The Greatest Gift of Love by Barbara E. Haley

 

 

holy famlyThanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV)

 

Christmas would never be the same. My husband of thirty-seven years was spending his first Christmas in Heaven, and I was alone.

I couldn’t bear the thought of signing my name only to Christmas cards. The year before, I’d considered not sending cards because postage was so expensive. But my husband disagreed. He’d said, “Cards speak love to people, and that’s the best money we can ever spend.”

So I bought cards, wrote notes, and signed my name. After a few moments, however, the emotional pain became unbearable. I pushed the cards away and wept openly. “Will I ever enjoy Christmas again, Lord?”

God answered—immediately sending a thought to my mind.

Stop dwelling on what Christmas was, and think about what Christmas is.

Fresh hope and unexpected joy filled my soul as the truth of what I’d just heard in my spirit took root. I thanked God for what Christmas was . . . and then for what Christmas is. Because of Christmas, I am a child of God. Because of Christmas, I will see my husband again some day.

Memories are so very precious, not to be left behind. But there is also joy ahead in life as we consciously embrace the new gifts God has for us each and every day.

Prayer

Lord, remind us in this season to ponder what Christmas          truly  is—a gift of everlasting life and love                              from our heavenly Father above. Amen

 

 

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The Light of Christmas by Raquel Martina Martinez

 

blue starSuddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God. . . Luke 2:13 (NIV)

Birthday candles make us smile.  Porch lights scare away the darkness.  The dawn of a new day promises hope.

Flambé desserts and fireflies delight us.  Flashes of lightning and the night sky full of stars amaze us.  A store-bought Christmas fir transforms into a magical tree with a simple string of lights.

Our eyes are drawn to the light.  It warms us both inside and out.  It assuages the lonely, the sad, and the lost.

If the familiar overwhelms us, how does one describe a sky filled with “a great company” of angels, a multitude of celestial beings lighting up the heavens announcing Jesus’s birth? How did the shepherds feel at such a sight?

Glorious? Terrified? Transformed?

 

Prayer

Dear Lord:  You are the promise of a new day.  You are the light in the darkness. You are my beacon of hope, my ever present comfort. This Christmas season, I promise to make you the focus of my celebration. Amen

 

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Joy, Joy, Joy by Cathey Edgington

blue starHe will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of His birth.

Luke 1:14 (NIV)

The shrieks of joy filled the quiet living room as my sisters and I entered and saw the dolls sitting beneath the Christmas tree.  We each grabbed one and hugged it, giggling with       delight.

Momma and Daddy sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee and watching us.  Momma told us to sit down on the floor and she brought each of us our Christmas stocking and nodded.  With shrieks of joy, we dumped the contents on the floor.  The stockings always held an apple, an orange, nuts, crème drops, and a banana.  I savored the first bite of the crème drop because Christmas was the only time I would get this  candy.  It was a delight.

Another joy in my life was the birth of my sons.  The responsibility of having a little baby sometimes overtook the joy, but   I knew God had blessed me and would help me to raise them.   I wonder how Mary felt when her baby was born knowing He was the Messiah.  Did she feel joy and delight?  Was she  sometimes overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising this special baby?  Mary’s baby is still bringing joy to this world.

Prayer

Abba Father, let me feel the joy and delight of Christmas throughout the year. Let me rejoice in Jesus, the true joy of Christmas. Amen

 

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An Image of Love and Joy

 

20151210_192636-1.jpg… You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with      all your mind.… You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matt 22: 37, 39 (NAS)

by Alfred W. Bates

My wife, Linda, and I are blessed with eight grandchildren, three girls and five boys, and we love them all very much. Each child is unique in his or her own way and like   different things. It’s challenging deciding what to give them for Christmas. Most have outgrown the use for toys and   desires have changed to items like electronics, clothing, sporting goods, and music. Although their ages ranged from nine to nineteen, last year we decided to give each of them camouflage clothing as one of their gifts.

 

We knew it possible some might not like the present, so we sat patiently watching faces as each child opened the unique Christmas gift. To our joy, everyone showed surprise and love for their gift, including our nine-year-old granddaughter who received a special vest and hat. Each child proudly modeled the camouflage in their own way and poked fun at each other. One of the children eagerly suggested a group picture. The photo captured everyone smiling and wearing their gift, while preserving for us an image of love and joy.

Prayer

 

Heavenly Father, thank you for your gift of Jesus, and the opportunities you provide us to let your love shine through to our families, friends, and neighbors throughout the year. Amen

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Let’s Get Out of the Hypochondriac Ward by David Justiss

 

20161205_161827.jpgDon’t make light of the Lord’s discipline… strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.                    Heb 12:5,12 (NIV)

 

Gerald said he lost his head. Edna was quadriplegic, except when she used the restroom. Mildred had been blind since her knee surgery. Tommy lost both legs in the war when a bullet grazed his thigh. Every morning the patients lined up for their medication and the nurse handed out placebos.

At Christmastime, The Counselor arrived with gifts.       Eagerly, they opened the packages. Gerald frowned at his new sunglasses. Mildred gazed at photos of her family. Edna held a sewing kit. Tommy unwrapped a bicycle.

They complained, “What is this mockery?”

The Counselor insisted, “They are for you to use.”

After Christmas, he remained with them. Every day he gave Gerald a new hat. He tossed apples to Mildred, who caught them every time. The Counselor never ran out of ways to trick Edna and Tommy into walking on their own two legs. The nurse  offered comfort, but the Counselor offered healing.

It didn’t come easily. For a long time, Edna relied on her wheelchair. Gerald claimed his hat rested on the end of his neck. The Counselor worked with them with endless patience.          Eventually, not only did Tommy ride his bike, he also ripped off  his fake white beard, remembering he wasn’t yet 30.

 

Prayer

Father, as your sons and daughters, we aren’t meant to carry injuries you’ve already healed. Thank you for your            patience to meet us where we are. Amen

 

 

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In Loving Hands by Irma Crutchfield

 

20161126_224212.jpgA righteous man cares for the needs of his animals.

Proverbs12:10 (KN)

 

Mornings started the same for me, a cup of green tea with honey. I headed for the garage to get a food to feed the stray neighborhood cats. I knew I shouldn’t, but I didn’t want to see them starve.

One morning I heard a small cry and saw a tiny little black and white kitten with huge long white whiskers and emerald green eyes. I instantly fell in love and named her Emerald. I tried to pick her up but she was too scared.

When I fed the other cats she was always near. I tried to get close and touch her but she meowed and ran off.

One morning Emerald didn’t show up. I worried and my heart sank when the little kitten did not appear. I looked everywhere. I walked the neighborhood streets searching for the little kitten, asking neighbors if they had seen her. I prayed to God for her to be safe. I wanted to see Emerald again.

On December 25th I dreamed I saw two big hands coming down from Heaven, and when they opened, Emerald was in them. I knew she was with the Lord. I woke up crying, knowing Emerald was safe and in God’s loving hands.

 

Prayer

God you have always proven to me that I need to completely have faith in You. I will always give to You my concerns as You have instructed me.  I love you. Amen

 

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Second Chance by Rodolfo I. Dumapias

 

blue star…We too were foolish…But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us…because of His mercy. Titus 3:3-5 (NIV)

 

Weary and hungry past midnight, I wanted to reach Bucharest quickly to bring home Yuletide gifts.  On Piteste Highway, I outraced every car, ignoring traffic rules despite the snow flurries.  After all, I was a foreign diplomat driving a Mercedes in Romania.

A car sped from behind until we were neck-to-neck.  Worse, it was a locally-made Dacha.  I had to win.  Suddenly, a deer from the nearby woods ran to cross my path.  I quickly pressed the brakes, but still hit the animal.  My hood damaged, I stopped,   angry for losing the race.

Resuming my journey, I discovered the Dacha hit a truck, was totally damaged, and its passenger lying on the pavement, covered with newspaper, bloodied, dead.  Shocked, I felt compassion,    regret, and guilt.  Killing a deer was bad enough, but worse—I may have led a person to a tragic end.

Convicting me for my arrogance, God emphasized that Love—not pride—is the reason for living, the foundation of His sovereignty, judgment, and mercy.  He gave me a second chance to    accept Jesus Christ and change my ways.  At Christmas dawn,    my old self died.  My new life began.

Prayer

Lord, give gift of Love to the proud, high-and-mighty sitting on power, fortune, fame, and Godless teachings, so they may have this season a second chance. Amen

 

 

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