Monday, December 1, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

      That’s one of those songs isn’t it?  The Christmas classic you can count on hearing again and again during the holiday season.  I have already attended a Christmas concert, and that was one of the songs we sang in unison.  Sitting beside me was my mom who beamed as she sang and then after said, “I am going to go home and find that Andy Williams CD.”  It brings her comfort and joy.

     Growing up, although that song played a lot in my home, it sometimes was more like the most unusual time of year.  Shortly before Christmas when I was 16, my mom was asked to marry a man she had not known very long, but who said he’d take care of her and the four of us.  She’d been a single mom for a while and felt he was God’s way of caring for us, so they were married.  He came into our home the beginning of December with his 2 daughters, and the blended family and traditions began.  I remember wondering why anyone would want to put angel hair all over a beautifully decorated tree!  It’s called compromise.

     A couple of years later I met my husband and we began our own traditions.  One of the most exciting for me was to open presents on Christmas morning instead of at midnight on Christmas Eve, which had been our family’s way of celebrating.  It later became for us the most cherished time of the year.  In those early years of our marriage, we wanted to start a family, but both of my pregnancies had ended in miscarriages.  Then one May I was told I was pregnant with a due date of December 31st.  God’s perfect timing, however, determined that Michael would be an added blessing to our celebration of Christmas that year, so he put him in our arms on December 14th.  After a time in the hospital because of jaundice, we brought him home on the 21st.  My favorite picture that Christmas is of him in his baby seat under our tree.  What a blessing!  Three years later God gave us the gift of Emily on January 1st.

     We celebrated many Christmases over the years, but it wasn’t until after Emily was in preschool that we began attending church as a whole family.  Our children were in Sunday school and we were as well.  I remember the first children’s Christmas program we attended.  My father, who did not attend church, came with us to see our kids perform.  I remember being so happy that he chose to come.  Christmas had become for us the most sacred time of the year as we experienced Advent together, and we wanted to share that with him.

     For me, the past 10 years with Mike’s illness and passing, have at times made this the most difficult time of the year.  Some years have been better than others.  Through it all, I have never lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas and the gift it is to have faith, and to know Jesus as my Savior.  I cannot imagine going through a moment, good or bad, without Jesus.  He continues to be my Rock and my comforter and that will never change.  Everything else changes, but not Him.

     So where are you as we begin this Advent Season?  Will you honestly fill in the blank?  It’s the most____________ time of the year.  If you thought of a word and sighed within, what changes can you make to help your preparation for Jesus’ coming?  Is there anything you could lay down (give up) and exchange for some guilt-free time alone with the Savior of the World?  Who do you know who needs to know about The Way in a manger this Christmas?

Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6 

"Let every heart prepare Him room."
Donna Bowles

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