Saturday, December 16, 2017

Let Your Christmas Heart Song Fuel Your Writing

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

As writers, our tendency to look deep helps us create story energy and innovative characters. We break through imaginary walls and see beyond the ordinary as we unfold story. This also holds true in our own story. At least it does with me.

Each Christmas as I attempt to wrap my mind around God’s gift of our Savior, I am struck with awe. The Christ cannot be explained, only received, worshipped, and adored. Yes, Jesus came to bring salvation, but the word salvation in the original Greek means more than the blessing of being saved from sin. It also means healing from the wounds life inflicts upon us—a Godly perspective on life that miraculously allows us to have the mind of Christ. Today. In this life.

With this in mind I try to listen to the tug of my heart song—that undiscovered calling that connects to the Divine. Like Dicken’s ghosts of Christmas past, I allow memories to appear in visions of yesterday that yearn for a redemptive look.

I remember the first Christmas after my father left our family. My kind grandmother opened her tiny home to we three vagabonds and did her best to make sure we had a large dose of love to fill our broken hearts. She was relentless in reminding us that Jesus doesn’t abandon His children. No matter what the world would shout at us, His Word is louder. If we’ll just listen.

As we gathered around my grandmother’s tree on Christmas morning, I’d open her present last as she’d always give a Christian book. In my child-like mind, it just wasn’t as important as a toy.

Years later, my mother moved us into our own home. She’d have all the family for Christmas dinner, as well as any other lonely person that had no place to go. The crowd required at least two sittings, with Mom reserving the last one for herself. She’d perfected family recipes like a cordon bleu trained chef. After dessert and coffee, we’d all go into the living room, where Mom would sit in her favorite chair and be lulled to sleep by the sound of our laughter.

After I married, I sought to recreate Mom’s holiday feasts, which proved easy since she now lived with us. Mom would command the meal like a drill sergeant. Only made from scratch food was allowed. She never adapted to box cakes and processed food. Her taste buds seemed to have an antenna that would know when Cool Whip had been substituted for real whipped cream.

There was the year my father briefly appeared out of nowhere and presented my baby son with a fleece coat that had puppy ears emerging from the hood. I watched the way my mother looked at him, longing in her sad eyes. Our attempt to untangle emotions that had settled like dust in our hearts met with failure. Forgiveness can be instantaneous but relationship often takes time. My father didn’t understand that.

As I surrendered the hurts of Christmas past I was able to experience Christmas in a new way. The filter through which I now see Christmas is through the cross and the empty tomb. I can’t explain Christmas any more than I can explain love.  I can only experience it. I can only surrender that which causes the vision of the cross to blur.

Surrender brings the past hurts into focus and allows us to see God’s truth:
  • I learned that my best may not always be God’s best. As a young child, I delighted in my toys, but they are gone and my grandmothers books remain. They are saturated with God’s truth and wisdom. She’d write on the inside cover of each book, “With a heart full of love and hope for you.” I sign my gifts to my grandchildren the same way, and mean every word. Just like my grandmother did.
  • Forgiveness happens when we surrender to Jesus those who don’t know how to love well. I learned to receive my father each time he’d appear and release anger as it tried to sabotage his attempt at reconciliation.
  • Memories are like a gift that we enjoy and then store away. The good ones we take out and re-open, while those that carry sadness we leave at the feet of Jesus, where He receives them and gives them back to us as costly jewels, redeemed and precious in His sight.

I pray this holy season break through our heart song and bring hope, forgiveness, and agape love. Forgiveness to those who hurt us. Hope to the hopeless. Love to those who feel rejected. After all, that’s the miracle of Christmas. Peace. Freedom. Redemption. All because of Jesus. All because of Christmas. All because of Love.


Emme Gannon is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write stories that stir the heart. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Focus on the Family magazine, several anthologies, and numerous newsletters. She just completed her first novel.


  1. Beautifully written, Emme. Thanks for sharing from your heart! May your Christmas be bright!

  2. So much honesty in your writing. I am sure this was not an easy post to write. Thanks Emme for sharing your life experiences with us. It filled me with forgiveness, hope, and nostalgia.

  3. This is one of the most beautiful Christmas stories I have ever read๐ŸŽ„ Tears flowing ๐Ÿ’—

  4. Thanks for the peek inside the door. It's amazing what God can see us through and the lessons we learn. And I'm glad you learned them. Can't wait to come over for dinner. But I love Cool Whip. I thought that was cooking from scratch.

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    3. Thank you all for your kind comments. I apologize that my individual comments are not showing up. Blessings to all!

  5. How beautiful, Emme. Thank you for sharing this chapter from your life-story. It makes me miss my grandmother even more. When my dad left, I was 8 and my grandmother "took me in" in many ways. Blessings, my friend.

  6. A gifted writer not only engages the mind in a meaningful way but also touches one's heart. Emme Gannon is one such writer. Her words drip with emotion and meaning as she welcomes the reader into her story. Having our full attention, Emme becomes the Lord's mouthpiece communing the need for forgiveness of life's hurts and those who produce them. She then encourages all of us, whatever our story, to be the vehicle for Christ's healing message of love as well. I cannot wait to read more from this excellent writer.

  7. Thank you for sharing your tender memories with us.