A Different Kind of Christmas

Last week I was chatting with Molly*, one of the residents in our Bethel House recovery program.  As you might imagine, our conversation touched on the upcoming holidays and how she was looking forward to a markedly different Christmas than last year.

She had a hard time reconstructing the series of events, but the tale involved drinking, living in a tent under an avocado tree, arguments with family, drinking, hitch-hiking, angry phone calls and more drinking.  What was clear is she woke up behind a dumpster at Denny’s.  The relative emptiness of a parking lot usually packed with breakfast customers gave way to the realization that it was Christmas morning.

Her Christmas breakfast consisted of coffee and food in a takeout container handed to her by an irritated manager with the expectation that she would go away.  She thought of her daughter waking up that morning and receiving Christmas presents from family members who had made the gut-wrenching decision to keep Molly away lest she do any more damage.

A painful, lonely memory like this is something Molly may only be able to share because of the hope that this Christmas might be different.  Life got more difficult before it got better, but in the three months that she has been with us, a process of hope has begun.  Through our Family Day program, residents begin the process of reconciliation with their families and Molly is hopeful that this will happen for her.  As Christmas holds the prospect for a long-awaited visit with her daughter, we are praying not only for this, but that God would do a larger work of restoration as she goes through the recovery process.

Molly and her family are one of many who are working to restore what has been lost through addiction.  Please join me in praying that the simple Christmas wish of being with family would be realized for them and that this would only be a small part of the reconciliation that is to come.

Rolf Geyling

*name changed for privacy.