Christmas by Myself – But Far from Alone

Christmas By Myself...But Far from AloneWritten by Jim Kirkland

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth! – Psalm 46:10 ESV

God’s voice can speak loudest in some of the quietest moments. Experiencing this myself made for a most memorable Christmas.

In the early 1990s, I was the program director of a radio station in Richmond. Christmas was on the way, and I always penciled myself in for the 5am-noon shift on December 25th. I was a 20-something bachelor (that didn’t last much longer). Most of the on-air team were married and had family in the area. My hometown was fourteen hours away, by car. Handling wake-up duties on Christmas morning was a small, simple token of my appreciation for them.

The days and nights leading to Christmas were hectic and overstuffed. Weekends were full of live broadcasts and events, evenings booked with parties and gatherings. Plus the added workload of commercial production and preparations for the coming new year. But by Christmas Eve morning, a sense of decompression set in over life. The station’s General Manager had flown out-of-town, the day before, to visit family. Most of the staff left early. Soon, it was just me and the afternoon on-air talent in the building. Though noise was still at peak levels in the studio, the offices were refreshingly quiet for a weekday afternoon. At 6pm, the “Good Times and Great Oldies” gave way to continuous Christmas carols and holiday classics. Frankly, these were the only hours of the year when the Lord had command of the play list.

Driving home into the vibrant orange and purple of a winter sunset, I planned to stop by the grocery store to grab something for dinner. Think again. Even the Golden Arches were dimmed for the night. I don’t recall what I ate, but it was likely tuna fish sandwiches, popcorn, or a frozen pizza. I was a bachelor, and I ate like it.

My home was in Richmond’s Fan District; blocks of turn-of-the-century row houses, shops and restaurants set close to streets usually teaming with a moderate but constant level of commotion.  This evening, all was quiet. Quiet to the point of being noticeable. Not at all eerie; rather, completely peaceful. I was moved. In my apartment, I sat still, admiring the Christmas tree and the meek but colorful glow of the lights framing a house across the street. The only sounds were hushed, nostalgic familiarity of Christmas music from the stereo (remember those?) and an occasional gurgle out of the ancient steam radiator….and all of it was simply powerful. That Christmas Eve, an awareness of awe came over me. A willing surrender to God’s goodness and of His profound love. A reminder of a love so great, He gladly parted with a living son, so that we, the undeserving, could know forgiveness, know Him and know life eternally. That evening, the presence of the Lord was surely upon Strawberry Street, Richmond, VA 23223.

To be honest, my relationship with the Lord during my 20’s was shallow, at best. I’d been away from church for years and the culture ordered my worldview way more than Scripture. I knew Jesus was my Savior but scant evidence was seen in how I lived. It would be several more years before I re-dedicated my life to Christ. Perhaps this makes it all the more profound that God still shared His loving presence on Christmas Eve with a child such as me.

In the silence I heard the Lord. His mercy, His holiness, and His peace. All is well and goodwill toward man, at least for a night and into the next frosty morning. A quarter-century has passed, but each December, I relive that Christmas like it were yesterday. And I recall the unique joy of being by myself, but far from alone.


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