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Sheila Walsh's 25 Days of Christmas

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When Sheila was a spry seven-year-old, she spotted a baby doll in their town’s only toy store, and was smitten. That’s all she wanted for Christmas. When the big morning finally arrived, she was almost afraid to look at her pile of gifts. Taking a quick scan, she started to panic. No baby doll. Not wanting to hurt her beloved mum’s feelings, she feigned a smile and started opening her gifts. The various games and puzzles did little to comfort her. Then her mum asked about the other gift. “What other gift?” she asked. “The one at your feet,” her mum said. Tucked under the chair that held the other gifts was the baby doll in a cradle! She’d missed the best gift as her focus remained on the lesser ones. 

Sheila uses that story to illustrate how since the days of Jesus’ birth, people have always missed the greatest gift. No wonder people missed Him, she says. “He wasn’t what they were looking for. I wonder if we’ve changed much since then. It’s easy to become so familiar with the Christmas story that we forget it’s the gift we desperately need, the one we can’t live without.” The miracle born in Bethlehem that night is the one that changed the world forever, she reminds us. “You have a Savior! You are loved! Let’s celebrate Christ, the greatest gift of all.”  


Expectations often lead to disappointment, Sheila acknowledges, as life turns out differently than we’d hoped, even prayed. She urges us to trust in the God who alone can make all things work together for good. “You may have been hurt or disappointed, you may have stopped looking for miracles, but pause for a moment and remember. No matter what you are waiting for, the greatest gift has already been given. He was given for you. He is with you now even though He was once wrapped in the most fragile, unexpected wrapping of all.”  

While expectations may leave us feeling empty at Christmas, she says living with a sense of expectancy will not. “Whether you are surrounded by family and friends this season or facing the first Christmas without a loved one, I invite you to pray this prayer with the psalmist, David:

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you
and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3


Sheila recounts the wondrous news the angel Gabriel was charged to deliver, first to Zechariah about his elderly wife, Elizabeth, bearing a son, John. Next, he came to the teenage virgin, Mary, revealing that she would bear the long-expected Messiah, the Savior of the world. Finally, Gabriel spoke to her fiancé, Joseph, in a dream, reassuring him that the baby in Mary’s womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Sheila reminds us of the heavenly chorus of angels rejoicing over God’s unfolding plan.  

It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen. 1 Peter 1:12

“Notice how Peter writes the angels are watching, not that they were watching on that night alone,” Sheila points out. “They are watching now. The angels are watching when you walk through heartache and still get down on your knees and worship. They are watching when it feels as if your prayers are not being answered but you still trust God. This is not an old story that we remember once a year. We are part of God’s ongoing celebration with the angels until Christ returns in triumph to take us home. Let’s join our voices with theirs and give glory to God. Let’s still our hearts and receive His peace.”


Many years ago, Sheila herself was feeling lost and quite lonely when a special person lifted her spirits. “I had just spent a month in a psychiatric hospital diagnosed with severe clinical depression.” Sadly, a number of people expressed very unkind words to her. “I felt so alone and afraid,” Sheila says. “It was as if I had let down God and the community of faith and there was no way home for me. That was when Ruth (Graham) called and asked me to come to Montreat. Ruth read her a story one night about a Scottish father who had unjustly condemned his daughter, leaving her feeling utterly unloved. When someone pointed out his egregious error, he repented and welcomed his daughter home with loving arms. “The truth is, God is always at work, even when we can’t see His plan. As she finished the story that night, Ruth reminded me that we all get a little lost at times. We disappoint each other, we fail each other, but that’s why Jesus came. If you feel a little lost or forgotten this Christmas, lift up your head because Christ, the Light of the World, has come. Remember these words from Isaiah:

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness a light will shine. Isaiah 9:2

Purchase your copy of Sheila Walsh's The Gifts of Christmas at and be encouraged in this season of wonder and celebration.


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About The Author

Julie Blim

Julie produced and assigned a variety of features for The 700 Club since 1996, meeting a host of interesting people across America. Now she produces guest materials, reading a whole lot of inspiring books. A native of Joliet, IL, Julie is grateful for her church, friends, nieces, nephews, dogs, and enjoys tennis, ballroom dancing, and travel.