The devotional today was written by a much-beloved Church History professor named John Hannah. He is on the first handful of the smartest people I’ve ever known. We had some similar backgrounds, and he and his wife became our friends during our Dallas years. The daughter that he speaks of in this devotional was in my wife Diana’s 1st grade class when she was a teacher in a Christian school in Dallas. Hannah’s devotional reflects back to the time when he himself was a student at the seminary …
The Purple Dress and a Text of Scripture
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, NASB)
The apartment on Swiss Avenue was rather bare, our plight being little different than many others pursuing graduate studies. Christmas was upon us, and we welcomed into the world our firstborn just three days before; our Rebecca came home from Baylor Hospital the day before Christmas day wrapped in a red Christmas stocking.
I thought, “This is the greatest season of the year, a day of celebration, a day of sharing.” What could a dad and mom give to a three-day-old? We bought for her a purple dress, compelled to express our thankfulness for our gift. On Christmas day we placed Rebecca under our tree, we got the decorations from a discounter down on Industrial Avenue, and laid the dress beside her.
Christmas is a time of expressing gratitude, and what a special gift we had been given. Decades have now passed and that little one is a lady with her own family. However, that purple dress, that she never wore, hangs in her closet. It is a symbol and much more.
Rejoicing over the gift of life and the dress filled us with delight, but the day was far more than that. What could we give to Him who gave us life? We had in our apartment an unusable fireplace with a little mantle over it. We found a large piece of white construction paper, inscribed a text of Scripture upon it, and hung it. The text was Isaiah 9:6.
Many Christmases have come and gone, but that one was “the best Christmas ever.” We celebrated the gift of a child to us, a daughter, and we celebrated the gift of a child for us, the Lord Jesus Christ. The One who is life gave us life, a life to share and a life to possess. It was the best Christmas ever.