December 23, 2016

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

Make time beyond Christmas to stay in touch with God

Debra TomaselliAlthough I’m a writer, I never send Christmas letters describing the family events of the past year.

Rather, I struggle with ticking deadlines counting the days awaiting my Christmas column. Tossing and turning, I wonder: Who am I to write about such a miraculous occasion? How can I capture the glory of the season? What can I say that hasn’t been said? Lord, help me.

But, just as Christ was born in a humble manger, it is in the most ordinary events of our lives that our Lord appears and, for me, that’s just how the following story came alive.

Inspiration appeared in the form of a simple e-mail, which I received one recent Christmas season. At the time, I wrote this story. With my fervent prayers, I now share it with you:

I had just finished reading an e-mail from a dear friend named Ann. Our paths hadn’t crossed in months, and Ann expressed sadness about that, closing with the following statement: Please stay in touch, I think of you so often.

It might as well have been penned by the hand of God himself.

He thought of us over 2,000 years ago when he sent his Son to redeem the world. He thought of us while we were yet in our mother’s womb. He thinks of us today, in each moment of our lives, in every circumstance of our day.

The question is: Do we stay in touch?

In these days leading to Christmas, as I crawl in traffic snarls around shopping centers, race from department stores to specialty shops, and spend hours online making holiday purchases, I wonder if my preparations have been more about consumerism than the One whose birth we are to celebrate.

There are meals to be planned, parties to attend and gifts to be wrapped. The “to-do” list is long. I stop at the local mall, and suddenly, everything changes.

Unexpectedly, I hear resilient trumpets squeal ‘Joy to the World’ amidst tinkling Salvation Army bells. A fellow shopper extends a courtesy, and dusk delivers a chorus of lights shimmering from nearby rooftops. Please stay in touch, I hear our God say, I think of you so often.

Later, I open my Bible and study the birth of Christ in the first chapter of Luke. The account captures a sense of joy and expectation, excitement and wonder. As I begin to read and pray, my focus shifts. I ponder Mary and Joseph’s trust in God and the unassuming beginnings of his plan of salvation.

As I contemplate the story, the endless “to do” list loses its importance. Instead, the Christ Child arrives in the manger of my heart, delivering harmony and stillness, tranquility and goodwill.

This Christmas, may you discover peaceful joys, quiet moments and the everlasting love of Christ. Born in humble surroundings, his presence transcends all ages and reaches into our times, our activities and our hearts. Christ is eternally present to us, God’s gift to all mankind.

And let’s promise to stay in touch.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at

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