[ Godsends ]

A Hunger, Filled

I was walking late on a cold clear Sunday night just before Christmas. The moon was bright and the stars seemed so close. The world was still and quiet.

Our pastor had told the story of Jesus' birth so vividly at church that morning that I could easily imagine the event as I walked. I was stirred to prayer by my gratitude for God's Christmas gift, sent to us those many years ago.

I had recently learned an interesting method of prayer called "five-finger prayer." You use: 1. your thumb (nearest to you) to pray for those closest to you; 2. Your second finger (the pointing finger) to pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. They need wisdom in pointing others in the right direction; 3. Your "tallest" middle finger to remind you to pray for the leaders in the world; 4. Your ring finger, which is your weakest finger, to remind you to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need our prayers day and night; and 5. Your little finger to remind yourself how small you are in relation to God and others. Let your pinkie remind you to pray for yourself.

As I walked, I prayed with five fingers. I prayed gladly for those closest to me, name by name, and then for my pastors, doctors and missionaries. I prayed for our president and other leaders in the world, for the new four- pound baby girl in my family and for all the little and weak ones who need our prayers.

And then I came to myself. Almost casually, I said to God: "Oh, God, I wish You would help me lose some weight." The minute the words were out of my mouth I knew I wasn't praying for the right thing.

Although I didn't hear His audible voice, He "said" to me, "It's not less food that you need, it's more of ME!"

Well, after that shock I knew that what I really needed was to hunger and thirst for Him and I would be satisfied. He wanted to fill up the empty place in me with HIS GREAT LOVE.

I knew it in such a deep way it stopped me in my tracks; my breath caught in my throat. At that exact moment, something lying in the street caught my eye. I don't usually stop and pick up trash out of the street, but I felt compelled to step off the curb and pick it up.

It was an unsigned, unsent new Christmas card that had been run over many times. It was bent and dimpled by tire treads and pavement, but under the streetlight, I saw the most beautiful painting of Mary holding the baby Jesus. Her face held such a look of love and tenderness that my eyes filled with tears of reverence.

I looked at Mary and realized with a holy shock that God, the Awesome Creator of the entire universe, looks at little me, HIS CHILD, with the same tenderness. I let myself feel His loving gaze. I received it. I was filled by His love for me.

Oh, Father, how I do thank You for my very own Christmas miracle and the truth about my hunger.

Anne W.

Dallas, TX