Charlie was 25 when he married. He had spent his entire life in the Nebraska Sandhills. Born into a ranch family, he learned to ride a horse before he was five. School days were filled with long bus rides until he was old enough to drive. He spent his summers checking fence and moving cattle from pasture to pasture. Grass covered sand dunes required constant care and Charlie quickly learned how important the grass was to his family.
When spring told everyone, it was time to brand growing calves, it was far more than a family affair. Neighbors from across the hills and valleys brought their horses, the vaccines, the branding irons, and the food for a day filled with pride, laughter, promise, and nourishment.
This was a life lived with courage, strength, endurance, patience and quiet respect for the land and its Creator.
Olivia was 24 when she married. She had spent her entire life in the hustle and bustle of Lima, Peru. Glittering malls and neighborhood friends were never far away.
Her father owned a dress shop in the heart of the city. Olivia grew up around the sound of sewing machines, scissors, and the smells of perfume.
With one hand on her mother’s skirt, she would gaze up at the red and green and yellow and white dresses, each fit for a princess. Watching her mother and father design beautiful garments brought delight to her eyes. She dreamed of following in her family’s footsteps and hoped to one day make a dress for the first lady of Peru.
But driving away from the city lights, Olivia had other dreams as well.
She wanted to spread her wings and fly; not down the street or across the country, but to a northern sky and its nighttime stars. With a cousin in the middle of America at a place called Lincoln, Olivia convinced her parents to send her on her way to a university place as different as night and day, a place she had never been before.
Charlie and Olivia could not have been more different. From the color of their hair, to the languages they spoke, to the dreams they had; Charlie and Olivia were destined for different worlds and different lives. Until they met under an old lamp on the last study table in the corner of the library, the one on the corner of 13th and R, the one established in 1947; the one properly named Love Library.
Charlie and Olivia could not have been more different. But when the Nebraska sandhills and the Lima sidewalks meet under the Creator’s stars, anything is possible. When temporal love comes down, the world will never be the same for a boy in ruddy blue jeans and a girl in a pretty red dress.
When an angel comes down to a peasant girl in a faraway place, who is to say what Eternal Love has in mind? When her fiancé’s heart beats in rhythmic sadness at the news of her pregnancy, who is to say what a Bridegroom’s Love has in mind? When dusty roads and tiring travel bring them to a house with no rooms left, who is to say what a Redeemer’s Love has in mind? When a baby’s first cries lift upward to heaven, who is to say what a Messiah’s Love has in mind?
But when angel voices from above tell trembling shepherds below, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy for all people…” When heavenly messengers tell wide eyed caretakers, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord,” eternity’s inquiry is finished. Immanuel’s Love has spoken!
Earth and heaven could not have been more different. But when the Love of God and a broken world meet in a baby’s beating heart, anything is possible. On Christmas day, God’s Love came down to meet us and forgive us, to speak to us and love us. For Charlie, for Olivia, for everyone. That is the greatest gift of all.