Uncategorized

Tradition, Loss, and Loneliness ~ Unwrapping Hidden Blessings

woman doing gift wrapping
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Christmas cards are flying in by the dozens — people are beginning to travel toward family — the kids are getting excited with cousins visiting — it’s all so enchanting…unless you are alone.

Loneliness for many can be most profound during this season of celebrating traditions and joining our hearts with family near and far.  The tinsel on our trees glistens a little less — packages don’t have the same vibrance, if there are even any at all — gatherings aren’t the same and attending gatherings can multiply the absence of that one, or many, like the earth blanketed in a new fallen snow.  It can leave you shattered like a Christmas Tree ornament that has dropped to the floor.

I have felt a bit of this loneliness during the holidays with all of my grandparents and parents now gone.  I still have my sweet husband and my son and there are my husband’s parents — but the pain of loved ones passing is felt quite sharply during this season.  I miss the trips to Virginia — the exuberance of the cold, bite in the air, as we pass from Georgia to South Carolina and then North Carolina.  Seeing the Virginia “Welcome” sign is almost more excitement than I can bear and I can feel the thrill of it in my heart even now.  Those times are gone, but there is still more!

The more that I have found is not about me!  It is about giving someone who is much lonelier than I am, and filling their heart once again with the blessings that Christmas can bring.

Each year we journey to Astor and get a lady (we call Nana), who is 90 years young and bring her into our home to celebrate Jesus with us.  We’ve been doing this for more than 20 years.  She comes early and we take her home late.  We eat, sit and talk, we open our gifts…our hearts are full because she allowed us to bring her into our home.  As we make the journey back to Astor, my heart truly seems overwhelmed by the love that was enjoyed and how it warmed our home.

We all have traditions and we all suffer loss.  It is okay to make new traditions…not just for yourself, but for others.  Nana promptly writes me a letter a few days later and speaks of the memories we have made with her — her love for us — her salved loneliness through our love…which would not exist if it were not for Christ.  We love because He first loved us!

We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19 NASB)

Jesus came packaged in a manger to bring us salvation and the forgiveness of sin — the greatest gift!  It is only right that we would extend that gift to others through our love for Him!

jesus christ figurine
Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

I encourage you to add new traditions to your life…even if the old ones haven’t yet passed away.  There are those who long for another Christmas around a family table, the smell of pine and cinnamon, and the joy of having love envelope them once again.  You don’t need to worry about replacing their loss — just fill it and with the greatest Gift of all, Christ!!

A blessed Christmas to you!!

 

 

 

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Overlooking the Beauty of a Dandelion

high angle view of lying down on grass
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Walking through a field of Dandelions, I am caught off guard by their intrensic beauty and delicateness.  Afterall, aren’t they just weeds — probably most believe that is all the are really?  However, not today…today I see so much more!

How beautiful they all seem growing side-by-side in a field of overgrown grass!  There lovely colors of white and yellow peeking up through the blades of emerald, as if to shout, “Look at me…look at me!”  As I quickly stoop low to pluck them out of the place they are so firmly planted, some wisk off into the wind — I’m caught off guard by how fragile they seem.  So then, ever more gently and with great care, I gather them into my fist — admire all that they are and seem — then my heart is reminded of people…the overlooked ones…the fragile ones…those who are frequently mowed down without a second thought or glance.

Many of us feel that way from time-to-time; don’t we?!  Oh, that girl who has looked in the mirror and wondered, “Will anyone every notice me…love me…cherish me?”  The one who feels she is pushing up between the cracks of sidewalk — feeling stepped on — crushed.  It certainly crushes the spirit to feel so unobserved by others!

I think many of us feel like that Dandelion trying to desperately to be noticed and picked like a Daisy or a Rose.  We all want to feel valued and loved and looked for in life.  I know I do!

I am reminded of Jesus’ Words in Matthew — Words of comfort and love:

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers; most of which are never even seen; don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:30-34 MSG) (emphasis mine)

I am so thankful that He cares so tenderly for me!  I am not…you are not a weed that God has overlooked.  He sees you —- He sees you pushing up through the cracks!  He understand your struggles and your fears.  He will see to it that if you “steep your life in Him” that you won’t miss out.

This life of ours is very short, compared to eternity.  Before you are plucked out of the earth, please surrender your life to Jesus!  He died on Calvary…shed His Blood to Redeem you — He will forgive your every sin and save you!  You are worth so very much for Him to Redeem your soul for eternity.  Steep your life in Him!!

Uncategorized

Pine Needles, Hot Chocolate and Home

white ceramic mug with brown liquid and pine cone
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Christmas whispers of home — we all long for those familiar sounds and smells and love.  I received a text message today from a dear friend of mine, April.  She sent me a picture of their Christmas Tree — all decorated and ready for the celebration to come!

April shared that she and her family went out to the forest and brought that tree home…I’m sure the  smell of pine and trail left of pine needles was a welcome grace to her.  You see, they used to live here in Florida — missionaries to this hot, tropical paradise — but April never really acclimated to Florida.  She absolutely hated the heat — hated the lack of season changes — missed her home up north.  Oh, she served faithfully here — jumping in and being and loving and “suffering” for the Lord…smile!  However, this was never home for her and now they have returned to the Land of Winter!

All of this made me homesick for my own “northern country” of Virginia.  My heart began longing for the cold weather, the smell of fresh pine needles, hot chocloate, and family.  I wonder, if like April, if I were allowed to go home, would I be more content — happier — at peace, than I am here in Sunshiney Florida??  Maybe, but probably not!

I am homesick for another place — my real Home, Heaven!  I can almost smell the aroma of peace and love and wholeness that Heaven promises.  My mind wanders a little and I tiptoe into the “I wonders!”  Will there be the scent of pine needles, hot chocolate, Cinamon, or even Nutmeg?  I remember hearing a story on a Gaither video about a little child that asked her Daddy, “Will my puppy be in Heaven?”  The father wasn’t quite sure how to answer such a question and so he said, “Honey, you imagine Heaven the best that it can be and I promise it will be so much more!”  What a wise and discerning answer to offer that child, as he didn’t promise what he could not know, yet afforded HOPE!  No, I’m sure Heaven will not have these things of human wont, but it does offer us something far better.

What will there be?  Jesus — there will be Jesus!  His glory will illuminate this heavenly Home.  Oh, Scripture tells us a bit of Heaven’s glory — streets of gold, the crystal sea, and so much more that we cannot even image.  In fact, John told us this in Revelation:

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.
(Revelation 22:1-5 NASB)

Oh, that will be glory!  As long as I sojourn here on this ole’ earth, my heart will long for that Heavenly place, but I’m so thankful that God, in His infinite wisdom and sovereign love, allowed April and me the smell of fresh pine needles, snow, hot chocolate, and most of all love and relationship with kindred spirits.  Merry Christmas, April!