"I Choose The Cross" Christmas Memory.

The room was dark but for the flicker of candles. A golden hue hovered over us — the glow of 200 candles.

Moved by the Holy Spirit, the pastor admonished those who didn’t know the Lord Jesus as Savior but wanted to give their heart to Him to stand and declare, “I choose the Cross.”

After a moment, one person stood, then another, “I choose the Cross.”

The anointing and weight of the Lord in the room thickened. Sitting three chairs to my left was my sister-in-law. She knew the Lord, but as a young believer still had a lot of questions.

My spirit churned. I knew God was tugging on her heart, drawing her to stand and declare, “I choose the Cross.”

But it was Christmas Eve. A time to reflect on the Baby Jesus, the sweet, innocent Lord that the world can accept. Not the Man Christ Jesus who hung bleeding and dying on a Cross.

Another person stood, “I choose the Cross.”

The presence of the Lord deepened. Palatable. Real. Truth. And in the silence, working to warm cold human hearts.

I wrestled with the idea of urging her to stand. To confirm what she was feeling was the Lord. But, I stayed put in my chair. If the Holy Spirit couldn’t move her to stand, what made me think I could?

“Choose the Cross,” the pastor encouraged. And again we waited… in the candlelight.

Two, maybe three more people stood.

My heart was burning in my chest. I knew my sis-in-law was to stand. In the silence and waiting, the presence of the Lord increased.

We are too quick to leave Him. The silence and the waiting disturbing our sense of self. Funny, I think that’s what it’s supposed to do.

Then, she stood and declared in a voice watery with emotion, “I choose the Cross.”

Even now, I tear up remembering her courage, her fight over fear, over what others might think — come on, we’ve all been there — and declared before the congregation, “I choose Jesus over myself.”

Next to me, my mom wept, and my niece. I couldn’t stop crying. I think my brother and possibly my dad were teary-eyed.

After the service, when the candles were blown out and the house lights brought up, I didn’t have the sense of “it’s over” like I normally did after the Christmas Eve service.

I had a sense of awe and wonder. Of joy! The Lord HAS come. He came that night, just like He did 2000 years ago.

The feeling stayed with me all through Christmas. Hearing my sis-in-law declare those words trumped any gift giving or food specialties.

“I choose the Cross.” Not words we see often on a Christmas card or in greeting, but this season, I declare myself, “I choose the Cross.”

That Christmas remains one of my favorites of all time. What about you? Do you have an unusual Christmas memory to share?

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