“This is my best day ever!” the little boy shouted as he pumped his arms overhead, exuberance and joy upon his face.
Joshua had raced from the schoolyard into the arms of his mom who stood just beyond the gate. She smiled, waiting to hear what event had caused her son’s enthusiastic perspective.
Looking back, I don’t recall what made my grandson so happy that sunlit afternoon. But as I later reflected on the story, the years fell away.
An experience from my childhood had made me feel much the same way — the joy, the exhilaration, the flood of happiness in my soul.
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I remember the gentle piano melody that filled the room with a familiar hymn while the words of the preacher played lightly upon my heart. He was talking about getting to know Jesus better, making him my very best friend. A personal relationship, he’d called it, one that could be mine if I just had the courage to ask.
The dark, carpeted aisle seemed forever as I peered from behind the fifth pew, my place for as long as memory could stretch. I paused. I thought.
Then determination led my shiny patent-leathers to the altar, a walk I can still see.
As Just as I Am rose from the voices behind me, I knelt just as I was; a child with a heart wide open, ready to accept God’s gift of his Son. A simple prayer had me knowing that Jesus was really there — a friend forever.
I wish I could bring to mind the exact date when my heart expanded with sheer happiness; the day I made a childhood decision to walk with the Savior for the rest of my life. It was innocent, yes. The full knowledge of what it meant to be a Christian was far more than what a little girl could understand. Yet, as a woman I recognize the scope of what Christ did for me on the cross — and the responsibility of following him.
I was a child when I called out to him, but I still feel the joy of that moment. At this time of year particularly, I celebrate just how much God loved me — and you — to send his Son to Earth; a baby born in a humble manger.
When I reflect on the night Jesus was born, I think about the shepherds watching over their flocks who, after hearing the angels’ good news, raced to Bethlehem. Their joyfulness and enthusiasm from seeing the infant — the prophesized Messiah — had them excitedly telling everyone.
I don’t know what the shepherds said about that wonderful night the Savior came into the world. But when Jesus came into my heart, it was “my best day ever!”