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Summary: Christmas is more than just fancy wrappings and bright lights. If we are truly honest with ourselves and God, we too must confess, that our hearts are empty stalls that to be filled with a Saviour!

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1." WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW?"....THE QUESTION ECHOED SOMEWHERE INSIDE OF MY HEAD! IT WAS ALMOST AS THOUGH IT WERE SYNCHRONIZED, BETWEEN MY FOOT FALLS ON THE PAVEMENT.

2. I HAD BEEN SEARCHING HIGH AND LOW FOR THE PERFECT STORY, A STORY THAT I HAD HOPED TO READ IN CHURCH TONIGHT. MAYBE EVEN SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN USUAL. SOMETHING NEAT AND TIDY....I THOUGHT TO MYS SELF....AFTER ALL...IT IS CRISTMAS EVE.

3. CHRISTMAS EVE. I HAVE MY MEMORIES, JUST AS YOU HAVE YOURS. I TRIED TO COUNT HOW MANY TIMES I HAD HEARD THE STORY ABOUT MARY, JOSEPH, THE SHEPHERDS, THE ANGELS AND BABY JESUS...... SINCE I WAS A CHILD. THE COUNT WAS A SHORT ONE, YET I KNEW THAT NOT A YEAR HAS GONE BY, WHERE I HAVEN’T HEARD THE STORY AT LEAST ONCE, IN PART, IF NOT IN FULL.

4. OVER THE YEARS IT HAS BECOME FAMILIAR.....SO FAMILIAR THAT IT ALMOST SEEMED PLAIN.....AS MY MIND WANDERED, MY BODY BECAME OBLIVIOUS TO THE STING OF COLD AIR BEING DRAWN INTO MY LUNGS....THE LITTLE VOICE ECHOED AGAIN AND BROUGHT MY THOUGHTS BACK INTO FOCUS: "WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW?".

5. I COULDN’T FIND MY STORY.....AT LEAST THE STORY I HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR. AT FIRST, IT STARTED OUT AS A CHALLENGE. THE BOOK HAD A SPECIAL PLACE ON MY SHELF. I TREASURED IT. IT AWAKENED MY MIND AND STIRRED MY IMAGINATION........IT WAS FILLED WITH SHORT STORIES ABOUT JESUS LIFE. I LOVED THAT BOOK AND I KNEW EXACTLY WHERE IT WAS....AT LEAST I THOUGHT I DID.

6. BUT WHEN I WENT TO THE PLACE IT HAD ALWAYS BEEN, I DISCOVERED IT MISSING....GIVING YET ANOTHER OCCASION FOR THE LITTLE VOICE IN MY HEAD TO SPEAK....."D’UH.....REMEMBER....YOU GAVE IT AWAY...."BY THIS TIME, I WAS WELL INTO THE RHYTHM OF RUNNING. THE CHILL OF THE COOL AIR HAD FINALLY FADED, AND I WAS STARTING TO WARM UP.

7. MY THOUGHTS DRIFTED BACK TO THE BOOK. IT WAS, AFTER ALL, A POPULAR PIECE OF WORK.. THE STORIES IT CONTAINED WERE GRIPPING. THEY WERE PERFECT FOR SHARING BECAUSE THE WORDS WERE ELOQUENT. NO NEED TO PANIC. I KNEW AT LEAST FOUR CLOSE FRIENDS WHO HAD PURCHASED IT. ALL THAT I HAD TO DO WAS CALL THEM, AND MAKE ARRANGEMENTS TO PICK IT UP.

8. ONE BY ONE, I CYCLED THROUGH THE MENTAL LIST I HAD MADE, AND CALLED EACH OF MY FRIENDS IN TURN. ONE BY ONE CAME THE REPLIES...."UHH....YOU KNOW WHAT....ITS KIND OF STRANGE CAUSE I JUST HAD IT, BUT I CAN’T FIND IT ANYWHERE"

9. SUDDENLY, THE LIST GREW. BEFORE LONG, ALL LOGIC AND REASON HAD BEEN THROWN OUT THE WINDOW.I BEGAN TO CALL PEOPLE I BARELY KNEW....."YEAH....WHO AM I?.....JONATHAN.....NO, NO, ITS JO-NATH-AN.....MCKAY...., THAT’S RIGHT MCKAY..........NO, NO, M-C.......NOT MAC"

10. THREE CHRISTAN BOOKSTORES LATER, AND STILL I CAME UP EMPTY. THE REPLIES WERE THE SAME....."WE JUST SOLD OUR LAST COPY, RIGHT BEFORE YOU CALLED...." I COULDN’T EVEN FIND A COPY IN FRENCH.

11. FINALLY, IN THE PIT OF DESPARATION, I COMPLAINED WHOLE-HEARTEDLY TO A FRIEND. "IT WAS THE PERFECT STORY FOR CHRISTMAS EVE....." "IT HAD ALL THE ELEMENTS THAT MAKE A STORY PERFECT....IT WAS INTRIGUING, IT WAS BEAUTIFUL, THE WORDS WERE PRETTY....IT SOUNDED SO NICE...." IT WAS NEAT AND TIDY, NOT TOO DEEP, NOT TOO PERSONAL....IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE WRAPPING ON THE GIFT....."


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