. 

“Roy, I’m standing under the mistletoe,” I used to tease. On that day, both Mama and Roy held me and kissed me with kisses of hope for my future. I will forget many things in my life. But the beauty and joy of that day will forever hold me in its embrace. 

God has more Christmas miracles for His children. Maybe you will find yours this Christmas.

The Rev. B.J. Funk, associate pastor of Central UMC in Fitzgerald, has written a book with 50 devotionals on grief based on her personal experience. “Grief is not a Permanent Condition: 50 Devotionals to Help You Through the Grieving Process” points the reader to Jesus and the hope found in Him. Visit www.bjfunkgrief.com for more information and to order. Email Rev. Funk at bjfunk@bellsouth.net.

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