The Heart Of Christmas

As a Body & Soul Fitness instructor, I don’t repeat a lot of older routines once I have learned the new session. The big exception is Christmas 2012 which I have taught for the past 5 years for the 6 weeks before Christmas.  It is always wonderful to revisit and be brought back to a particular night teaching at a new venue in Walker, Minnesota. 

I went one wintry night to teach in a sanctuary that was beautifully lit for Christmas.  The class was a small, but filled with a passionate group of women who loved Jesus and me.  My heart was heavy with loss.  My mom had died in October and our oldest daughter, Rachel was living in New York and hadn’t had contact with her family due to a man she was dating. Earlier that day, our daughter Hannah had asked me if I would pray with her about inviting Rachel to Christmas.

That night as we were doing an end stretch to the song “The Heart of Christmas,” I was worshipping in my spirit and reaching forward with my body, when I felt the Lord tangibly speak. He said He would bring Rachel home for Christmas. It was an incredibly powerful moment for me, tingly and all. I shared with the women and we prayed about it at the close of the class.

On December 18, Rachel called her faithfully praying sister, Hannah, and said, “I am waiting in a bus station and I won’t leave until I get on a bus home.” *

“Wherever you are, no matter how far, come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas.  Live while you can, cherish the moment and the ones that you love, make sure they know it, and don’t miss it, the heart of Christmas. You will find Him in a manger, the heart of Christmas has a name.”

Body & Soul is more than an excellent exercise program that uses Christian music (though it is that). It is a place where God meets with people as they work out and worship. And this is just one more example that He is living and active and relentless in His pursuit of a relationship with us.  He is, indeed, the heart of Christmas.

*Rachel has an amazing story of escape from an abusive relationship. Her story is miraculous and she now speaks on being a survivor and helps women trapped in the cycle of abuse.


Julie Swedburg lives in Minnesota, with her husband who pastors a church. They have 4 adult children and 3 grandchildren and love every moment with them. She learned about Body & Soul Fitness when they moved to California and the ministry has been a lifeline ever since. Julie has a “personal trainer,” a 10 year-old girl who she provides care services for, and she teaches Body & Soul Fitness classes at her church facility and Redwood Area Community Center.

2 Comments on “The Heart Of Christmas”

  1. Julie, thank you for sharing this story, it literally gave me chills. And I don’t know why, but your face came to me as I began reading it, even though I don’t remember ever hearing it and I didn’t know your children’s names. May God richly bless your family this Christmas Julie, I miss seeing you and hope to soon!

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