For this Christmas holiday, I’m taking a step away from the news and taking some time to reflect on my favorite Christmas memory.
It was 2008, and I was a junior in college. It had been a difficult year personally for a variety of reasons.
Like many college students, I hadn’t attended church since I left home and moved on campus. Which is probably why my life had gone so wrong at that point.
Late in the semester, I ran into a friend from high school I hadn’t talked to in years. And she did what so many of us neglect to do, because we think it’s not important: She invited me to church.
The church was True Vine Ministries in Spencer, Oklahoma. It was an old church with a seasoned congregation and a Southern Baptist tradition.
I first visited during Wednesday night Bible study on Christmas Eve. There was nothing particularly special about that service, but it changed my life.
The love shown to me by complete strangers as soon as I walked in. The joy of the singing. The power of the preached word. It was inspiring.
I rededicated my life to Christ, got baptized, and became a member of that church, which I attended for nearly six more years before moving to Texas. The relationships I built there will last a lifetime.
I’ve gotten many great gifts, been to some fun holiday parties, and seen some amazing Christmas light shows, but no Christmas memory can ever have more significance than the Christmas Eve when God brought me back, and reminded me why we have that holiday in the first place.