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A2 Advent Devotional • December 17, 2010

by Wendi Thomson

I don’t remember my first Christmas, being that I was only six weeks old. But it was one of significance for my family. And lately, as challenges have come my way, I’ve been recalling the lessons my family learned during that time.

Every year my parents would drive the 1000 miles from Seattle to Dinuba, California in the San Joaquin Valley to spend the holidays with relatives. The Christmas of 1966 was the first time I would meet my extended family and my grandmother, in particular, was looking forward to our arrival. Though she did not talk openly about it, Grandma knew she was dying of heart disease and exhibited great determination to see her youngest grandchild before passing on. She had a reason beyond the usual. 

That year my parents had been building their “dream” house, working closely with the architect to think through every material, every detail. The house was just days from being finished and most belongings had been moved into the new home when a stranger with mental problems burned the house to the ground.

Of course my parents were stunned by this setback. They lost the house, many of their possessions (including photos), and were wrapped up in legal wranglings. Grandma feared for the health of my mom as she was five months pregnant at the time. She also worried that this trauma would somehow leave a mark on the baby. Hence, she determined to stay alive to see me with her own eyes, if she could.

As Christmas approaches, I turn to the story of the annunciation to read Mary’s response when the angel Gabriel reveals she will give birth to the Savior of the world. In an instant, Mary’s life path veers from any she might have imagined. And yet, when God intrudes into her life, Mary welcomes his coming with joy, calling herself blessed.

Again and again throughout her life, Mary’s faithfulness requires complete trust in a heavenly Father who is good and loving despite the pain obedience demands. 

I see that same faith in my parents. They never talk about the house fire or other challenging times without mentioning the many blessings that followed. Grandma needn’t have worried. Foundational to their faith is the knowledge that our God can be trusted.

In my life, God has repeatedly proved himself good, loving, and merciful. He has never failed to provide every necessary thing, for he has great plans and nothing is impossible with him. Even when things are tough, when ministry doesn’t go as planned, when God changes the course of my plans, I have the rock-solid truth to stand on that God is Sovereign. And I can answer as Mary did, “Let it be with me just as you say.

Two days after my grandmother first held me, she went to be with Jesus. I hope that as she looked upon me, she was assured that God is in control and He is worthy of our trust. 

Wendi Thomson 

Wendi Thomson
Church Multiplication Missionary
Sanda, Japan

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