December 22, 2017

Readers share their favorite Christmas memories

‘Is this a sign, Lord?’ After year of loss, Christmas bells plant seeds of faith

Sonny Shanks

It was Christmas night 2011, and I was alone. In the past year, I’d lost my mom, my dad, my job, my home, and my marriage. Even my dog “Buddy” had died. My kids were all grown and gone and lived out of state.

My soul felt as empty as my heart.

Something told me I needed to get up and get out, so I went to the local town square. It was empty too, as all the shops were closed and there was no foot traffic. All the Christmas lights were still on though, and there was music coming from speakers hidden in bushes.

As I walked around the square, pondering about this past year and the one to come, I thought to myself, “No matter what has happened to me, it can’t compare to Christ’s suffering on the cross.”

Just then, I heard church bells ringing from somewhere nearby. I wasn’t sure why there were church bells ringing because it was well after 6 p.m. I followed the sound, and it led me to the local Catholic church. It was closed too, but the bells were ringing.

“Is this a sign, Lord?” I asked out loud as I looked toward the sky. “Should I become Catholic? And while I’m at it, should I stop feeling sorry for myself, give it all to you, move on, and think about ways to help others?”

Just then, the church bells stopped and it started to snow.

(Sonny Shanks is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Corydon.)

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