Christmas Eve

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest,And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke 2:13-15 (NKJV)

This time of year evokes memories. This time also pulls people into self-evaluation. How did I handle this year? What could I have done better? What would I like to see happen in the new year arriving next week?

Today it will be just Dale and I. We are doing last minute things around the house in anticipation of Little Man arriving the day after Christmas. So, today for the most part is a normal Saturday. Tomorrow we will go to church and celebrate the birth of Christ. It will be a quiet celebration for the day.

As I write, I wanted to say, Merry Christmas to all who are reading this post. At the beginning of this year I was struggling to write. This blog is almost a year old. The comments, the encouragement and the readers of this blog have given me gifts throughout the year. Your kindness and support hand me a treasure. Thank you for this year.

May this Christmas season be filled with blessings for you. May our Lord touch and heal areas that loom in the background of every day life. May joy become a daily presence in your lives. May laughter give you release and hope and increase your faith. As you celebrate through this season, may our God give you the desires of your heart.

Again, Merry Christmas and thank you for all you have done for me.

Our First Carolina Christmas

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (NKJV)

Thirteen years ago we moved to South Carolina. After many years we were by ourselves for Christmas. It was as strange reality for us. We knew our girls were grown, one married, the other busy traveling for her job. But, it was the first time that the term ’empty nesters’ hit us hard.

We ordered Christmas gifts for our daughters, and sent them. We were still trying to find a church home. We had tried a few churches and none seemed to fit right. We were a bit homesick for our routine we had in San Diego, we missed our daughters and it felt strange.

Christmas Eve we decided we would try another church. We went to the old town part of the city where we lived. It was a quaint church. It has a storied history, built originally in 1699, it has seen the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. It is a fascinating place and upon entering the building, you could feel the history in it.

Sitting down in a very crowded church, the balcony filled, the sanctuary filled, we felt like we were with family. Young couples holding onto toddlers dressed in Christmas finery, and wrestling with them to keep still and quiet. What we didn’t know was that this was the children’s service. The lights dimmed and the children took over, walking down the aisle and singing as only children can.

I sat crying through the whole service, remembering when our girls would sing like this, fidgeting with make-shift halo’s and wings, giving looks to shepherds who were acting like boys do.

Although it was not the church we ended up attending, that night, the Lord gave us a taste of family and home. The echoes of the past sang along with the children and as we left, we felt a bit more in love with our new home state.

As I remembered this today, my eyes once more filled with tears. This time of gratitude.

“God sets the solitary in families;” Psalm 68:6 a (NKJV)