by Terri Owens Blanchard

As a little girl, all I wanted for Christmas was a pony. It was number one on my Christmas wish list. Oh, how I dreamed of having my very own pony.  I even imagined what it would look like. It would be a Quarter Horse, tall, sleek, strong and beautiful. We would gallop through meadows with my hair blowing in the wind and the sun gently falling on my face.  I would be gleaming with excitement as we dashed through the fields, hurdling fallen trees, and resting near brooks. I would share my secrets and dreams with my pony. We would be the best of friends as we were growing up together. We would ride through the forest where my horse would lead me to my prince charming. In his castle we would live happily ever after. If only I could get a pony for Christmas, surely I would be the happiest little girl in the world!

Well, much to my surprise I didn’t get a pony for Christmas that year. My hopes and dreams were shattered. I would never find happiness, let alone my prince charming. I would be stuck in reality instead escaping to my dream world.

As I grew older, my wish list would change. I wished for all the pretty clothes I could buy, a fancy new car, the biggest diamond ring a girl could have, a husband, a house, and 2.5 children.  I continued to search for that same happiness that was in my dreams. So I shopped for shoes, clothes and designer handbags until my charge cards were full.  I bought the new car that was fanciest on the showroom floor that in reality I really couldn’t afford. I struggled through one bad relationship after another searching for Mr. Right who would buy me the biggest diamond ring ever, a brand new custom built house and be the father my Ivy League children.

Year after year I did not get what was on my Christmas wish list.  Under my tree I never found what I thought I wanted that would fulfill all my hopes and dreams. After years of disappointments, convinced I would never find true love and happiness, I just gave up.  I was alone, empty and without hope.

Then one Christmas, as I sat quietly in the dark watching the glowing lights on the tree and listening to the Christmas carols playing on the radio, I found the truth about Christmas. I heard  the words of the song,  “Oh holy night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Saviors birth….oh fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices, oh night divine oh night when Christ was born.” I pondered this as the next song played, “away in a manger no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head, the stars in the sky look down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay…” and then I cried, ”be near me Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay, close by me forever and love me I pray…” Then the announcer spoke the words from the Bible, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:10-11 KJV). That is exactly what I needed; no fear, great joy, and Savior that was born for me! More than anything else I needed a Savior.

I finally understood. Christmas was not about what I wanted on my wish list, but what I needed in my heart. Christmas was about a baby, in a manger, who came to be my Savior. He was God reaching down to show His love for me. He is what I had been searching for all those years to fill the emptiness and loneliness. He alone is what I needed. Only Jesus could give me peace, hope and joy. Christmas was about Him, not about me. My whole life was to be about Him and not about me.

Convicted that Christmas, I fell to my knees gave him my broken heart, shattered dreams, and a life full of mistakes and poor choices. As a result, He healed me, changed me, and gave my life new meaning, as well as a new Christmas wish list. As I sought Him first and His will for me, He has brought me not what I wanted, but what I needed.  I now have all the clothes I need, a ring that’s the perfect size, a safe car with no car payment, a comfortable home full of peace and love, a husband who is my prince charming and also my best friend with whom I can share my secrets, hopes, and dreams. And if that wasn’t enough, I have been blessed with a daughter and granddaughter that I love with more love than I ever thought my heart could hold.  

I never got that pony for Christmas, but in reality I don’t even want one anymore. Instead, I have received oh so much more. A Savior who is near me, stays close by me forever, and loves me unconditionally. He has made my dreams come true and I really can live happily ever after.

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