The Most Magical Christmas I Never Wanted: A Christmas Devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by Abigail Heath. I said in an email to Abigail, “Everyone has such different favorite Christmases but they all make so much sense as to why they’re the writer’s best ever.” I thought it was worth remarking here, too. Here’s Day 6 of Diva Christmas, “The Best Christmas Ever!”

Want to catch up on the series? Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5

A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

The Most Magical Christmas I Never Wanted

“Gather ‘round, everyone! I have an announcement I want to make!” My dear friend wrangled a ragtag group of my friends and family into her living room. All of us sipped steaming mugs of cider and waited expectantly for her proclamation. I looked over at my dad, the reason we were all gathered on this cold December day. He looked thinner than he had even just a couple months ago, battle-weary from fighting the invisible scourge that had wrapped itself around his organs. Even so, his eyes radiated the same joy that had captured my heart since I was a little girl.

a christmas devotional

“Lindy, we would like to bless your family with the gift of togetherness this Christmas.” My friend, with tears in her eyes, went on to explain that this mishmash of people gathered before me had pooled money to fund a Christmas retreat for my family. I smiled as I watched my dad take in the generosity that was being poured out on him. I looked across the room at my younger brother and sister, still just teenagers, and my eyes misted over. Cancer had weighed on us all, and it felt like this gift would pull us to the surface for a breath of air.

We didn’t know it then, although maybe we suspected it deep in our hearts, but that was the last Christmas we would have together. In that little cottage retreat where my family laughed, played board games, and shared dreams and memories with each other, I experienced the fleeting gift of togetherness. I remember snuggling into my dad and wishing that this magic we were experiencing, the simple brilliance of sitting in a room together, would last forever.

When I reflect back on that most magical Christmas I never wanted, I think of Mary cradling a newborn Jesus. I can almost picture her smoothing the brow of the little bundle in her arms, kissing his cheeks as she took in the wonder of the new life that had unexpectedly burst forth from her own body. Did she have any idea of the journey that would unfold? This babe, God putting on skin and breaking into a shattered world, would only snuggle into the cradle of her arms for the briefest of moments. Before too long, he would leave her arms and open his own to a broken and dying world. She couldn’t have known, but for a breath of time she cradled him close.


It’s really what Christmas is all about, isn’t it? Incarnation. The God of the Universe putting on skin and becoming human so he could be with us. I soaked in the magic of togetherness with my dad for the last time that Christmas. There was nothing particularly spectacular about those days. No trip across the ocean to a foreign land. No Disney World excursion. It didn’t matter, though. We were together, and I know now that togetherness is the most magical gift of all.

Abigail is sometimes a nurse, often an explorer of faith and mission, and always a student. You can find her sharing reflections on her quest to mine beauty from brokenness at and on Instagram @abigailsu.