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Christmas Cheer from an Eternal Chalice

I can’t help it, whenever I sing Christmas carols I get tears in my eyes. You see, in 1971, I almost killed myself. Life was bleak, I couldn’t live without prescription drugs and life with them was worse than awful. But even though I was an atheist, I went to church that Christmas eve.

As a teenager, Christmas Eve had been my favorite time in church. The carols, the midnight service, the snow falling softly as we left the sanctuary, the good feelings everyone felt towards everyone else – even though I had given up on believing in God, I couldn’t pass that up. 

Three nights later I decided to end my life. I knew where I could buy a gun. I would do so the next day. Ending it all was far more tolerable than continuing the agony I had no hope of escaping.

Then I noticed the old Bible sitting on my nightstand. So many times I’d cracked it open, trying to comprehend its archaic language and strange unbelievable tales. Each time I came away frustrated and more confused. For some reason, I was willing to try it one more time. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I’d run out of options. Everything I tried to grab life’s gusto had failed so miserably. It had all brought me to this: hopelessly depressed, worn out, not knowing anywhere else to go. So many of us finally find God when we have no one else to turn to.

When I opened that musty old Bible, I did something different that night. I told God I would do whatever it said. By the time I got from the beginning of the New Testament to the Sermon on the Mount, it was actually making sense. I saw amazing psychological health in its enigmatic approach to life: turn the other cheek (Fight fire with water.), give to those who would take from you (Why die over things?), bless those who curse you (What better way to make an enemy a friend?). It suddenly all made so much sense.

I also saw the folly of doing my own thing. Look where it got me. Why not let God run things? Somebody said if God is your co-pilot, the wrong person is flying the plane! I gave him the joy stick that night, and that, THAT has made all the difference. His peace healed my addled brain, his Spirit filled me with a never ending source of unconditional love, He accepted me when I was at my worst, and even gave me a reason to live.

I guess its okay when I cry at Christmas carols. It’s not because I hurt but because I don’t. It’s not because I died to myself that night it’s because I’m still alive. It’s not really even because I am alive, it’s because I have a life worth living.

What Child is This? The One who made me childlike again; the One who brought real Joy to my wretched world; the One who restored Peace to my chaotic existence and taught me how to have Good Will towards men.

Love came down for me that Christmas, and I will never be the same. I pray you will get to know my Best Friend too. Then maybe you too can cry when you hear Christmas carols. It actually feels kinda good.

May He bless you more than any lesser gift ever could.

Ken Unger is President of and founder of, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at  The Ultimate Breakthrough "
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