The Christmas I was six we lived in a small white frame house on Washington Road in Augusta, Ga.

It was a scary time of life…my family had just moved from Dallas, Texas to this strange southern city.

Along with that, I started first grade later than all the other kids so I didn’t learn how to correctly pass scissors and I had a new baby sister who got too much of my parent’s attention.

I also had weird nightmares about a tiger getting its middle chewed out.

Washington Road was being widened so there was a ditch the size of the grand canyon in front of our house and we were warned daily about slipping into it and never being able to get out. My brother and I must have been angry a lot, because my mother hung pillows from a tree in the back yard and told us to hit them instead of each other when we got mad.

Our house had a furnace in the hallway and the heat never seemed to get to my bedroom. In the mornings, my brother and I would grab our clothes and run to the heater where it was warm, to get dressed.  Our house was infested with mice, so each day there was a fresh supply of flattened mice in little mousetraps. I lost my first tooth and when it fell out of my mouth it completely disappeared so the tooth fairy couldn’t come.

Yes, it was a scary time.

That is probably why I remember Christmas Eve so well the year I was six years old.

I remember the anticipation of Santa Claus coming and all that it meant; magic, new toys, possibly candy, something special just for me. I lay in bed on Christmas Eve trying to go to sleep but I was just too excited. I kept getting up and getting sent back to bed by my parents. I was so excited I felt like I would explode.

Then I heard it!  The sound of Santa’s sleigh hitting the roof. It was unmistakeable! What should I do? I remember lying in bed paralyzed with excitement and fear at the same time. Suddenly Santa Claus himself appeared in my bedroom door, peeking in to check on me.

Then it was morning. There, under the Christmas Tree was a magical array of toys and gifts that Santa had left. Special gifts for each of us, for me!

When I think back on the year I was six, this is the one event I remember with awe and wonder. In a very scary, very new, very unsettled world, I found hope and wonder in a gift…for me.

The feelings I had at six and the experiences of my world then seem to me a perfect picture of the true Christmas Story. A dark and confusing world, into which God sent His Son, a special gift, just for me…just for you.

My hope for you this Christmas is that you will experience the excitement, fear, awe and wonder of the absolute mystery of God’s gift to you in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.  That you will feel and know His love for you.  That you will be comforted in this dark and confusing world by God’s Son.

Merry CHRISTmas!