My Early Christmas Days
At the sound of the chimes outside my back door early Christmas morning, I am beckoned from my slumber to my garden to meet Him. It’s windy, which is what I love because the wind always reminds me of the Holy Spirit. I wash myself and gently walk to the kitchen so as not to awaken my family; after all, if my kids hear the sound of anything they will want to get up and open gifts. Odd that this only happens once a year, where they would gladly arise as early as possible. After boiling the water, I make myself a cup of tea and ponder upon my own Christmas experiences.
I want to tell you about a wonderful moment I had with God one Christmas morning many years ago in South Africa. I was 10 years old and had a very tender heart, and although I had no real understanding of the sacrifice of Christ, very little knowledge of the Bible, and certainly no religious inkling, I had an awareness of God, the “Big God” in the sky. The year was 1966. I lived in a small industrial town called Uitenhage, where everyone knew each other’s business. The neighbors would borrow sugar from each other when they had none, and if there was an event in the town center, we would all be there.
Christmas was no different, and although it was not as beautiful, colorful or ostentatious as the Western world, it was celebrated as the day that Christ was born, with way too many unreligious festivities. We never really debated about the actual day or month that He was born, but we did know that it was a time to give. Everyone received gifts and because we were poor our gifts were humble. My parents did their best to give us what we desired, but they could not always afford it and so we had a variety of smaller gifts under the tree.
By the way, in order to give us the “feel” of Christmas, we would spray fake snow on our windows, trees and paths. We had a dog, a boxer named Caesar, and he was always covered in “snow.” He would replace the reindeer, so we had to use our imagination, which we did. Hot Christmas pudding (cake) was an English tradition, and it would be prepared with coins in the cake. All of us kids would have as many servings as possible to get as much of the money as possible, resulting in us all being rather sick. Somewhere in the cake there was a “crown,” which was equivalent to five shillings (and whoever got this would be the true winner).
The Wind and the Red Heart
I was always aware of God being omnipresent, but I could never imagine Him being close by. Then one Christmas morning I was awakened by a strong wind blowing outside. I tried to go back to sleep, but it sounded like the wind was calling me and I felt something turning around inside of me. It was unseasonably cold for our summer Christmas day, and so I wandered through the house to see if anyone else was awake, but they were all fast asleep. Not even the cats or dogs were stirring. The clouds had covered our sky and the wind was howling. I put my sweater on and stood by the Christmas tree and began feeling the presents that bore my name on the gift tag. I was notorious for trying to “feel” the package and guess what the gift was.
As I was doing this, a red heart fell from the tree into my lap. It was a decoration and had a few sparkles on it, and I had a beautiful sensation as I took it in my hand. Our family was not religious, and through my younger years my mother would take me to psychics and such, in order to discover the future for me. This was something she did with all my siblings. I was often told that I would go to a big country over the seas; even then the forces of darkness knew that a nation was calling me to bless them, but that expression was yet to be formed in me. It would take years of bittersweet experiences to get me to the Cross of Christ and then to this great nation called America.
As Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…” I had everything before me, but nothing for me.
I took the red heart and stared at it, not really knowing why I was feeling this mixed emotion. I wanted to laugh; I wanted to cry. Suddenly I got up and walked to our front door, which was banging because of the strong wind. I opened the door and had to apply force to stop it from smashing open. I was still in my pajamas and barefoot, but a determination drove me to a certain bush in the garden. I stood there in front of this bush and stared at it for several minutes. I took the red heart and looked up to the sky and said these words, “Jesus, here is my gift to You – my heart. I love You.”
The wind blew harder and I clasped the piece of paper and shoved it into the thicket, knowing that the wind could not dislodge it. I felt tears running down my cheeks and I remained in that position for a few minutes. I suddenly became aware of the stillness. The wind had died down to nothing. I ran back into the house with a warm feeling inside, knowing for sure that He had heard me. About an hour later I returned to the bush to watch over my “gift” to Him and the heart was gone. I secretly hoped that He had sent the wind to carry it to Jesus in Heaven.
It would take many years of encounters with distress, mistrust, pain and even death before I would finally fall into the arms of the same Jesus that I encountered at the age of 10. No man knocks himself down. If his destiny knocks him down, his destiny must pick him up again.
Thirty-eight years later, Jane and I went through the most painful experience in Dallas, Texas, when my son Caleb was accused of being a terrorist (13 years old) planning to bomb his school and was thrown into jail. The accusation was false, but not according to the media and the public. Only later would the courts prove them wrong. However, the accusations mounted and I was accused of harboring a terrorist (my son). The accusations spread into the most vicious rumors. Was this demonic or was this possibly dynamic?
I knew that I was supposed to move to California, but I was reluctant and somehow I suspected that my reluctance was actually disobedience. Had destiny knocked me down only to pick me up again? During this painful time I started growing bitter and angry. My soul was vexed and I wanted to fight back. I cancelled my ministry schedule and called the television network that was hosting my weekly TV broadcast to cancel my shows. I was angry with God. Christmas was approaching and I dreaded it. We had no money and my son Caleb was confused at this display of hatred against him and myself. I had to fake smiles and laughter because I didn’t want my other children to feel my anger.
A Heart-felt Story
Early Christmas morning I was awakened by a strong wind blowing outside. I tried to go back to sleep, but it sounded like the wind was calling me and I felt something turning around inside of me. I wanted to laugh; I wanted to cry. Suddenly I got up and walked to our back door, which was banging because of the strong wind. I opened the door and had to apply force to stop it from smashing open. I was still in my shorts and barefoot. I walked outside and stared into the sky and began to weep. Everything was exactly as it was in 1966; everything… but the soil.
I walked toward a pond that was in our backyard. The land was fairly large and so I continued until I was standing by one of our trees. I began to pray and asked God to forgive me for being bitter. I did not have much more to say… so I stood. It was one of the most beautiful times of my life. I knew He was there and I wept for a long time allowing Him to restore my broken soul. Then it happened. In the bush in front of me, I noticed some sparkles underneath it and I knelt down to look.
A Christmas card in the form of a heart had somehow been swept into the bush and it was dangling on a thorn. I could not believe what I was seeing. I reached forward and took it gently from the bush. It looked exactly the same as the red Christmas card heart that I had given Him in my small hometown that early morning in 1966. I grabbed it, pulled it towards me and then I heard His voice: “Here is My gift to you – My heart. I love you.”
Jesus gave us His heart, but it was wounded and broken. Presently America’s soul is wounded and needs restoration. Jesus only can do it. He will. Let us love Him for what He did 2,000 years ago on an old rugged cross on a lonely hill called Golgotha. Today, when you give your offering gift, remember this true story that I just shared with you. Your gift to Him will return to you one day when you need it.
Merry Christmas, God’s Warriors,
Prophetic Image Expressions
Kim Clement: The life of Kim Clement is an expression that has defined “the prophet” for the modern era. This has made his journey unique; a journey that has taken his inspired message to schools and colleges, churches and synagogues, alleyways and prison cells. Kim’s prophetic gift is a magnet that has drawn a broad audience, as he has whispered to kings and inspired prisoners, his path through life continues to be an exciting adventure. His diverse and extemporaneous perspective has gained him notoriety that transcends culture, race and religion, placing him onto a world platform. He has performed at the Rose Bowl Stadium in California, Times Square in New York City, Mt. Carmel in Israel and even the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.