My Imaginary Friend

My Imaginary Friend

When I was a little girl I had an imaginary friend, her name was Lindy. Now, because I was raised as an only child, It makes complete sense to me that I would need an imaginary friend. I would talk to Lindy and play with Lindy. Lindy went to the grocery store with me and my daddy,  and to his horror I would require my daddy to lift Lindy into the cart just like he had me, and place her beside me. I also would not rest until Daddy would put Lindy in the car beside me, and more than once daddy closed the door on her and had to open it up again and let her in. All of this was to his embarrassment as other adults looked on in whatever particular public place we were in at the time. Lindy was my best friend and this obsession went on for several weeks,  maybe even months I don’t really remember, I was just a kid living in the moment , but my mother used to tell the story. I am pretty sure that out of my parents exasperation one day, my mother must of mentioned her frustration to my Grandma Northcutt. (her mother)

 

So one day Grandma Northcutt sat me down and asked me exactly what did Lindy look like. As I explained to her that Lindy had long dark hair like me, and brown eyes, she wore a wedding dress sometimes and also had a red coat and boots. It wasn’t long before one day when I was at Grandmas house she had me sit down and close my eyes. As she laid something in my lap she told me to open my eyes I cried out “Lindy” with a loud shriek in my voice.  Because there in my arms suddenly laid Lindy!

 

My Grandma was an excellent seamstress and had taken the time to make me a doll just as I had described Lindy looked. She was even my size and Grandma Northcutt had even taken the time to embroider brown eyes and rosy red lips and attached long black yarn to her head for hair. She has stuffed the body with cotton so it was soft to hold and yes, she even made the wedding dress and red coat and boots I had mentioned. Grandma saw what I had imagined and made it possible for me to have it.

 

What are you dreaming and imagining today? Oh! It isn’t uncommon for children to dream and imagine things, from being super heroes to fireman or teachers and even having imaginary friends is a common thing for young children. From little children, we grow up and become teenagers and can’t wait to get our drivers licence, and from our drivers licence we want to grow up and have a family,  and as some point, some of us begin to dream about retirement and not having any of that, that they had we wished and hoped for, for so many years.

 

But somewhere along the way we grow up and we stop dreaming,  and by dreaming I mean we give up our greater hopes and dreams that are bigger than ourselves, that it would take a miracle to have and we start thinking about more realistic expectations we should have, but we stop imagining. Maybe it’s because we become wiser or some might just call it cynical. Maybe it’s because we have been disappointed so many times we just don’t want to risk it happening again.  But let me ask you something, have you stopped dreaming?

 

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.” And I can’t totally disagree with that, nor can I totally agree with it.  See I believe God wants us to dream and plan. I believe He wants to give us the desires of our hearts. But the distinguishing factor is “What are we dreaming and planning?” Proverbs tells us “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way….” Proverbs 19:2-3 ESV

 

So I think the important thing we learn here is, what kind of knowledge do we need to have here? I don’t know about you,  but I think the best knowledge is God’s wisdom and guidance so we need to learn exactly what that is. What does God want us to dream?  If we look over in Matthew 5:6 ESV we see He says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” So we know He wants us to is to seek Him, to dream of what we can do for Him. All too often,  people want to dream of winning the lotto or having a bigger home, whatever meets their physical needs but God is more concerned about our character than He is our comfort. In Psalms 145:19 ESV we find Him telling us “ He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” We can trust that God will take care of us, when our desires and focus is on building His kingdom and growing in Him rather than our own selfish desires. He tells us this time and time again in His word but nowhere is it so clear to me as it is in Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”  God wants good things for us, just like we want good things for our children but the direction He gives us says it all “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 So let me ask you another question, where is your mind set? Is it more worried about what someone thinks of you or what you have to do tomorrow, then what God wants you to do and how you can bless Him with the way you live your life and love others. ‘

 

This past week our oldest spoke at his college alma mater and shared with the students some of the most basics of God’s love and how we as Christians should act if we are claiming to be Christ’s followers and living for Him. Jeff and I only got to view it on Facebook Live but after it was over I sent a text message to our son and said “ I have never been prouder of you son” to which he called me and said “Really Mom, Really?” He said “ After I have given you a grandson, I have graduated from college, gotten my Masters Degree and this is what you are most proud of” To which I replied “ Yes”,  and you know why it made me the most proud? Because it has an eternal purpose. What He was doing there had an eternal purpose and impacted those young people that will totally change their lives. To me, nothing else matters more. I believe that is the way God feels as well. He wants our focus and dreams and plans to be what can we do to make an eternal difference for Him. When our mind is focused on the things above, all this stuff on earth will come together. He promises us that in Matthew 6:33 When he said “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these things will be added to you”  So how about this week, we focus on the seeking after God and growing in Him, because I bet if you do, He is gonna say He has never been prouder of you!

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We love like we have been loved

We love like we have been loved

Recently,I got to sit around and reminisce with our oldest son about past Christmases he had with his Grandma Lewis. (my momma) He reminded me that she showed up one year in her car completely packed from front to back, top to bottom, with Christmas presents and only enough room for her to sit in the driver’s seat with her little head of her barely 5 ft frame peeping over the steering wheel. This was the perfect example of a Christmas with my mom or any holiday truthfully,  and for no reason that I can comprehend, Lee accused his father and I of being worst with his kids. Just because we always bring his kids something when we come to visit or send presents on holidays when we can’t be there. As I explained to my daughter-in-love. We love those kids like we have been loved. It can be as something as silly as a bag of apples and oranges that Jeff will bring in a box and act as if it is something super special, lining the children all up and telling them to close their eyes because he has a prize for them. To the better gifts that the grandchildren say I know how to pick out. We all laugh and have a good time, just making them feel special.

 

I guess you could say gift giving was my family’s love language. I can’t even image only giving one gift a piece to my grand kids at Christmas. Now mind you, we don’t necessarily give big expensive gifts and I have even been know to buy good used toys for my grands and give them. I can remember my mom wrapping a 6 pack of sock by taking each pair out and wrapping it individually, just so it looked there were like a lot of gifts under the tree. My mom who lived on less than $700 a month in her retirement years, found so much joy in giving that she would find ways to make sure all 3 of us (at the time) would have tons of gifts under the tree. Not that buying presents is the only way to show love, but it is and outward sign of an inward feeling for my family. My parents who raised me, showed me such unconditional love when they took me in as a newborn and raised me as I was their own. I know without a doubt they would of given their lives for me.

 

I was talking this past week to a friend who had, a negative experience in love. She was previously in an abusive relationship and now that she has found new love she was scared to take the next step. She told me,” If you have never felt a love like that than it is hard to realize you can be loved in that way.”

 

That really got me thinking, in this world where New York just approved to legalize abortion up to the day of birth, made me ask “What are people so scared of? As parents, our jobs are not easy it can be a scary thing raising a child and being solely responsible for it.  Especially if you have never really been loved. We live in a society where the traditional roles have been shattered and whether you agree with it or not you have to say that it has only made people more confused about their place in relationships are. Perhaps that is why marriage seems to becoming more and more extinct. People are afraid to commit to marriage and we have to ask the question why? Are they afraid to love because they have never really been loved?

 

Marriage is a covenant between two people before God committing their love to one another forever and the wise ones who make that covenant know it can’t be done without God’s help. Many who make that covenant these days know they need to love like the way they have been loved. With an unconditional love that the father above has given them. It is only when we accept that love and trust in the Heavenly Father that we can really love like we are suppose to love. Jeff Miller knows me, He knows every part about me, the good, the bad and they ugly,  and he still loves me. So when I get upset with Jeff, I have to remember how much he has put up with from me.

 

If we will all just be honest with ourselves, none of us are perfect but yet we have the God who created the universe who wants to be part of our life. Yet, we can’t grasp that kind of love. We can’t grasp the idea of God not expecting perfection but, He is simply looking for surrender. As a child it wasn’t uncommon that under the Christmas tree each year it would be full of gifts. Jeff and I did the same with our children and now with our grands. We simply are showing the love that we received. I hope today, you realize there is a man who hung on a tree and gave His life for you. Because He loves you. How about today we love Him with unconditional love too. How about we surrender our life to Him and share the amazing love He has given us with others.

Mommy, Where are Woo, Where are woo?

Mommy, Where are Woo, Where are woo?

In 2000 Jeff and I bought our first ever home, Chad was 3 and was pretty overwhelmed with the move. After all,  we were moving from the only home he had ever known, that was maybe 1200 square feet, with average ceiling heights to a now almost 2000 square foot home that was built in the early 1900’s,  and was the first doctor’s home in          De Soto Kansas with 10 foot high ceilings. I imagine to a little 2 and a half foot kid that seemed huge.

It wasn’t uncommon the first week or so as I was be going from room to room, unpacking and decorating our home that I would here this little cry “Mommy, where are woo?,  Where are woo? I would hear this coming from Chad, and I would go to him and reassure him that “I am here baby!” and he would , either follow me around scared he would get lost again in the massive place he now called home,  or ask his question and return to playing, but often times he just wanted to know where I was and be close to me so he could see me.

In Genesis 16 we pick up the story of Sarai and Hagar, Sarai has taken matters into her own hands and decided to have Abram sleep with her maid servant (not totally a uncommon practice back then) so they could conceive a child. But because it wasn’t God’s perfect plan, Sarai becomes jealous of Hagar and well Hagar isn’t too pleased with Mrs Sarai either, because after all she thinks she deserves a little more respect than she is getting from the bosses wife, so they both begin to have second thoughts, Sarai is then so mean to Hagar that Hagar runs away to the desert. We pick up the story with Hagar at a spring in the desert:

8 And he (the angel) said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant

   and you will give birth to a son.

You shall name him Ishmael,[a]

   for the Lord has heard of your misery.

12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;

   his hand will be against everyone

   and everyone’s hand against him,

and he will live in hostility

   toward all his brothers.”

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

 

Have you ever felt like you were in a desert place in your life? Have you ever felt mistreated or unappreciated? Did you want to run away from everything?  I am pretty sure that is how Hagar was feeling, and not only that but now she was alone in a desert, not knowing where she would go or what to do, she just knows she doesn’t want to be in that situation any longer. She has made a mess of her relationship with her boss,  and well her boss didn’t handle things well either.

I believe this is a story of hope, hope that no matter where you are, no matter what is going on in your life, God sees you!  Just like I saw Chad in that big old house that was totally overwhelming to him, God sees you in this big old world that is sometimes terribly overwhelming to you.

Hagar suddenly had an epiphany, that the God of her masters sees her. Perhaps it was a revelation to her? After all, being from Egypt she was not raised to know the God of Abram.

Let me remind you that God also sees you, We have the advantage of being able to look back on these stories in the bible and learn from them. We have God’s promises that says

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deut 31:6

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11

And there are countless more we can find in God’s word that says He cares about us. But I think the real question is the second part of what Hagar says to us “ I have now seen the one who sees me” Have you really seen the God who sees you? Or is He just a casual acquaintance that you know from a distance? Like Hagar, who probably had no relationship with God before this point. She had seen Abram and Sarai talk and even pray to this God they believe in,  but back then there was so many Gods, she might not have even thought there was a difference, she obviously had never had a god become so real to her until that day.

The question is, have you seen the God that sees you? Not just a passing by casual wave,  kind of sees, but have you really seen God. So many of us walk around in some sort of fog,  being tossed around like the wind because we have no foundation to stand on.

If the weather is good, then we will have a good day. If everything goes right at work, then it is a good day. If our finances are at a place we don’t have to worry about, then it is a good day. If we get our coffee, it is a good day.  We allow all these little g “gods” of this world to dictate our attitude and worst of all our hope.

When the big G “God and creator of this universe has already promised you that He is watching over you and cares for you! He tells us time and time again that He loves us.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.  I will build you up again…..” Jer 31 3&4

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Over and over again, we are reminded in God’s word that He loves us and cares for us. But yet somehow we still walk in fear, we are afraid,  this or that is going to happen. We look at the waves around us in this life, figure the probabilities of the circumstances of the situation and just know nothing is going to turn out right.

Because we do not see the God that sees us, we are like the disciples in the boat when we read the story in Matthew chapter 14. I image there was a fog, the wind was whipping around them it might have been raining so hard they could not see their hand in front of the face because the storm was raging all around them. You know how it is out here in this Kansas wind, even if there is not rain sometimes it is hard to even open your eyes outside when the wind is blowing.  Yet, one of them must of squinted his eyes looked off into the distance and he saw something. Was it a ghost? Was it one more thing that was going to make their day that much worst? I am sure some of them thought that. But there was one in the boat that saw Jesus in the midst of the storm and he called out to Him.

Can you see God in the midst or your storm. Do you see the God that sees you? Because God sees you and He asking you to trust Him. You don’t have to be afraid. You just need to trust Him. 1 John 4: 18 says  

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

If you are walking around in fear today, let me challenge you that you are not seeing the God that sees you! You are not seeing the God who knows every hair on your head and loves you with an everlasting love and if that is the case, let me encourage you to get to know that God.

Attend church with bible believing Christians to get to know His word. Spend time in His word everyday learning more about the love and grace He has for you. Talk to Him all the time. Then begin looking for how He is working all around you. That is the only way you will come to know and see the God who sees you.

 

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

Well by now most of us have taken our Christmas tree down, and have packed up the decorations preparing for the new year ahead of us. As I pondered the Holidays, have you ever noticed that, there are 2 kinds of gift givers? One type, will give you what you want. They pay attention to what you talk about, they notice comments you might say throughout the year, just passing statements about what you like, or would like to have,  perhaps even some you forget about almost as soon as you say them. Other gift givers give you what they think you need. They aren’t concerned with what you want, and more often than not, they ignore any comments you might say even sometimes ignoring specific requests because they think they know better.

 

I think it goes without saying that the joy of receiving a gift from the gift giver who considers what the receiver wants is much higher than receiving a gift from the one who gives  you what you think you need.

 

I will never forget,  it was probably our oldest son’s third or fourth birthday. We didn’t have much money and were  doing everything we could to pull together a party for him at a famous pizza place for kids, when I suddenly remembered we didn’t have any way to video his party. My heart sank, as I had videoed every birthday party of his life up to that point,  but because our recorder was broken, there was no way that was going to happen. Somehow I felt like I wasn’t being a good parent if I didn’t record it. Deeply saddened , I proceeded on with the plans the weeks prior to the day, hoping to make my child’s day the best it could be, never telling anyone of my disappointment. After all, at Lee’s young age he wasn’t going to care about having a video of his birthday party, I told myself, he would still have a good party with or without the video recording. I knew the recording was more for me,  but telling myself this, didn’t seem to help my disappointment any.

 

It was the morning of the party,  as I was rushing around preparing the final details,  the phone rang, it was one of our guests, who called to ask if it was okay as part of Lee’s a gift, that they would video the party for us. My heart leaped with joy! The memory still brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it, because it wasn’t about the video anymore when that call came, it was about a God who heard my cry and answered my  prayer. I hadn’t said anything to anyone, and to be honest, I hadn’t even prayed about it. But my heavenly father, who knows my heart, knew my desire and put it on this family’s heart to do this for us.

 

You know as much as I love my child and wanted to give him the best party possible to show my love for him,  I have a heavenly father who cares for me, in fact we all do. The bible saysIf you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11

 

The Psalms also tells us Lord, you have seen what is in my heart. You know all about me”

 

Aren’t you thankful that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and knows us,  I know for me I sure am. What a blessing it is to know we have someone who is watching over us and cares for us more than we could ever hope or imagine. The best part of our Heavenly Father, is that He isn’t just like any Father, He knows our beginning and He knows our end. He can see the future,, so He knows how to detour our paths,  ensuring we make it safely to where we need to be spiritually and physically.

 

I wonder today if someone reading this isn’t disappointed about something? Perhaps you had hopes and dreams of something happening and well, you have just given up that it will ever happen. I want to assure you that whatever the outcome of your situation is, that you can trust your Heavenly Father to guide you in the direction you need to go. You can trust Him to bring to you what you need and provide when nothing seems to be working out. Because the bible says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

 

So, there are a couple of stipulations to that promise, it says, “those who love him” and “called according to his purpose”. So I have to ask, do you meet those requirements? I think,  for the most part, I can safely say you probably would claim to love God. So the next question is, is your life an example of that? Because that is kind of what the whole “called according to His purpose” means. We are all called to fulfill His purpose on this earth,  and the first requirement is to follow what His word says, and if you aren’t going to church and growing in His word how can you fulfill that purpose?

 

So, whether you are following Christ or no, it  is never too late to start. Yes, you may have to pay the consequences of your past choices,  but there is a opportunity for a new beginning, all you have to do is talk to Jesus, like you would talk to me,  and tell Him you want a new life in Him, that you are sorry for your past mistakes, and from this day forward you want to walk with Him.

 

There is nothing better than starting off the new year  new in Christ Jesus. Find a good bible believing church home that you can grow in His word in,  then you really will see the Heavenly Father that I know, who knows how to give good gifts, and works all things together for our good.

Standing on the Promises

Standing on the Promises

This past weekend was the Cotton Bowl football game, and if you know anything about my family you know we were all perched in front of the television watching it,  because Alabama was playing in the play offs to go to the National Championship Game. Now, as I have said , before, with this new empty nesting that has happened at our home, it is now my responsibility to watch all the football games with Jeff and although Chad was home for this game, I have come too far in this season with this team to turn back now,  and not watch them all the way to the end, so Amy and I sat with the boys and watched.

 

Now, I have to say,  as I have grown to love this game and the Alabama team, I still don’t know that much about the game. Oh! Sure! I know that the object of the game is your team needs to get the ball and run to the end of the field with it and get across that last little line called  the end zone. (or at least I think that is what it is called) and I also know if your team doesn’t have the ball, you want to stop the guy on the other team that does, so he doesn’t make it across that line, but pretty much past that, I am clueless.

 

So needless to say,  when my Oklahoma friends began to start saying things about the Alabama football team on Social Media I had to respond. Now mind you this is not the first time I have defended my team, but I have to be honest, I always hesitate before I start typing anything,  because I don’t really know that much about football and I doubt my knowledge, but then I remember Alabama has 17 National Championships, more than anyone else in this modern era of football, and they have more SEC Championships than any other team in SEC History at 28.

 

So yes, I hesitate, but then I remember what they have done. What the record  books say about them, and I type! Typically all I have to say is, “Tell me again, How many National Championships does our team have?” and whoever is talking about how awesome their team is, verses Alabama, quickly quiets down.

 

All that got me thinking….. Isn’t that a lot like our walk with Christ. We often feel, unworthy to follow Christ or tell others about Him, because maybe we feel we aren’t that knowledgeable about the Bible. But,  if we will just remember what the record says, remember what He has done for us already. We can go to the back of the book and God’s word says that we win. We don’t have to be scared to stand up for what we know is right and we don’t have to listen  when Satan tell us we aren’t good enough.

 

God’s record speaks for itself. Just like Alabama’s record. Just like I walk in confidence of that, we can walk in confidence of what God can do and has done. We don’t have to walk in fear, we don’t have to hesitate,  we can stand on the promises in God’s Word.

 

So,  as we start this new year, let’s do just that,  stand on what God promises, remember what His word says,  don’t hesitate in standing up for Him.

Philippians 4:6-7: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done,  then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

What Jeff and God have in Common!

What Jeff and God have in Common!

Jeff Miller says he and God have something in common, it is that they both first loved me. Jeff Miller picked me out of stack of pictures on his father’s desk long before we ever met. You see my father was a minister and his father was the deacon in charge of the resumes for the opening for a Pastor his home church had. One day Jeff decided that the ripe old age of 16 that, he didn’t want to die a bachelor so he set out to find a wife and what better girl to have as a Pastor’s wife one day then a Pastors daughter.

 

He says he took the pictures that came with the resumes, of the families that had daughters and began to narrow down his favorites, first the top 10, then the top 5, then the top 3 and then number one, and Jeff claims it was me.

 

As God saw fit, my dad did become the Pastor of Jeff’s home church and that only gave Jeff more confidence that God had a plan for us together, and it just enriched his love for me. The problem was, I was just 13 years old at the time and really wasn’t interested in dating yet, after all I was still playing with barbies!

 

I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t impressed with Jeff at first, I didn’t care for his cowboy boots, or cowboy hat and he seemed to be everywhere I was, but that didn’t detour Jeff, my dad even overheard a conversation between Jeff and a few of the other teenage boys in the church. Where Jeff under no uncertain terms told them, that I was his so there was no need from them to pursue me, and we hadn’t even started dating yet!

 

Then there was the note Jeff gave me, sharing his undying love to me. Which still did nothing to convince me to like him. It didn’t even matter that he showed up when I was sick as a dog, and looked horrible. Jeff was right there asking if I needed anything, ready to help in anyway he could.

 

But the topper was when he went and talked with my father, I don’t know what happened in that conversation on the fateful day, but I do know that when my dad came home from the office, to my dismay Daddy informed me, that Jeff would be coming over to visit a few nights a week after he got off work.

 

I think back now, and feel my father, saw something in Jeff that I didn’t and he felt as soon as I spent time with him, I would see it too, and he was right.  

 

Isn’t that a lot like our relationship with God, He loved us before we loved Him and He pursued us before we even cared about Him and He refuses to give up on us. He has chosen us, because He loves us, not because of anything we have done. Then God sent His word to us as a love letter to prove that.

 

Like with Jeff, I had done nothing to do earn Jeff’s love on that day when he found my picture in his dad’s office, yet he loved me anyway. And I have to tell you, like Jeff when I have been at my worst, God loved me anyway,

 

That is just like our Heavenly Father, who sent His son, to this earth so he could suffer, and go through all that we have been through. He knows every temptation you feel, Christ felt it all when He was here. God sent His son, because He loved us so much.

 

It didn’t matter if we reject Him God does not give up on us. He loves us so much He sent His son to die for our sins, so we could have eternal life with Him forever, and all He asks from us is to choose to worship and trust Him. But He loved us before we even loved Him.

 

If we could all simply realize the depth of the love God has for us. What would we do differently? Would we freak out less when things don’t go as we planned because we know, God will take care of us. Would be more responsible with what we have because we know He gave it all to us? Would we love others with that same unconditional love that God has showed us? Would we live a life in attitude of gratitude and grace, because we know we don’t deserve such unconditional love?

 

We will all be starting a new year in just a few days. It is the time of new year’s resolutions, so how about we resolve to live like that?

 

1 John 3:1 NIV reminds us “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! …..

 

I live differently because I know Jeff Miller loves me, and he loves me more that I have words to explain it or ways to show it.  I am not deserving of this love nor have I earned it, but yet Jeff Miller loves me, and so does Christ.

 

We are all loved more than we can even hope or imagine or have words that could ever explain it. But God loved us so much He sent His son to be born to a virgin, born in a manger know he would ultimately give His life for us. So in all the hussle and bussle of this season. Let us know forget the most important gift, the gift of Christ which is the greatest example of God’s love for us.

The Unexpected Christmas

The Unexpected Christmas

The Christmas Season is usually a super hectic time of year at our house, besides the traditional stress that we feel during this season. I usually choose to add additional levels of stress by hosting an open house. I love hosting people in my home, and Jeff and I feel,it is a gift of love we can give to all our friends. For probably 25 years or more we have,, more than likely, had an Open House in our home, now mind you not every year, but a lot of them. Having a Open House during the holidays is not easy task.

 

I begin working about 60-45 days out. We shop most of the year for it. The house has to be cleaned from top to bottom for what I like to call, Model Home status,  which if you don’t know what that is, it means the house needs to look like no one lives in it. So needless to say it’s a lot of work and a near possible task, that often puts a lot of stress on the whole family.  

 

But this year, we are taking the year off. There will be no open house.  In fact, there is even talk about just having a low key Christmas day and driving over to Wichita, eating Chinese food and going to the movie theater for the day to catch several movies we have been wanting to watch.. So we can just chill out with our kids and focus on spending time together while we honor what the real meaning of Christmas is. Either that, or we are going to spend the day in our PJ’s just relaxing with the kids and watching Christmas movies on the TV.

 

Everyone handles the stress of Christmas differently. The problem comes when we forget what the day is really all about. We can get so focused on, trying to get the best gift, or not having enough money to afford the Christmas you would like,  or maybe it’s just missing that loved one that isn’t going to be at Christmas this year.

 

I remember one specific Christmas, times were really tough for our family, Amy was probably 6 or 7 years old. We had to struggle to get what little we could for the kids,  and at the last minute Amy decided she wanted a Baby Alive, but there was no money left for such a gift, and as much as I tried to explain to her, that Santa had already done all his Christmas shopping,  so it might have to be next year before it happened, she refused to listen to such an idea and was determined that it would come.

 

Christmas morning came and all of our presents were unwrapped, and as Amy looked around, realizing that all the presents under the tree had been opened, she stood up, and with both hands on her hips,  she calls out with an attitude that told you under no uncertain terms that she was not satisfied with the results of her Christmas. “I know there is another gift around here somewhere”she begin to look all over for her Baby Alive that she was certain Santa would bring , but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

 

Maybe you were expecting something this Christmas and it isn’t going to be either. Maybe, there is no way you thought you would be where you are today,  but you are. Perhaps the stress level is so high at your house, you’re not for sure you even want to celebrate Christmas this year. Let me encourage you to look to the reason for the season.

 

Christ came,  born in a manger, not some palace like the people of that day expected. He was born to a mother and His step dad, not the expected family of that day either. His parents, had to run for their life because people were after Him. He came to die for a group of people that  couldn’t even appreciate the sacrifice He made by coming to earth. But yet that sacrifice is the greatest gift we could receive.

 

Nothing went like the people expected that Christmas night, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  is the question asked even years later, John 1:46 but yet it turned out to be the best thing that any of us could ask for, because without it, there is no eternal life for those who trust in and rely on Christ.

 

Nazareth was just a small town of probably about 150 people,  according to my research, with a majority of a Jewish population, the same Jewish population that rejected Him as the Christ. Imagine everywhere you go, being rejected? Christ doesn’t have to because it happened to Him. In fact the bible says, that He has been tempted and felt every pain we have.

 

So, don’t get discouraged and frustrated if things are not going as planned this season. Remember it happened that way on the very first Christmas as well. There was no room in the Inn for Jesus to be born,  and Mary had to ride a donkey for who knows how many miles.

 

The bible tells us, that we need to have a “Whatsoever” attitude when we begin to get frustrated. You know, you have heard kids say “Whatever” when they are disgusted with someone’s attitude or comment. Well, I believe God wants us to have a Whatsoever attitude,  He tells us that in Philippians 4:8 whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—think on these things,  it tells us this is the only way to have peace, and not to be anxious is by bringing your requests to God and thinking on these whatsoever list of things. The good, the praiseworthy, the lovely and so on. I am sure that night Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph could have focused on the terrible surroundings the Christ child was born, they could have focused on what bad parents they were for the King of kings to be born in such a place, they might have even thought what did we get ourselves into, but I don’t’ believe they did. I think they had a “Whatsoever” attitude and choose to focus on the glory of the Christ child before them.

 

So this season, don’t get discouraged because you aren’t getting the present you wanted under the tree or everything isn’t just how you imagined it. In fact, don’t even focus on the ones who are not with us this Christmas. But focus on the one who told us in Rev 1:8 NIV “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. Remember, that the first Christmas all kinds of unexpected things happened,  including the greatest gift of all Jesus Christ our Lord.