Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Christmas Eve. 1972. I was 22 years old.
Back then I knew nothing about theology. I knew nothing about the Sacraments. I knew nothing even about the Scriptures. What I did know, after reading Hal Lindsay’s book of Bible Prophecy, The Late Great Planet Earth, was Jesus is the Messiah God promised to Israel and to the world.
Jesus. The lamb of God who would take away our sins. Even my sins. Even the worst and the darkest of my many sins.
Seven words. “God, I believe Jesus is the Messiah.”
No mouthing words about sin, or a promise of repentance, or a plea for mercy, or a hope for forgiveness. Just, “I believe.”
But what I did not say with my mouth, God heard in my heart – which said to Him, “From this moment I’m going to live for you. With your help, I'm going to walk a holy life. With your help I'm going to serve you for the rest of my life.”
Without even thinking to punctuate my words with action, I got up off my knees, walked to my chest of drawers, grabbed the plastic bag of marijuana and emptied it into the toilet. Then I went to my footlocker, grabbed the porn magazines, and threw them into the dumpster behind my barracks.
On Christmas Eve in 1972 God gave me the most wonderful Christmas gift I could have ever received. He gave me His gift of eternal salvation. He made me a new child in Christ. Old things passed away. Everything became new.
And on Christmas Eve in 1972, I gave God the best gift I could ever have given Him. I gave him my life.
Forty-two years later, it still ranks as the best thing I have ever done in my life.
Happy Birthday, Jesus.