Slowly I descended the stairs, going round and round, deeper and deeper. It was getting cold and clammy. I could feel my reluctance growing step by downward step. A nameless fear was creeping up my spine, because I didn’t know what would await me down there. Where was he leading me?
As if feeling my hesitance, he beckoned me.
“Don’t be afraid. Come,” he said and moved on. I followed, despite the darkness that enveloped us. I trusted him.
By the time the stairs ended and the ground levelled out, everything was pitch black around me. I needed my hands to guide me along the tunnel we were in and my feeling of apprehension threatened to overwhelm me. His presence alone kept me from turning around and barging up those stairs.
“Where are we?” I asked timidly, trying not to let my fear show in my voice. I heard a low scratching noise and suddenly a small flame sprang up in his hands. The soft, warm glow revealed a large chamber hewn right into the rock, dark stones glistening with moisture. A table and two chairs sat in the middle. He placed the candle he had lit on the table and invited me to sit. Even with the light, the place felt uncomfortable, cloying and depressive.
“This is the secret chamber of your heart,” he said softly and looked into my eyes. I swallowed hard. My heart was such a desolate place? I closed my eyes, feeling tears pushing against the lids. It was the truth, wasn’t it? My childhood filled with loneliness, my teenage years full of desperation and suicidal thoughts, all the hopeless hours of feeling so totally out of place in this world… Yes, if all of that were stuffed into a room, it would feel like this.
When I opened my eyes again, he had taken the candle and moved to the wall, pressing the burning wick against the cold stone. ‘No!’ I wanted to yell, ‘Don’t kill the light. Don’t put me back into this cold, clammy darkness. This way I can at least see your face!’ But no sound left my mouth. I sat there paralyzed, watching helplessly.
But the flame didn’t die. The flame moved into the wall. It sparkled and glowed and began to spread, slowly at first and then faster and faster, until the whole chamber was glowing in a multicolored light, as if the rock surface had turned into a million rainbows. It grew warm.
He came back to the table and took both my hands, pulling me to my feet. I looked into his gentle, brown eyes and saw the fluctuating light reflected in them. A smile played around his lips and I could feel my heart picking up a beat. The glowing walls began to pulsate in time with my heartbeat, growing brighter and stronger. A surprised laugh escaped my throat and I threw my arms around him, hugging him close, burying my nose in his neck and breathing deep.
Just like that he had driven out desperation and loneliness and replaced them with hope and love. I could feel his answering laugh rumbling in his chest as his arms locked around me, pulling me in.
“Don’t be afraid any longer,” he whispered into my ear. “I live here now.”
This story is my Christmas gift to all of you who read this, who follow my blog and have shown me your love and support over the past year. I’m deeply grateful to be able to connect with people all over the world and share my love of all things bookish, as well as passing along some faith-related thoughts.
Christmas is a very special time of year and I have had my share of wonderful Christmasses, whether they were spent with family, friends or even strangers. As a child, it was the warm glow of the candles on the brightly decorated tree, the expectation of gifts and the singing together that made Christmas the most magic time of the year. I didn’t understand the true meaning of the gift God gave us and it took me along time to truly grasp it.
“The Secret Chamber of my Heart” is my personal reception of the gift God gave us. It really happened, not in this world, but in a spiritual realm I sometimes have the privilege to enter. It describes the moment Jesus Christ moved into my heart (as referred to in John 14:23) and transformed it into the warm and loving place it is today. It did not happen when I first decided that I needed a saviour and turned to Jesus. It happened many years later, after he had first decluttered that dark, cold cave. It has completely changed who I am, how I see myself and how I interact with those around me. Having a warm, glowing heart is the best gift in the world. Maybe my little story will light the way for you?