Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Jars Story: 'Christmas jars are supposed to be anonymous'

Great Falls, Virginia:

It's funny how every year, the Lord puts someone in my path, swings His glowing lamp in front of them to light their faces and says: "Hey! Here's your Christmas Jar recipient!"

My son attends Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and as he was preparing to leave for Thanksgiving break, he called me in tears; I could hardly understand what he was saying. The previous night, five students from Liberty were out stargazing after a week of rain and wandered onto a train trestle they thought was inactive. It was not. Of the five, three escaped with minor cuts and scrapes, one suffered serious injuries and a beautiful, obedient, loving child of God, Hannah, was killed.

This rocked the LU community to its core, leaving heartbreak in its wake even those among us like my son and me who didn't even know Hannah.

Through Facebook - or as I prefer to say it: through God - I "met" Hannah's Mom, Terri, who is a single Mom now raising her teenage son alone. Every posting from her as well as from the mother of the injured girl, had me sobbing for weeks. But it wasn't just me, many of us in the Liberty family couldn't even think of Hannah without bursting into tears. The kids were devastated, as was the faculty and staff of Liberty. There is no pain like the pain in a mother's heart when she has lost one of her children, or watched another mother deal with the grief of losing hers.

It would take me ten pages to explain how remarkable Hannah was and another ten to describe Terri. Despite unspeakable grief, Terri's rock solid faith and belief that Hannah is in Heaven with Her Savior and dancing in its streets has been nothing short of, well, a miracle. Her faith in the deepest of grief is stronger than mine in abundance. At last count, at least a dozen new believers have made a decision for Christ after hearing Hannah's testimony - from her Mom. What I call in my head "the power of Hannah's Grace" is a force that defies anything other than faith.

Hannah's Grace includes a Scholarship Fund set up by Terri to provide funds to students majoring in Government, as was Hannah.

I was blessed with spending some time with Terri earlier in December near her home in North Carolina, and was again left in utter amazement at her faith and love for God. It is no wonder that Hannah turned out the way she had.

Okay, so Christmas jars are supposed to be anonymous, and we have adhered to that rule since Jason first published the book. However this year I knew our jar was meant to be a part of Hannah's Grace and we gave it to Terri to be used for either her needs at Christmas, or as a donation to Hannah's Scholarship Fund.

Its no accident of art that shiny gold points of light come out from the jar in the picture on the cover of the book. I watched those shiny bits light up Terri's eyes when she accepted the jar, knowing that Hannah had reached down and made yet another difference in someone else's life. They are miracle twinkles. Truly they are.

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