Precious Memories

If you want to get people started laughing or crying, just start talking about Christmas memories. Everyone has a story.

I remember bringing the Christmas tree home from school the last day of school. We were poor so the school gave us the tree.

I remember walking through Otasco looking at the toys lining the aisles.

I remember looking through the Sears Christmas catalog at all the new toys.

I remember the year my sister and I got transistor radios and brother got a battery-powered police car with lights that flashed and a siren.

I remember buying hair combs for Aunt Leona, handkerchiefs for Daddy and our uncles, pretty handkerchief for Grandmother.

I remember the year we bought Mother a silver-coated serving plate at the jewelry store and learned years later that she had to pay the rest of the cost of the plate since we didn’t have enough money.

I remember learning all the words to the Christmas carols at school in October and November so that we could sing them for the Christmas play.

I remember dressing in old sheets to play the shepherds and being jealous of the cute little girl who got to play Mary.

I remember singing “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night” and feeling my chest fill up with love for Jesus.

I remember the first Christmas after my son was born wishing I had a home church to go to for Christmas.

I remember the first Christmas after my daughter was born, when she was 6 weeks old, attending the Christmas program in which my 6-year-old son was a king, dressed in the dark blue velvet costume I had made him.

I remember all the years that we spent our shopping days practicing the Christmas cantata and program instead of going to Tulsa to shop in the mall.

Most of all, I think of the loved ones who are spending Christmas in heaven this year and I wonder what it must be like to see Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior face to face.

 

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Getting My Joy Back

I was not glad when I got out of bed this morning. Some things have occurred recently that tried to take away my joy.  Now I know I’m not the only one who has troubles. Life is full of troubles and it doesn’t seem to care much who you are or what your position in life.

Just so you’ll understand, I wasn’t unhappy, I just wasn’t glad.  Sure, things weren’t good, but they sure could have been worse.

Saturday on a trip home from Tulsa, one of the girls mentioned the old praise song, He Has Made Me Glad. I lead worship on Sunday morning from the piano, so I started the music with that old praise song from 1976. (I looked it up.)

“I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart. ….He has made me glad, Oh, He has made me glad, I will rejoice for He has made me glad.” (Taken from Psalm 100:4)

We sang a couple of times through and then from some place deep within me a little something began to stir as I sang. The feeling rumbled around inside me, until I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I stood up, left the piano bench, and raised my hands to the Lord.  We just kept singing a cappella, until we sang through two or three more times, then I went back to the piano to go on to the next song.

Now maybe you don’t do things like that in your church, but it’s acceptable in ours and it has been a while since I stood with my hands raised toward heaven.

At that moment, in one instant, God gave me back the joy that troubles have tried to steal away. My troubles haven’t gone away, they’re all still there, but my heart has changed.  I might not be happy but I’ll have the joy that only the Lord gives.

God does many things “Suddenly.” I’m patiently waiting for my “Suddenly” to come to pass. Circumstances change. People grow up and change. In a moment’s time, things change and will never be the same again.

With God all things are possible. It’s time to rejoice.

 

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