Hi, my name is Ramona Brimstone. I’m one of the fictional women characters in Jerry Byrum’s romance novel, PERFECT MATCH. And he has asked me to share my thoughts of Christmas with you. I’m the first of his fictional characters to speak publicly.
If you’ve read PERFECT MATCH, you’ll recall I’m a 34 year-old ex-prostitute, turned preacher woman. I know it’s weird, but that’s who I used to be, before becoming who I am now. I used to pimp my body for the devil, but now I preach for my Creator from the pulpit of the fictional Faith United Mission Church, a growing congregation in the heart of the North Carolina mountains.
I had traveled down a rough path of alcohol, drugs, and sex with other women’s husbands before I discovered the true meaning of Christmas. One night in a small town in northwest Tennessee, after hitting the trendy bars, I ended up in a darkened parking lot and fell asleep in my car.
I awoke the next morning, when two men and two women were smiling as they tapped on my windshield. I was in pretty bad shape, disoriented. They coaxed me out of the car, and I stumbled into this tiny country church with their assistance. They were the kindest people, as they handed me two donuts and hot coffee. The women took me to the restroom and cleaned up my face with a warm washcloth. They put a couple Band-Aids on my head and arm where I’d gotten hit and scratched up during my wild partying the night before.
They didn’t pressure me, but they asked me if I would sit with them in the church service. Told me I’d enjoy the sermon, and they’d take me to lunch afterwards. Needless to say they’d caught me at a weak moment with a hangover, and they’d won me over with their kindness. I stayed, but kept having an urge to bolt back to my car. I’d never been to church, but I’d pegged it as some kind of creepy, spooky institution that I needed to avoid.
The preacher was a kindly gentleman with an honest smile, and unruly white hair. He preached on LOVING SINNERS. I remember chuckling to myself thinking that I was fully qualified to listen. He shared different occurrences from scripture of how Jesus loved all kinds of people, just as they were. I thought that idea was strange, because the men I’d been with wanted me to be something they wanted. I was a toy, a plaything for their pleasure, and I certainly had not experienced love from any of them.
The soft-spoken, country preacher described the compassion Jesus had for an adulterous woman he had met one day. As I sat there on the creaky wooden church pew listening, the idea that there was a Jesus who could love a woman like me was the most romantic, inviting thought I’d ever had. My pulse quickened at the thought of a man who would never leave me.
When the preacher gave the invitation for any who wanted to commit their life to Jesus Christ, I ambled down to that church altar, along with three other people. My head was still throbbing and my heart was breaking. I felt I was shattering into a million pieces, but I knew a good stiff drink later would take care of that, except the thought of booze sent a wave of nausea through my stomach, and I dropped that idea immediately. Instead, as I knelt at that altar, my single thought was how terribly “sorry” I felt for the mess I’d made of my life.
The only things I’d ever prayed for in life were all green traffic lights, and legislation that happy hour would be a 24/7 law of the land. So while kneeling at that worn wooden railing I was speechless, but somehow I moaned and groaned inside and finally, silently, squeaked out, “Please, Lord…please…help me…” Since that day I’ve concluded that God is a language expert, when it comes to interpreting the moans and groans of all Creation.
I wish I could tell you that on the morning I came face to face with forgiveness, there were bells and whistles sounding and lots of crazy fireworks and other spooky drama taking place, but I can’t. I simply felt very alone with only the presence of my Creator. Just the two of us , and for the first time I felt very small, but important that my Creator would spend time with me, flawed and frail as I was.
So from that day forward I took small steps learning about this Jesus person and his teachings. All through divinity school, with new knowledge and all, I tried to analyze, dissect, and explain my encounter with forgiveness. I finally gave up and decided to simply experience it and share it with others.
Because you see, Christmas is a gift that has forgiveness written all over it, and it’s wrapped with the romance of God. Yes! It’s true. God romanced a small insignificant young woman, Mary, filling her with Divine Love that produced a Son, Jesus. As a woman, some of the most exciting scriptures in my Holy Bible are the ones relating to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.” There is no greater intimacy than when God romanced Mary, and then prepared the life of the Son, Jesus, to be (for)given to all of mankind, further showing the far reaches of Divine Love.
Wouldn’t you just love to see the readout after scientists analyzed the DNA of Jesus? I would, and I’ll bet you my bra—uh…just kidding, that’s my old self trying to talk—but I will bet you a cup of coffee that all media headlines would announce the same message: “Yes, Virginia, Christmas really was a miracle birth.”
So this is Christmas: When I, a tarnished ex-prostitute, Ramona Brimstone and all the other characters in the novels of Jerry Byrum wish you Merry Christmas, it means we wish you the very best of what we believe here at Wildfire Romance Publishing. We want you to experience peace and joy in your life. It doesn’t matter what your faith, belief, or unbelief happens to be, the greeting still stands.
Because you see, Christmas is for everyone. It is the greatest giveaway and takeaway of the season. It trumps all commercial gadgets and trends. What happened in that manger 2,000 years ago didn’t stay in the manger. Yes, the news was out, spreading around the world, even all the way to Vegas. Christmas is a Creative gift that will not be hauled away with the crumpled holiday wrappings and trash next week. Christmas is everlasting. It will always be there…for you…waiting…