by Abraham Lara
As Christmas day approaches many of you will be finishing last-minute details at work, or driving to Grandma’s house, or shopping for groceries before the big meal. As we gather with friends and family to celebrate Christmas, I am reminded of couples who have an extra reason for rejoicing this year.
Couples like Drew and Angie.
They live in Seattle, and are a blended family. In her words, their first five years after their wedding could be called “a crash course on how to destroy a marriage.”
Last year Angie and Drew separated, and God started working in Angie’s heart, calling her back to Him. Over the course of the summer she changed her attitude toward her husband—she began to love and respect and honor him despite the circumstances. It wasn’t long before he noticed a change and God began to move in his life as well. A practicing Wiccan, Drew gave his heart to the Lord on Halloween of 2011.
By the new year, Angie had seen such a radical transformation in her marriage that she wanted to help others. She went online and started to do some research about what kind of events or Bible studies were out there that she could use. She found the Art of Marriage®.
Being relatively new to their church, she wasn’t sure how things were supposed to work to get something like that started. So she approached her pastor and asked if the church would be interested in purchasing the Art of Marriage kit, and she’d lead it. She said if they weren’t willing to buy it, she and her husband were going to buy it on their own.
The pastor smiled … (Earlier that year my wife, Deborah, and I had the privilege of speaking at the services of that particular church about our ministry with FamilyLife. We gave the church a kit for hosting the Art of Marriage.) “There’s no need to buy it,” the pastor told Angie. “I have it in my office already. A missionary couple gave it to us and I just hadn’t had time to look through it.” He went into his office, handed it to her, and asked if she would let the church know how they could help.
Drew and Angie held their event in March with about 15 couples. Angie told me it was such an honor to be able to be part of something that transformed lives. She was excited about how cool it was to see some couples praying together for the first time in their marriages.
At the end of the event, the pastor led a vow renewal service. Drew and Angie were excited to go through it themselves, this time fully understanding what those vows meant. Angie has even decided to take on Drew’s last name after six years of marriage.
Angie has since joined the church’s staff, where she oversees the intern program as well as the school of ministry and other aspects of church leadership. Drew has started a men’s fellowship group, and both are active with the teen ministry at their church.
That’s just one story. I know there are many other couples who didn’t know if they would make it to Christmas this year. There are kids who will only have to set one table for Christmas dinner rather than one at Mom’s house and one at Dad’s house. These are families that celebrate Christmas with a special sense of joy, because they have seen firsthand why Christ came—to save sinners and to change lives.