It would be our first Christmas together, married only seven months. We left Phoenix just months before to set up home in a small apartment in Cleveland, Tennessee where H attends seminary. The first chapter of our story, now twenty-one years old.

We sell H’s Volvo before we leave Phoenix to pay for utility deposits, first and last month’s rent, food. No jobs or house waiting for us, just faith that God spoke to us to go and fulfill the beginning of a call to vocational ministry. H picks up the ringing phone between loads of boxes. The call of acceptance as a student to the seminary.  We still laugh about our assumptions. Or was it faith?

Last night, seated around a table of enchiladas and refried beans with close friends and family in Phoenix, my mother in law recalls a memory of that move.  Laughs about how we had to remove the stairs in that apartment to get our custom mattress to the second floor bedroom. She and I hoisting that heavy mattress as high as our arms will reach while H pulls it up to the second floor.

There were a lot of days like that in the beginning.  Being resourceful with what we had to make life work.

And just when hope begins to fade in bills we can’t pay during Advent on that first Christmas in 1990, an unexpected knock comes to our front door in Tennessee. We open it to find our pastor from Phoenix standing there with a broad smile.  His car backed up to our apartment, trunk open and loaded with gifts.

I don’t remember the exact contents of what he unloaded, or why he drove thousands of miles to show up on our doorstep.  It just felt like Jesus answered our prayers for rescue and it came in the form of our pastor loving us this way.

As we scrape up the last bites of refried beans and rice, a young waiter approaches our table, crouches down to greet us for a moment. It is the son of family friends, all grown up and newly married. I haven’t seen him since he was my son’s age but he remembers me. Smiles and tells us about how he and his new wife start their life together with countenance glowing Jesus.

His Dad helped us load that moving van twenty- one years ago.

My heart beats joy as I listen, because I know a bit of his story and the Jesus I see in him, it reveals redemption. Because just like our pastor showing up unexpectedly and this young man approaching our table, Jesus always comes at just the right time to reveal His goodness.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. ~Roman 5:6

I just wanted to pop in here for a minute and say that each one of you is a gift to me this Christmas. I am so grateful for the blogging community. I will be taking it slow over the next few weeks, not posting as frequently to enjoy time with my family here in Phoenix.  If you have been enriched by what you read here, the greatest gift you can give me (besides leaving a comment) is to share the address of Redemptions Beauty with your friends, family, co-workers. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

 Linking with Ann, Jennifer and Emily.