Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas’ Past...Christmas Presence



Over 2 thousands years ago...


 “...some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.”
20 years ago ~ December 22-28 1992...


My family who was scattered across three different states, all got together for Christmas at my parents home in the mountains of Colorado. This was the first time in 5 years we were all together. It was also the first time in countless years it could be said that we all got along really well! I can still recall saying Christmas night as I laid down beside Brad...that this was my favorite family Christmas as an adult. I also remember praying and thanking God for giving me this surprising perfect gift for Christmas as I fell asleep. 

It was a Monday morning... 3 days after Christmas. I sat beside my dad and Brad...each of us laughing and talking while everyone else was either still sleeping or just getting up when my world changed forever. 

In the middle of all our fun and commotion together...I noticed in the corner of my eye that my dad had not only stopped talking but had dropped his head to his chest.  It took me a few seconds to realize something was wrong. I spoke to him asking if he was “ok”...but had no response. 

I didn’t know it then, but my dad’s heart had just suddenly stopped beating...and he was gone. In the blink of an eye...my dad who was full of joy and love had left this world and entered Heaven more joyous and loved than he ever imagined. 

December 2012...Christmastime is here again. This year will be the 5th Christmas I will be without both my dad and my husband Brad. Brad’s death from cancer in 2008 was not unexpected like my dad’s death.
Yet, seriously...I never imagined Christmas in 2007 would be Brad’s and my last together anymore than I imagined Christmas in 1992 would be the last one with my dad. 

Christmastime has been hard on my heart for some time. I miss my two favorite men!  You know...I like to imagine that they miss me too. Both of them loved to surprise me at Christmas with gifts that they knew would bring a smile to my face and a big hug to them! I loved to do the same for each of them as well. Perhaps this Christmas they are asking God with anticipation in their voices the same question I’m asking...“When will we see each other again...soon?”

All those Christmas’ past we shared and the gifts we bought each other...they may have unwrapped smiles and hugs in each of us ...but the best part of the gifts we shared was the joy and love we felt for each other. Unlike any gift we can buy...the gifts of love and joy are ones that last forever...even after those who gave them to us have left our side. 

This Christmas season, when I pray...I have been asking the Lord to help me not to see this season as a reason for me to be so sad. As I ask God to comfort me I also ask that He remind me once again who I am to Him...that I’m His beloved child...and that I’m the bride of Christ!  

Isn’t it something...that as I long for my dad...God reminds me He’s always been and still is my good and loving Father. And when I long for my husband...that Jesus is my Beloved Groom...and I am his cherished bride. 

God is also reminding me He loves to give surprise gifts at Christmastime too! 

I am reminded that God’s gifts are not the ones I’ll find wrapped in paper and set under a tree ...but comes wrapped in swaddling cloth and nailed to a tree. 

God delights to surprise His children and see us smile as He blesses us with just what He knows is needed. His abundant provisions can always be found by having a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.

You know... I think each day God hopes to see my joy as I unwrapped the day He has given me to live. He has many treasures for me to unwrap with Him...but to find them all...I must walk along the path He has set them on. 

He gives all us the choice at Christmastime and throughout the year to embrace His greatest gift He has given...one that will last forever and ever...or to settle on the things wrapped in paper and will one day fade away... 

Oh that we would not leave unopened this Christmas, God’s most valuable gifts to us...The Present of His Presence. The Gift of Jesus. 

I’ve decided this Christmas season to seek and find God’s “surprise” gifts he has set out just for me each day... I can just imagine God is smiling each time my heart squeals with delight as I thank him for giving me exactly what I needed!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

With heartfelt gratitude...Thank You for giving me your gifts of encouragement, love and support in writing this devotional blog...I am blessed by each of you. 

I pray for each of you to be filled with the joy God promises...for you to draw closer to God and “fixing your thought on Jesus” (Hebrews 3:1)

Glory!

Kathy 


“I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband.
I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”                          ~ Revelation 21:2-5 The Message

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