Christmas Presence

“I just want to make one more stop,” I told my best friend as we walked into the little shop in our outdated mall. Our purses hung over our shoulders, and our hair was curled; just two teenage girls pretending to be adults as we did our last-minute Christmas shopping just a short week before Christmas time. Bending over intensely eyeing the tea selection, a woman suddenly dropped, nearly on me. Time paused, my heart skipped a beat and I bent down asking, “ma’am, are you okay?” One word, followed by a long pause, another word with a deep inhalation led me to the knowledge that she had overdosed on an entire bottle of pills and was not okay. I told the lady at the counter to call 911, and in a moment of having no idea what to do, the Holy Spirit did. I held her sweaty body in my arms, and remember thinking she had the sweetest freckles on her face. She told me her legs were numb and it was crawling up her body. Panic was reflected in her eyes and she trembled as I held her. “Do you know Jesus loves you?” Without knowing what else to do, I began to tell her what life after this looks like as a believer in Jesus. I didn’t know if this was her end to earthly life or not, but I knew that the only thing I could offer her was, Him- Christ the Savior of the World. In the moment where time felt still, I remember feeling God’s angels surround us, and peace was somehow felt in a moment where fear was expected. “Do you believe?” I asked her, and on that floor in the little shop, she said yes to Jesus.

After the paramedics showed up and put her on the stretcher, my Jen grabbed my arm and we walked to the little bench outside the shop. We looked at each other and began to cry. Overwhelmed, not only by the situation, but because we both witnessed a precious soul completely hopeless, dejected and lost. I hadn’t known what that would look like, but when I saw it, it was worse than I thought. Not knowing whatever happened to that woman, I always kept praying for her, asking God that she would never forget saying yes to Jesus that day. I prayed He would fill her with hope, the only hope that Christ can give, the best gift of all, His presence, His redemption, His peace and Him, all of Him. 

Years later, I was at the checkout at the JC Penny’s when big, almond eyes stared at me from across the counter, and I saw the sweet freckles. I knew it was her. She must have thought I was crazy as tears welled up in my eyes. I went on and on asking questions about how she was and what her day was like? But I never mentioned what happened that day in the little shop. I walked away thanking the Lord for life and hope.

I found a little sign at hobby lobby this weekend that says, “The magic of Christmas is not in the presents, but in His Presence.” I bought it and now it sits on our shelf as a constant reminder that our hurting world needs not another earlthy gift, but the best gift of all, Christ our Savior. His presence, His peace, His joy and kindness, His gift of salvation for all who repent and say yes to Him. His love, His understanding, His wisdom, and guidance cannot compare to the any other gift that anyone can offer. Let us, this Christmas, give the gift of leading others to His Presence. In a world that needs hope, more hope, lots more hope, let us focus on how we can offer the best gift in the world. Let us pray that hearts will be open and receive. Let us have eyes to see the hurting and the hopeless and lead them to His Presence. Christmas is beautiful, it is fun and festive, but let us not forget that Christmas represents the best gift that has ever been given to our world, Jesus, our hope.   

Published by Emily Rodewald

Emily is a writer and worship leader. She has written several worship songs, she is a co-author or two children's books and has begun writing about the light of Jesus in her blog at She is a co-founder of Parallel Ministries and a mom of two boys, George and Oliver. She has been married for 13 years to the man of her dreams, Daniel. She and her family live in beautiful Montana where they enjoy taking the boys fishing, going on adventures, and renovating their new home.

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