“When my advertising company sent me to Florida to shoot a holiday campaign, I decided at the last minute to take my 17-year-old daughter, Samantha, with me to enjoy the warm weather.
“On the third day of our trip, I got a call from our neighbor saying there had been an electrical fire at our home…and there was nothing left. He prayed with me on the phone as I wept, but all I could think of was how everything we loved was now gone.
“Actually seeing the wreckage was far more devastating than I could’ve imagined. There was barely a shell left of what was once our home—it was all charred beyond recognition. Samantha and I held on to each other, stunned and numb, sifting through the rubble and ruins.
“Just as I asked God how He could let this happen, Samantha said, ‘Mom, look!’
“I glanced in the direction she was pointing and swallowed a lump of raw emotion. Unscathed and laying in the ashes was the carved Nativity scene that had been passed down for generations. It sat in the daylight as if it had an aura around it, flawless as if the flames never touched it. I picked up the baby Jesus, marveling at God’s loving sign through my grateful tears.
“‘We still have all that matters,’ I said as I hugged my daughter, realizing if she hadn’t been with me what I really could have lost. ‘God’s love that endures all things.’”
—Wanda Thomas, 48, Cleveland