I suppose I was always a writer. It just took me a long time to admit it. It took me even longer to realize that writing was never really about what I thought it was. The first hint that I had of the truth came the year I became a follower of Jesus. To say my life had changed would be an understatement. In less than eight months I had gone from working as an engineer to enrolling at a seminary. My family and friends could not quite believe it. They were no more surprised than I.
My first Christmas as a Christian came upon me quickly. I was half a continent away from my past life. I was not going home for Christmas. There was no money for gifts, and I was not expecting anything. I thought of all the Christmases I had spent without knowing my Lord and decided to write a poem for Jesus as my gift to him. It seemed easy enough.
Days went by, and not only did I not have a poem, I did not have a line. Then one night, at just about this time of the year, I did something that was radical for me. I asked God to forgive me for being so cocky as to think I had anything to give worthy of him. I could only give him something worthy of him that he had first given to me. I asked him if he would forgive me and help me write my poem.
When I set down my pen that night I had written a mere sixteen lines, and everything I thought I knew about writing had changed. My poem, rather than being my gift to God, had become God’s gift to me.
That poem, which was somehow never edited, was published the following year. It marked the official beginning of my journey as a Christian writer. I now realize that writing is not so much my gift to him as it is His gift to me. It is a present I enjoy unwrapping every time I pick up my pen for Him.
Donald Hasselman, author of Tracks and Ties , published by Xlibris is a member of the SDCWC board.