Don Shelby tells about a teenage girl who came from a solid, loving family, but was lured into drugs through her friends at school. In spite of the best efforts from her parents and professional help, this girl kept going back to drugs. She left home and dropped out of sight for awhile, then showed up again at Christmas, more depressed and confused than ever.
One night, her mother went into the daughter's room and told her again how much she loved her. Mom also told her how she was praying for a miracle that would save her. A little while later, the girl left the house and returned about midnight.
The next morning, the mother woke up to find her daughter making breakfast. She had a smile on her face, and looked like a new person. Mom couldn't believe her eyes.
Then that young woman told her mother about the long, desperate walk she took that night. She came back ready to take her own life, because she felt she had failed her parents, her God, and herself.
She sat in her room figuring out the best way to do it. But as she sat there, she found herself looking at a Christmas card someone had sent to her. Her Mom had left it on her bedside table.
The daughter opened the card and saw a painting of Mary responding to the news of the miraculous baby who would be named Jesus. The young woman held the card to her chest, and began to cry out to God for help.
She said she heard a voice saying to her, "Why didn't you ask me for help long before this? I've been here all the time."
She knew it was the voice of the Lord. And she spent the rest of the night walking the floor, while she talked to God and held on to that Christmas card with the picture of Mary saying "yes" to God.
All at once a peace and a release came over her. Her life turned a corner, and began a process of change that continued to grow.
[Adapted from ChristianGlobe.com sermon "The Trance of Non-renewal" by Maxie Dunnam - Zechariah 9:9-13 (Dunnam wrote: "Thanks to Don Shelby for this story, retold by Jack Heacock, 'They Have No Wine,' January 15, 1989.") From a sermon by Rick Crandall, Mary's Message to Us, 12/3/2011]
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Frank Gallagher on Nov 26, 2000
We’ve all read and heard these Bible verses about the shepherds before, taught by pastors and Sunday School teachers at Christmas time. We can even hear these verses on TV each year if we watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Charlie Brown spends the show as so many people do today, looking in all ...read more
Contributed by Mark Haines on Dec 8, 2000
In 1864, one of America’s great poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote the poem which became the well-known carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. When I first heard this song, I wondered, “Why does he suddenly shift from joy at hearing the Christmas bells into such deep ...read more
Contributed by Owen Bourgaize on Dec 6, 2000
In a business magazine I read, there was an article about a company, imaginary I hope, that was planning its Christmas sales campaign. The board of directors was puzzled how they could beat their competitors, then suddenly the chairman had an idea. "We’ll have a crib," he said, getting very ...read more
Contributed by James Wilson on Dec 11, 2000
Christmas shopping, though fun, can be difficult. Did you hear about the guy that bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas? A friend of his said, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty 4-Wheel drive ...read more