That Christmas God spoke to me gently.
That Christmas, about ten years ago started a miracle in my life.
That Christmas was different because it changed my attitude and started a process of healing and reconciliation.
My family and I were on Christmas vacation in our hometown. We were happily dining at a chicken rice outlet when I heard people coming into the eatery. But a voice, a familiar voice shot through my heart. I wanted to turn round to greet that voice with eagerness. However, a sudden surge of past hurt engulfed me and stopped me from doing so. That joyful feeling turned into huge waves of unstoppable turmoil. I could not bear to hear her voice any longer. I told my hubby to leave as I rushed out of the eatery. He was surprised but followed.
In the car I told him that my enemy was in there and I was overwhelmed with mixed feelings. On the way home, memories of hurting events came flooding into my mind drowning my joy. But deep inside me, a gentle voice asked, “Isn’t Christmas a time of forgiveness and reconciliation? Jesus was born for that purpose and as God’s children, aren’t we asked to do what God asks?”
I was very unsettled and I repented, telling God that I was willing but I had missed the opportunity. I had not seen her for over thirty years and I didn’t have her contact or whatsoever, how could I make up?
After my sincere prayer for forgiveness, strange things happened. My old classmate, my ‘enemy’, called me up. She said she had asked about me from other classmates and found my contact number. As she was leaving the next day, she wanted to meet me the next trip. Her voice was full of cheer and there was no trace of bitterness. It seemed that she had no memory of the past incidents. Yet I had ‘imprisoned’ her all these years. I had suffered for nothing.
That Christmas I tried to free her from my heart’s prison but it was not easy. The prison cell was locked with too many layers of bars and grills. To forgive and forget is easier said than done, but to apply to real life needs a lot of prayers and the mercy of God.
With a lot of prayers, I slowly peeled off layer by layer of hurt and hatred. God showed me his grace and I could speak about my hurt more calmly. I was not so agitated as before. Forgiving is a chain reaction. It involves with many other people in the process.
It took another ten years for us to speak to each other freely, for me to have the courage to tell her that I forgive her. Then, she only realised my hurt and also begged forgiveness. That little word, ‘I am sorry’ worked like a miracle which broke the chains in my heart preparing me for the healing.
Now we can share and laugh together. This Christmas will be a closure to my struggle with the past. Making peace with the past and saying goodbye to bygones help greatly in cleansing the soul and uplifting the spirit.
God is great. He will show a way to change the situation when we are willing to obey!
By Chris of Tawau, Sabah