Blessings Are Not All Alike


Today it’s my pleasure to introduce Nanette Thorsen-Snipes, one of the contributing authors in 21 Days of Christmas. I hope you enjoy this holiday story of hers as much as I did.


In December of 1976, I had been divorced for about six months, and my two young boys and I were living in a townhouse in Marietta, Georgia. The town square, shopping malls, and houses were trimmed with lights and twinkling Christmas trees. But with tight finances, our little home remained dark.

About a week before Christmas, a friend brought us a slightly lopsided live Christmas tree, which my sons and I dressed up with a few lights and some garland. David and Donnie were thrilled. I bought two small presents for each of them from the Dollar Store.

As Christmas loomed closer, some of the tree’s needles turned brown and dropped, lodging in my yellow shag carpet. On Christmas Eve, my seven-year-old and I lugged the dying tree to the curbside. David, wanting to be the man of the house for his mother, kept saying, “It’s all right, Mama.” In my heart, though, it wasn’t all right.

I knew the Lord, but I wasn’t following Jesus at that time. As a newcomer to Marietta, I hadn’t connected with any churches in the area. Although my father lived just a few miles away, he didn’t invite us to come over for Christmas. No one seemed to want us.

On Christmas morning, the three of us sat on the floor in front of the coffee table, where I gave the boys their gifts. Donnie’s bubble-gum machine immediately broke. David tried to fix it, but—like my shattered heart—it couldn’t be fixed. Our Christmas dinner was fish sticks and french fries.

That whole year had been one bad experience after another, and Christmas just seemed to top it all off.
Though I didn’t know it at the time, God presented me with a gift that year that was worth more than anything I could have wished for. He blessed me with the gift of mercy and compassion. I now empathize with those who are going through difficult circumstances. Because of my experiences, I know how to comfort others.
In the years following that Christmas, God has used me to share Jesus’ love with those around me who were in need. Whether their misfortune involved financial issues, death, serious illness, depression, or anything else, God often prompted me to give, even when my own finances were tight.

God has used everything that has happened in my life to teach me lessons I’ve needed to learn. And I have discovered that He always provides—not always at the moment of my need, but sometimes far into the future, for someone else’s benefit.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV)


Nanette Thorsen-Snipes has chapters in three of the four Fiction Lover’s Devotionals: 21 Days of Christmas, 21 Days of Grace, and 21 Days of Love. Find out more about Nan at Visit for links to purchase the devotionals individually. Or to get the four-book gift set. Or to purchase discount-priced copies of 21 Days of Christmas for $10 or 21 Days of Grace for $5—while supplies last.