Paul was a typical young man. He went to school, played with his friends, climbed trees and ran after his dog. He followed the norm for children his age. Charles and Martha, Paul’s parents, shared a house. So did Juan and Natalie, his siblings.
A Christmas Blow – Reflections on God
Paul’s life was blissful and peaceful. However, his life changed abruptly towards the end of the year and it wasn’t exactly for the better…
The days stopped being happy and pleasant. Paul stopped laughing, played little with his friends and was easily distracted in class. His teacher reminded him again and again to pay attention, but almost always gave him failing grades.
Paul’s quality of life was diminishing every day.
Surprisingly, the problem began as soon as Charles, his father, was able to spend more time with the family. Charles stayed home and spent more time with his mother, his siblings and his friend Paul. But instead of happiness, there was sadness, melancholy and constant conflict.
How is this possible? Don’t all children like to spend more time with their parents? Don’t they want their parents to play with them, give them hugs and cuddles and help them with their homework? How did things get worse when their father spent more time with them?
Do not think that Paul or his brothers lacked paternal love. Don’t mistake their father’s love for them either. No! Not at all. Charles loved his wife and children. However, something would not let him be alone.
Paul reflected on the fact that once his father had come home later than usual. He did not want to talk at all. Maybe he has a headache or a backache, Paul reasoned…
His father informed them that he had lost his job after dinner while crying.
Paul was puzzled as to why his father was crying. Then he reasoned:
—It must be because he is so happy. He won’t have to get up so early anymore. We will have more time to be together, to walk, to play, to read and he will be able to rest.
Juan and Natalie, Paul’s younger siblings, didn’t fully understand what was happening either. All they could think about was that their father would be able to take them to school and spend more time with them now that he could, or that they could finally have lunch together, as their father used to say.
It was business as usual for the first few days that Charles was off work
Even Charles seemed to enjoy his new life. He would leave early to start looking for work. He accompanied Paul and his siblings to school after lunch with the family. He helped his wife with the housework. He even found time to take a nap.
Naturally, Charles felt depressed and eventually angry when he thought about his job. He missed his coworkers and his job. He also worried a lot about not being able to send money home. But things went on as usual.
Life became more difficult as time went on because Paul’s father could not find a job. The problems soon began… Charles no longer wanted to get up and look for a job. When Martha, Paul’s mother, would get angry, she would start yelling and Charles would yell back even louder.
To get Paul and his siblings to get up and help around the house, their parents would yell at them to wake up.
Martha shouted repeatedly: —I can’t do it alone,— while banging on pots and doors furiously. Charles responded that he didn’t know what to do and that it wasn’t his fault he was out of work with more yelling and banging.
The day continued with people fighting, complaining and yelling…
Things got even worse
Charles started drinking a lot of wine. He stopped playing with his children, going to school with them and helping out at home. Martha reproached Charles for not doing anything while she was enraged. The butcher and the grocer no longer wanted to put their trust in them. And the supplies of food and clothing were dwindling every day.
As a result, life for Paul and his siblings became very depressing. They stopped playing with their friends, avoided eye contact with people and lived in constant fear of their parents yelling and arguing.
The older brother, Paul, wanted to support his father. To cheer him up, he wanted to do something like hug him. Paul also wanted his mother to be happy. He longed to see her sing while preparing meals, give them big hugs when they came home from school and kiss them when they woke up in the morning.
Paul wished for these and other things, but his parents often only offered him a challenge, a punishment and sometimes even a spanking.
One afternoon, Paul walked his siblings to school after a loud argument between his parents but decided not to go inside. He stood on the sidewalk acting as if he was playing and when the cleaner and teachers got careless, he ran away.
Paul kept running
His heart was filled with many motivations to keep running more and more. He was moving so fast that he collided with a man moving quickly in the opposite direction at a corner and they both fell to the ground.
Oh, what pain, what a lot of bruises and sprains! However, Paul’s heart ached more than the blow itself.
He abruptly experienced being caressed. It had been a long time since anyone had touched him. When he looked up, he noticed the kind face.
They asked him in a soft voice: —Have you been hit hard? Is the pain severe?
Paul then began to cry. And he cried a lot. The blow and the scratches hurt him, so he sobbed. But he cried most of all for his mother, his father and his siblings.
That man gave Paul a bear hug after noticing how much Paul was crying. Then he gave him a tender, but firm hug, as if he was holding something fragile or breakable in his arms to protect him.
Paul cried and vented for minutes, maybe even seconds, but he missed those hugs so much that he ended up smiling. The man asked Paul why he was running so hard and what was wrong with him to make him cry like that as they picked each other up off the floor. Paul then explained to him what was going on in his family.
The man explained to Paul that he was pressed for time because he had to finish some paperwork. He needed to interview prospective employees because he wanted to get his new company up and running before Christmas.
And you know what…
Charles found a job…
Now he is ecstatic about his new position. Paul’s mother, Martha, has become much happier and calmer and even sings again while preparing meals. Natalie, Juan and Paul are having fun and laughing as if it were the best of times.
Some say that Paul’s chance to meet with that kind man was a mere coincidence. Others claim that luck played a role. Some claim that since it is a fairy tale and that these things only happen in fairy tales, it must have happened.
However, Paul claims that the reason we both collided was that God put a person in his path.
This kind man helped my father with a job, in addition to helping us. He also told us about Jesus. He told us about his deep love. He explained to us why Jesus Christ entered the world on the first Christmas and how that event would change our lives. To offer us mercy and hope.
We then realized that God wants to support us, protect us and lift us. We began to put our faith in Him.
I, Paul, can assure you that God’s hand was in what happened because, later, when my family and I read the Bible, we found promises like these:
“You can put your faith in God, who will not subject you to hardships that you cannot endure. On the other hand, God will also provide you with a way out of the trial when it comes.”
What else can I say besides that Christmas was unique?
I realized that God loves me and when you realize this, life takes on a special quality. You too can live a better life and enjoy a special Christmas. God loves you and invites you to trust Him and experience His love through the arrangement of people and circumstances.
I must leave you. My loved ones are waiting for me. We will give many thanks to God before celebrating Christmas by sharing a joyful meal. Merry Christmas, dear friends, a Christmas in which faith in God, love and hope reign.