Unexpected Christmas Treasure

During one of our Christmas times in China, God blanketed our courtyard with snow in the early morning hours. It was magical. A gift. Before the arrival of footprints and bike tracks, it was pure, white, untouched, perfect…

As I settled on the couch to read and reflect in a peaceful time of silence, I smiled inside with a secret that I couldn’t wait to share with my family. I reentered the kitchen several times to drink in the beauty of the snow while I refilled my steaming mug of tea.

Gazing out the frosty kitchen window from our third floor apartment, something caught my eye down by the trash cans. It was the word LOVE stamped out in the snow.

I paused to consider the wonder of this unexpected message, and its almost magical appearance. I thought about our hardworking trash collector, who filled up his wheelbarrow with neighborhood garbage countless times each day. He was the only one in the courtyard, long before the sun came up, when I first discovered the snow. For him to be the first to receive the message of LOVE would have been like those common shepherds from long ago–honored and esteemed as the first to hear the Good news of Great joy for All people, from the astonishing announcement of a choir of angels.

Under conditions I’m sure that none of us planners would have planned for our Savior to enter the world, God the Omnipotent humbly and unexpectedly ordained His Son’s arrival. And He carefully chose simple shepherds to first rejoice with Him and then to glorify, throughout the world, His most precious treasure.

I believe that the message in the snow by the trash cans was for our trash collector. And it was for me. It was for our neighbors. And it was for the world. I’m almost certain that a child must have stamped out the letters LOVE, with some kind of understanding of the English word’s connection with the true gift and meaning of Christmas.

For God so loved the world,

He sacrificially sent to us His beloved Son Jesus.

Whose arrival was proclaimed from the heavens.

Who was joyfully blessed, while in the womb, by a well-past-childbearing-years pregnant woman.

Who received Spirit-filled prophecy from a priest after nine months of God-ordained silence.

Who was born to a young woman who humbly believed that nothing was impossible with God.

Who was protected by a faith-filled earthly father—who believed in his miraculous conception.

Who was worshiped by common shepherds—full of awe—who could not keep this good news of salvation to themselves.

Who was blessed in the temple by a man and woman, who were long-awaiting the Messiah’s arrival.

Who was further worshiped by foreigners, Magi from the east.

And recognized as King of the Jews.

Lord of Lords.

Savior of the World.

Son of God.

Prince of Peace.


As Mary pondered all the revelations about her son Jesus, her soul responded by magnifying the Lord.

May our hearts do the same as we treasure the significance of Jesus’ birth this Christmas season.

What are you “treasuring up” this Christmas?


  1. Sarah Hilkemann December 27, 2018

    Jodie, thank you for sharing this sweet story! God is so good to remind us of his love in unexpected ways- far too often I’m distracted and miss it, or want the message to look a certain way. I want to slow down, savor and look with a fresh perspective at the ways the Father is speaking His love.

    1. Jodie Pine December 27, 2018

      Sarah, thanks for your encouragement. That’s so true that if we want the message to look a certain way, we might miss how He is communicating His love to us. I too often feel distracted as well, and want to grow in slowing down and savoring, to have my eyes opened to see with a fresh perspective. This past year reading The Voice bible translation has given me some new insights into His Word. Blessings to you in the new year.

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