Twas the Night Before Christmas

This time of year always gets me thinking about family and Christmas traditions and favorite memories. I love to tell the stories of getting up in the wee hours of Christmas morning to nab my Christmas sock and see what was inside. Then I would also grab each of my siblings as well. One by one I would take them upstairs, attempt to wake my brothers or sister (usually unsuccessfully) and then proceed to tell them what they got as I emptied their socks on their beds! Good times!

My mom recently added to that memory something that I had forgotten. Apparently once I was done with my sock, she would hear the thud, thud, thud of the orange as I rolled it down the stairs. In her day, getting a big yummy orange in your Christmas sock was a wonderful treat… maybe not so much in mine?? Ha!

But one of our favorite memories is the years we spent with my Grandma. We had the honor of having her in our home for 10+ years and even though she could not express herself verbally, she still had a way of making us laugh! I managed to capture one of those moments in a now favorite family poem. I wrote this on Christmas Eve 1993:

 

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Every creature was stirring, even the mouse!

The stockings were thrown by the computer with flair

In hopes that the dogs would leave them there!

 

Some of the children were nestled all snug in the beds

While the other was visiting with the little girlfriend…

When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter

We ran to the living room to see what was the matter!

 

And what to our wondering eyes should appear…

But a sneaky Grandma with some holiday cheer!

As she scuffles to her room as fast as she can,

We soon hear the opening of the hot Coke can!

 

To the smell of pancakes hot on the stove,

We awake with frostbite on all of our toes!

With Momma cursing the bird in the pan,

We all gather ’round as close as we can.

 

The gifts are disbursed to all of the clan:

One for you and for me, and five for Gram!

Once the gifts are opened and the meal is ate,

We sit and ponder the thought: only 365 more days to wait!

 

Wishing you a wonderful holiday with your loved ones, celebrating the only Gift that brings joy and hope to our lives – Jesus!

Merry Christmas!

Our Wishes versus God’s will

Written Sept 2012: I think there are a couple of ways to look at this issue. One is that if we try to change our wishes to match up with God’s will, maybe we will not want whatever that is. Maybe God will ask me to go be a missionary in the Congo or something. So then I hesitate to ask God to change my desires to match His. However, God knows us and made us and designed us for a purpose that He set out ahead of time. If I am doing that purpose, then I will be doing the one thing that will bring me the most fulfillment and blessing and joy. There is no reason to hesitate to ask for that. The other thought is the mysterious “God’s will” that we are talking about. Often I have always thought of it as some elusive, secret knowledge that I may or may not become privy to . But in reality, I do not believe that God’s will is meant to be so hard to know or find. God wants us to live the life He designed for us to live. And as we live it, we are to experience abundant joy and blessing, thus bringing glory to Him. The way to know His will for any particular issue/problem is to be walking with Him daily. To be so close to Him that every decision is made in the light of His will and precepts. Why should I expect that I can live a life away from Him every day, doing my own thing, and then when the hard decisions come along that suddenly I will be enlightened with the heart of God?? It is my responsibility and God’s will that I know Him well enough to be in tune with Him all the time and then the hard decisions, while not being made easy, will at least be less frightening and anxiety provoking. There is so much reward to be had if only I will seek out the Lord every day: joy and peace and blessing and abundance…. why would I not want that?

Diversity versus Unity

Written Sept 2012: I like to think of myself as an individual. One that God made special. But then, the Bible tells us that we are part of one Body. Sometimes when I think of myself as part of a Body, I think that my individuality gets swallowed up and I become insignificant. But indeed I was created special, and I have been uniquely gifted and will be individually rewarded when I get to Heaven. I do not lose all of that as part of the Body. I have been given all of that to fulfill my irreplaceable role in the Body! I am not just one of a billion insignificant specs, but a vital part meant to communicate love and edify the rest of God’s people with the gifts and talents that I have been given, so that we collectively will glorify God. So then I have to wonder, what gifts have I been given that I should be using to glorify God, edify His people and communicate love? How should I be doing it?

Longing versus Contentment

Written Sept 2012:  I just finished a book, “One thousand gifts,” that touches on these topics. Often times I would think that if I had to be content, then that meant denying myself and I would get this pity party started. And while there is a lot of self denial involved, it isn’t about going without, as much as it is having the Lord fill in the missing pieces. It is about recognizing that He loves me. ME. And He chose ME. And He wants me to be in a real, vibrant love relationship with Him. My perspective has to change. My expectation that somehow I deserve something or He owes me something is simply erroneous. He has given me things that I have yet to recognize and when I open my eyes to those gifts of love, then I will find contentment and joy. It took me a while to think about what I was longing for. But in the end I believe it is an intimate relationship with one who knows me and loves me completely. And while we often think that this is an earthly husband – it is not. They are still human and are therefore incapable of being able to completely satisfy that longing. Only God Himself can. He can fill my longing for acceptance and love and intimacy of spirit and soul that no one else can. In church on Sunday the sermon was taken from 2 Kings 3. Here God told the people to dig ditches for water that He would provide. There were two points here: first, they were required to do the work to receive the blessing, therefore we need to put the work into our relationship with Him; secondly the amount of work that we put into it, is directly proportional to the blessing or depth of filling that God will provide. So, if they only dug one shallow ditch, they would have only gotten a little water. For me, if I want to be completely satisfied in my inmost being by an intimate relationship with the One who passionately pursues me, then I need to dig for it. I need to put the effort in. But oh, the reward! There is nothing more wonderful than to be free to be me and know that I am wholly and completely loved and carried in His arms. I don’t want that just to be theological head knowledge, but my actual daily experience of God in my life. I want to live abundantly in joy all because of Him, not anything the world can/has given me. And if I can, then I should be able to be content with whatever circumstances/challenges that come my way.