On December 18, 1994, as I sat in church and listened to my pastor preach about baby Jesus coming at Christmas, I decided I wanted to know Jesus like he said I could.

I was six years old. I don't remember many other sermons from that time in my life, but I do remember listening intently to that one, and little pricks in my heart kept telling me that today was the day.
I needed to make a decision to give Jesus my heart. I wanted to be saved.

I prayed along with my pastor, telling Jesus that I wanted a relationship with Him. Asking for His forgiveness from my sins, and thanking Him for dying on the cross so that I could be in heaven when I died.
Simple. Childlike. Full of faith. The best decision I have ever made.

I didn't fully understand all the Scriptures or know all the implications of the Gospel in all areas of life - I still don't. Thankfully, that wasn't a prerequisite. But faith was, and I had that. When I was about 11 years old, I remember thinking that I couldn't possibly have known what I was doing when I was 6 and so young.
But the Lord allowed a children's devotional Bible to teach me a lesson I will cling to the rest of my life:
Salvation is not based on my feelings, it's based on what Christ did on the cross.
I might not always feel saved or feel close to the Lord. But the Lord never changes and what Christ secured for me through His death and resurrection cannot be shaken.

That relationship I started with Jesus turns 18 years old today! I guess you could say it is my "Golden" spiritual birthday, since it is 18 years on the 18th of December. I am so thankful that Jesus has been with me through my most formative years of life. I cannot imagine life without having the sure foundation of Christ. There have often been times, seeing tragedy and death occur, that I have wondered how in the world I would ever get through life if I didn't know the Lord.

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Ps. 18:2

This yearly reminder of my commitment to follow Christ with my life is one of my favorite things about Christmastime. The Christmas story has always captivated me - playing with the nativity scenes in our house was one of my favorite things to do - and I cherish that the Lord saw fit to use the story of baby Jesus to draw my heart to His and give me enough 6-year-old faith to accept His gift of salvation. 

"Sing, Daughter Zion;
 shout aloud, Israel!Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!

The Lord has taken away your punishment,    
He has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm." Zephaniah 3:14-15