LEAH'S STORY AT CHRISTMAS TIME by Fabio Ciccone
Once upon a time......there was a young lady named Leah, one of the two protagonist of our story. She is the least important of the two, but, her story is so touching that, maybe, it will touch your feelings. Especially if you realise that somehow, someway, you have experienced something like this in your youth.
And maybe it's not by accident you are reading it.
....And then came "Christmas". What a wonderful time. A moment in which our mind goes back to our childhood spent with the people we loved the most. Probably they are not with us anymore. A moment we enjoyed with our family, our relatives we stayed with, just in a period like that. A so well decorated Christmas tree with gifts all around that we exchanged with our beloved. Christmas carols we used to sing and, even now, we sing appreciating this amazing holiday season. Yes, each one of us has good things to remember, but, what a pity, not so many of us, have ever realised the true meaning of the best word, mankind has ever pronounced :"CHRISTMAS"
But, let's go back for a while to the beginning of our story.
I want to start with a couple of questions: have you ever loved someone so much but your love wasn't returned? Probably you did everything you could, to receive her or his love. You were sincere. You would have even given your life to purchase his or her love, and you loved this person with all of your heart. But this person not only didn't love you; he/she played with your feelings. This person did you wrong, hated you without any reason and said:"I don't want to do anything with you, I just don't feel anything". Please take her/he away from me.
Do you remember the tears coming down from your eyes? the sadness that appeared on your face? The pain in your heart, sleepless nights in your bed, the thought your life would have been like, if only your love was returned from the person you loved the most?
Now, let's try to invert the subject of the question I've just made to you.
Have you ever been loved by someone and you didn't return your love? You knew he would have given a sense to your life. Probably you knew he would understand you more than anybody else and wouldn't betray you, but be at your side all of your life.
But you didn't love him. You were so cruel to him. You took your own road, for you thought you could manage without him. You made your choice and later you found out you were wrong and touched the bottom of the pit, just because you were so proud. Probably you didn't know him well. But, instead of giving him a chance, you hated him and did wrong to him. Probably you don't know this, but this person died for you in order to purchase your love, because he loved you so much and couldn' t imagine his life without you. This is the real meaning of Christmas and the PERSON I'm talking about is the main protagonist of this story. You have heard his name so many times at Christmas, and Leah's story is well connected with it and, probably, with your story.
Long time ago, there was a man called Jacob who run away from his brother Esau that wanted to kill him. He was told by his mother to leave his country and hide himself at his uncle's for a while, to live and work with him.
Laban, that's the name of his uncle, had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had delicate eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful.
Jacob was in love for Rachel and told his uncle" I will work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel."So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. At the end of the seven years Jacob said to Laban," Give me my wife. My time is completed. But Laban took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob because, according to the custom of that time, the older daughter was supposed to be married first.
Jacob told Laban," What is this you have done to me? Why have you deceived me?" Laban replayed," Finish Leah's bridal week; then I will give you Rachel also, in return for another seven years of work". And so did Jacob. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.
Can you imagine the poor Leah and her sad love story? She loves her husband; she wants someone to love her. She didn't do anything wrong but now she is humiliated by her father that doesn't even believe she can have a husband someday. She is rejected by Jacob, and she is also hated by her sister that doesn't want to share her husband.
Probably she said to herself," nobody can change my situation, nobody can understand my feelings. I feel so downcast.
Probably, reading this story, you realised you are going through a bad period like Leah. You feel so lonely and don't feel loved by anyone. You feel depressed and without hope. Probably you thought the only way out is to take away your life. By reading this, you'll discover that the "main protagonist"of this wonderful story, not only changed the future of our poor Leah, but he will change your destiny and you'll find in him the love of your life.
Even though Leah knew her husband loved Rachel more than her, she didn't give up.
The bible says that when God saw that Leah was not loved, He enabled her to conceive in order to obtain her husband's love. But the barren Rachel remained childless.
Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She called him Reuben, for she said," it's because the Lord has seen my misery, my affliction, my humiliation, my rejection. Surely my husband will love me now.
She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said," Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, but I am hated even by my sister, He gave me this one too." So she named him Simeon.
Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said," Now at last my husband will love me and be joint at me because I have given him three sons." So he was named Levi.
Leah knew that God loved her, but she was still looking for the approval of her man. She knew God was looking after her, but she wanted to be approved by Jacob.
Maybe, she thought, now will be intimacy, because she was sleeping with her husband, but there was no love there.
So many people today give themselves to other people without getting anything back, trying to earn someone's love.
Probably, this is your story. You loved someone so much. You gave yourself to this person, you even slept with him/her without getting anything back, just like Leah. You were used and abused. Your partner was just interested in your body and, maybe, you wanted to have a good and right relationship because you knew something was wrong with common love, and you felt dirty inside, and sin in your life. But when you asked this person to marry you, you were told he/she didn't feel anything for you.
But the story is not over. Something marvellous happens to Leah.
The bible says she conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said," This time I will praise the Lord." So she named him Judah. Yes, she felt then, there was someone who had really loved her from her birth, more than her husband. She stopped waiting to be approved by a man, but sought the approval of the One that promised her:" Seek the kingdom of God first and His righteousness, and all the rest shall be given unto you." She felt joy inside, she was realising for the first time in her life, she was loved and she didn't have to do anything to purchase it. Yes, the main protagonist of this story was about to be known by her. And this person is also the main protagonist of this holiday season.
All of a sudden, Leah understood that there was a God in heaven that loved her so much that gave her four sons in order to be loved by her husband that, until then, wasn't interested in her. When Leah learned the approval of God who took care of her since her birth, she started praising God, she started talking to Him, thanking Him for all He had done in her life. She understood there was a real person in heaven who wanted to have a relationship with her.
Maybe you had a sad situation like our Leah. Or maybe, in your childhood or years later, you wanted to be praised, to be affirmed, to be accepted, to be loved the way you were. You wanted your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your parents to tell you" I love you, I care, how beautiful it is to be with you". But they were too busy. They just criticised you. They didn't even believe you could achieve anything in your life. You wanted to hear words like" you look so beautiful today my darling, you are like an angel in the sky, you dress so beautifully today. You are your daddy' s princess".
You tried your best to earn their gratification, and probably you did it in the wrong way. You maybe started blaming God, probably cursing His name. You felt sin in your life and this sense of separation between God and you. You asked yourself" If there is a God, why did it happen to me?" You started doing things you wouldn't have done and you found yourself lost, miserable, losing peace inside.
You wanted to be loved, to be appreciated but then, emptiness filled your heart, and you thought the only way out, was to take away your life. No, no, no; This isn't God's plan for you.
I have big news for you. God the Father, the God of Leah, years later, entered into human history in a way never seen before. For in the birth of Jesus," The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us". At a specific time and place, a specific Person was born, and that Person was the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the main protagonist of this story. And He is the protagonist of what we call "Christmas".
He knew you and I, like Leah, would struggle with our pain, the emptiness inside of us. He came into this world to face our problems and solve them and He has healing words for our hearts. He came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly.
In this wonderful holiday season, the Lord Jesus Christ stands at the door of your heart and knocks, saying,"If you open that door, I will come in to you and sup with you, and you with me".
The word Christmas means that Emmanuel has come. It means that "God is with us". That He came into the night of our suffering and sorrow, saying"I am with you. Let me share your burden. Come unto me, you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest".
But the word Christmas doesn't mean only birth. Jesus, the son of God, didn't come to be born. He came to die on the cross for us. His death was planned before the foundation of the world. He knew that you and I would have sinned in our life that displeased Him, due to the wrong we did during life.
The bible says that there is no righteous man, not even one. In fact it says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And the wage of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. He knew that sins were the cause of separation between God and us. And the death of Jesus on the cross, was the only way to be accepted by God who loved us so much and He couldn't even imagine to spend the eternity without you and me.
The bible says that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him shouldn't perish but have everlasting life. Jesus, the "Lamb of God", the One that knew no sin, became sin for us to reconcile us to God. And His terrible death on the cross, is the proof of His love.
And when Jesus was dying, God laid on Him your sins and mine. Because of that, God can say to us,"I forgive you." If you ask God to forgive your sin, you can know that you are ready to meet God.
Christmas speaks to us of death. Jesus died for us. And we will die too. God has given us the ability to choose to die in Christ and go to heaven, or to choose to die out of Christ and go to hell. It's up to us to make that choice.
This Christmas will you choose Christ Jesus and ask Him for the gift of eternal life?
Just pray along with me and say:
"Oh God, I am a sinner. I am sorry for my sin. I am willing to turn from my sin. I receive Jesus as my saviour; I confess Him as my Lord. From now on I want to follow Him in the fellowship of His church. In Jesus' name. Amen."
May it be the best Christmas season for you.
God bless you