the midst of the hurry of Christmas we are prone to forget the message
of Christmas―the miracle of a changed heart. But this morning as I read
one particular Bible verse I remember once again, as I do every
Christmas, the miracle that Christ's love made in my life one Christmas
morning when I was fourteen.
“I will give you a new heart and
put a new spirit in you,” I read. “I will remove from you your heart of
stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Fifty years ago
this verse might not have meant much to me, but years later I would
understand that this was the miracle the Lord had rendered in my stony
heart that Christmas morning.
My father served that year as an
interim Justice of the Peace in Woodstock, Georgia. We were in the midst
of opening presents when the doorbell rang. A woman with two little
children stood on the doorstep.
Daddy guided them into the kitchen, and Mother followed. We three
children were left in the living room with our grandparents. No one said
anything. Why did these people have to interrupt our time together? We
couldn’t open our presents without Mother and Daddy. I heard Mother in
the kitchen preparing food. They would be around all the day, and it
would spoil everything! I looked through the living room door. The woman
sat at the kitchen table with Daddy listening to his soft voice. She
nodded every few seconds. Daddy handed her a pen, and she signed some
papers on the table. The little girl sat in her lap. The boy held on to
her arm, his thumb in his mouth, tears streaming down his cheek. Mother
came into the living room to tell us that a warrant had been sworn out
against the woman’s husband, and they would stay with us until he had
I was angry. Our Christmas was no longer pure
and untouched. Ugliness had come into our home. The little boy
unexpectedly came into the living room, toddled over to me, and placed
his curly head on my knee. One little blue eye gazed up at me. The soft
skin around it was swollen. I slowly reached down and stroked his
reddened cheek. Everything changed in that instant. The ugliness had not
invaded our home this morning. The ugliness had been in me.
changed heart is what God requires. It is an on-going process for Him
to keep my heart and your heart spiritually soft as flesh. My Christmas
prayer for you and for me is that our hearts would continually break for
Him, and that we would always have a heart that He can move.