Have you ever heard a song for the first time and been amazed at how well the writer expressed your thoughts or experiences? Singer-songwriter Nichole Nordeman never fails to poetically express the cries of my heart. It seems every song she writes reflects a different stage of my life and faith journey.
But her latest Christmas release stuck a chord like no song ever has before. In “Maybe,” Nordeman challenges us to entertain what could be. Maybe this is the year for healing that relationship we thought we never would.
She sings, “If the world wants peace for Christmas/ Could it not begin with us?/ Maybe love is bigger/ Maybe love is stronger/ Maybe just for Christmas/ Maybe longer.”
As I listened for the first time, I was moved to tears. Not because of a relationship that I need to mend in the here and now, but because of one that God brought healing to twenty-five years ago.
All Christmases are special, but the Christmas of 1993 is one that I will never forget. When I arrived at my great grandmother’s house, I was greeted by a man who I did not recognize. It wasn’t unusual, because there were always extended family members celebrating the holidays with us. When I heard his voice, it was with shock that I realized the man was my father.
I had not spoken with my dad for three years. I was angry and hurt. He had caused me so much pain. I had gotten to the point where the only way I knew to protect myself was to completely remove him from my life.
I was so angry to see him there. Who had invited him? My mom quickly explained that she had asked him to come because she thought maybe it was time for us to repair our broken relationship.
I had a very different idea. I angrily stomped past them both. I was furious with my mother for ruining our Christmas by including the man who had been responsible for breaking my heart in so many ways.
I locked myself in the back bedroom and cried silently while they both banged on the door and pleaded with me to let them in. When I finally relented, I unleashed the fury that was the result of a lifetime of hurt and abandonment.
He begged me to forgive him and to give him another chance. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but with God’s help, I did it. I told him that I could not forget the things of the past, but that I was willing to try to build a different future. I was willing to ask, “maybe”? Maybe things could be different? Maybe this was the start of a brand-new beginning? Maybe on this day of celebrating Christ’s birth, we could ask Him to mend all of our broken parts.
Looking back, I am so glad that I was willing to entertain “maybe.” It was the beginning of a new season. My dad tried to make up for the lost time. Over the next few months, we began to get to know each other again. He came to church with me. He attended a school play. He called and talked to me on the phone.
It was also the beginning of the end. I had no way of knowing, but that Christmas Day was the last I would spend with my father. He died the following October. December 25th, 1993 was the beginning of the last nine months of my father’s life.
I am so thankful for my mother’s desire to wonder if maybe we could start over. I am thankful for the strength that God gave me to say maybe it was time to let all of the hurt and anger go.
It has been 25 years since I last saw my father face to face. But because of the gift of Jesus Christ on the first Christmas Day, I hold on to the hope of maybe being able to see my dad again in heaven one day.
Who do you need to invite into maybe? Don’t delay. Maybe through the celebration of the birth of Emmanuel, God among us, you can begin a new season. Make the call, write the letter, send the email, because maybe you will never get the chance again.
Heather Ablondi is a women’s ministry speaker and author who lives in Fredericksburg. You can contact her through her website, heatherablondi.com.