Home of Wheaton Bible Church's Quarterly Magazine
By Susan Wegner
It all started with a last-minute call from a friend. She had two extra tickets to the women’s Christmas event. Did I already have tickets? Or did I know someone who might want to go?
Even though I had decided not to attend that year, I had second thoughts when she called. But it’s such a busy time of year for everyone—who of my friends would consider going?
Maurine, a former coworker, came to mind. We had been meeting regularly over coffee, and recently our conversations had centered around my faith. Although she was raised in the Roman Catholic church, she seemed to be searching.
I took a chance and called to ask if she would like to join me. She surprised me by accepting—even though it would be a long drive for her. We made plans to meet at the event.
As we arrived, we were both struck by the excitement in the air and the warm welcome we received from the moment we walked in the door. The Christmas season was upon us, and it was good to experience it with the women of my church and with Maurine.
When it was time for the main speaker, I felt a little nervous about how my friend would react to the Gospel message that would be presented. Would she be open to hearing the truth? Or would she be uncomfortable and avoid me in the future?
As the speaker engaged us with her words from the Lord, I watched Maurine, wondering what she was thinking. She seemed to be taking it all in. During the closing prayer, I prayed that she was giving her life to Christ.
After the program ended, we walked solemnly out to the parking lot, neither of us saying much. It was cold out, and it had begun to rain, so we hugged each other and got into our cars, which were parked next to each other.
As Maurine started to back out, she stopped, rolled down her window and said something I will never forget. “Thank you, Susan. That was the best Christmas present ever!”
My heart sang with joy, and I thanked God for orchestrating it all.
I later learned that Maurine did not accept Christ that evening, and although I felt disappointed, I realized that a seed had been planted during this time of seeking for something and someone Maurine could trust.
Later she would tell me that she desperately needed healing, emotionally and spiritually. Suffering from a low sense of self-worth, she didn’t believe she deserved forgiveness—and years of hurt had caused her to feel as if there were no hope of ever changing.
Two months later, Maurine and her sister Marianne visited their father in Florida.
Marianne, a Christian, had been witnessing to Maurine for several years. During that trip, Maurine fell to her knees, crying out in submission to Jesus, telling Him she wanted a new life. She asked God to forgive her sins and accepted Jesus into her heart. She truly felt born again.
It’s five years later now, and as we approach the Christmas season, I am reminded of that special evening where God was at work in the heart of my dear friend. He still is, as she continues to heal and grow in her faith.
Today, Maurine tells me that she was very hesitant and anxious about saying yes to my invitation years ago. In fact, it was very difficult for her to make that trek. But she told me that once there, she felt touched by all the women whose common thread was their belief in Christ. She felt welcomed and loved, and glad she’d accepted that “last minute” invitation to come.
Maybe you have friends who are seeking. Could your invitation this Christmas—to a special program or event, to a service at church, even to your home or out for a cup of coffee and conversation—be their best Christmas present ever?
Susan Wegner is a member of WBC’s Global Outreach team and considers it a privilege to work with our missionaries who serve all over the world and also to help mobilize short-term mission trips.