|Our Christmas Tree!|
(Yes, it's a fake ficus tree. We're moving
in 2 weeks and we love it!)
Funny side note... this morning I was up first and praying when all 3 kids came out together. I looked up from my wrapped-in-a-blanket-kneeling position and said, "Well, I'm praying..." and Toby said, "What???" I repeated myself and he said "Oh. I thought you said you were PREGNANT!" Ha! That made me laugh. Mostly because if that had been what I was announcing, I would certainly not have told them like that! (Though I would likely still have ended up on my knees praying!) Still makes me chuckle.
Anyway! Back to the real purpose here. I love Christmas. I love the Advent season, preparing for the coming of Christ - recalling His coming 2000 years ago in the fullness of His humility and looking forward to His return in the fullness of His glory. But there is another thing that makes Christmas special for me. Christmas music is like a soundtrack that takes me back to the special time when I was preparing to give birth to my firstborn. In between contractions, I listened to Stephen Curtis Chapman's Home for Christmas album on December 13, 2000... waiting to find out if we had a baby boy or a baby girl. It helped me relate in a whole new way to Mary and the wonder of giving birth to Jesus - the Messiah - Emmanuel - the fullness of God in the flesh and bone of a newborn baby. (Is there a more vulnerable way He could have come?) Those songs still stir me with emotion and joy and amazement.
Did you read my last post? That and the music around me have gotten me thinking about Decembers. Thinking back to 15 years ago and then 10 years ago, here's what I noticed!
December 1995 - Lowell asked me to marry him. (I joyfully said YES!)
December 2000 - Lowell and I welcomed Mikaela Renee into our family.
December 2005 - Lowell and I were gathering with a group of people preparing to launch a new church in Sunnyside called The Grove.
December 2010 - Lowell and I are finishing our training to become missionaries with MBMSI.
Seriously, these are some of the most significant transitions that have happened in my life. (I could even go back to December 1990 when I was putting up Christmas decorations in my dorm as a freshman at Fresno Pacific... that Fall was the beginning of a significant season in my life as well. I don't really want to go back to 1985 because that was 7th grade - and who wants to think back there??? hee hee)
It's fascinating to look back at my life this way. It reminds me that God has a purpose for every season we pass through, to prune and shape and grow us and prepare us for the seasons to come. Sometimes we feel it and other times we don't, but every season is pregnant with purpose.
Solomon knew this. He wrote in Ecclesiastes the famous prose about there being a time for everything... to live, die, mourn, dance... He said God "has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil--this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before." (Ecc. 3:11-15)
Wow. Those are profound words. And they inspire me to pray.
That I will recognize the beauty of this time.
That I will be happy as I do good.
That I will find and recognize the GIFT of satisfaction in my toil.
That I will remember only what God does will endure forever.
That I would revere and honor Him.
That I would be still and know that He has a purpose for everything that has ever been and ever will be.
And that I would find joy in the knowing.