I was 10 years old when 9/11 happened, which is a strange age to see tragedy play out in front of you. I was too young to understand the complete and devastating implications, but I was old enough to grasp the weight of death and the horror of terrorism.
We had an emergency school assembly at my small Christian school. The principal prayed while the cries of kids echoed throughout the church. We left the chapel and sat in the hallway; I don’t remember why.
Worlds were shattered and people broken, and we left school early to watch the disaster unfold on our tube TV.
A few months later, I wrote a poem and my parents put it in our Christmas card. In the photo on the front, my little sister and I wore matching American flag sweaters and soft smiles. I still have a copy and here is what it said:
“All that’s been happening and going around, makes me want to hide on the ground;
But I’ve noticed a change more Christ-like, this Christmas I don’t want a video or bike;
I didn’t know what to ask for this year, but then I knew and it made me cheer!
I wanted everyone to become a Christian, not just lying there and keep on wishin’;
I know you can’t do it but God can, so if you’ll pray that they’ll understand.”
— A Christmas Wish by Alex, 2001
After the cards were stuffed and mailed, people came up to me and told me how meaningful and beautiful my poem was. I remember one instance in particular where a gray-haired, smiling lady walked slowly over to me and said she cried when reading it and sent it to her son, who was proudly fighting for our country overseas.
That was the first time I realized that writing could have an impact, even on someone I’ve never met.
When I go back and read my little Christmas poem, I see all of its flaws and naïveté, but I also think that I want to write and live like this still.
I want to wrestle with the world in all of its messiness and brokenness and to still hold on to hope, to humbly acknowledge my own inadequacy while firmly grasping the power and magnificence of God.
I don’t want to ignore the hurt and heartache and hunger, but to be vulnerable and bold and faithful, to feel deeply and love deeply and believe deeply in the God of redemption and grace.
Whatever the problems or tragedies we are facing, I still want to believe that Jesus is the answer.
I'm thrilled to introduce my first line of Christmas cards, which arose out of my love of Christmas and Jesus and stories like these.