Christmas Eve

By the time I post this it will already be Christmas! And for my friend's on the other side of the globe it has been Christmas!

Christmas Eve tonight brought many thoughts to my mind. Vince and I cleaned house before leaving to go to two parties. As we were getting ready Rain wouldn't be still. She wanted to look at all of the decorations in the house. I finally asked her why. "Because they won't be there soon." It made me feel bittersweet. She was right. Houses won't be lit up with 100+ lights. Trees will die and be thrown out. It will feel empty.

I sit here tonight just finish decorating a half dead tree that Vince wanted to turn into something special. An old timey Christmas tree. First, he sawed off an inch of the trunk because he wanted an ornament out of it, "Our First Christmas Tree." Then, he surprised me with a Disney ornament he had bought while we were at Disney for "Our First Christmas Together." The half dead tree has bubble lights on it with a paper chain Vince and I made. We also strung popcorn on some string. It's not what you call a pretty tree, but it is something to look at it. I almost can feel the pride coming from Vince. Is it because the tree looks great? No and he knows it doesn't but he feels like his grandmother who raised is near.

Reflecting on this past year astounds me. The things that happened in my life are such a blessing. Blessings make me think of my Lord and Savior.

Hope. I use this word a lot. It means more to me at Christmas time. One of my favorite quotes about hope is from the Preacher's Wife with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston: "When you shoot a basketball toward the hoop don't you hope it goes into the net? ... That's all prayer is. Hope." Children tonight are hoping certain gifts are going to be under the tree. Parents are hoping that they got the right toy. My hopes for tomorrow are not that. My hope is that Rain has a smile on her face and knows she is loved. Same goes for my family and Vince. It's my greatest hope. Jesus is where I place my hopes, fears, and dreams.

Peace. Right before school let out for the semester my teacher taught us about having peace in the classroom. She told us that it was very hard for some teachers to have peace in the classroom when the teachers themselves never experience peace. Especially in today's world peace is hard to find, but it is there. People just refuse to embrace it. The dishes can wait, go stare into your Christmas tree and fix your stare on ornament that is lit up by the lights on the tree. The reason why so many people don't experience peace is because they are not really thankful. Being thankful is the first step to finding peace. Teaching a child to be thankful for what they have gives them peace at knowing their needs are met just like ours. I know that God puts peace into our lives when we have a thankful heart. Don't believe me? Go to God with a thankful heart instead of asking for something. Peace will fill you.

Love. John 3:16 comes to mind on Christmas for most people. However, I love the book of Jeremiah and the verse Jeremiah 31:3 comes to my mind.
"The Lord appear to us in the past, saying: ' I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.'" 
We all have someone we love whether we want to admit it or not. Even the people who are hermits at one point in their life loved someone. God loves us enough to give us so many blessings without even asking for them many times! So when God doesn't answer your prayer with a yes, remember the times he said yes without you even having to ask! At the beginning of the week Vince's cousin's wife had a baby. The wife and the baby were getting all the attention. I simply squeezed Torsten a little harder than I normally would hug someone and told him I was praying for him. His eyes were shining afterwards. Nobody else noticed and that was fine with me. It was a simple gesture with a lot of love behind it. God is love, pure and simple.

Joy. Joy and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness is contentment. Joy is something completely different. You can have a joy during times of trouble. The song Twelve Days of Christmas comes to mind. The song is actually religious. Didn't know that? Well it's true. In England from 1558 until 1829 it was a crime to be Catholic. The song has hidden meanings. A partridge and a pear tree? Jesus. Two turtle doves? Old and New Testament. Three French hens? Faith, hope and love. Four calling birds? The four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Five golden rings? First five books of the Bible, the Law. Six geese a laying? Six days of creation. Seven swans a swimming? Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophesy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership, and mercy. Also or baptism, Communion, reconciliation, confirmation, marriage, holy orders, and anointing of the sick. It should bring great joy to people that we can worship the Lord without it being a crime. Even though society today is trying to turn it into being a crime.

Tonight I sit here knowing that in a very few hours I will hear tiny footsteps running down stairs. I am know God has a plans for tomorrow, ones that I will treasure for a lifetime! Merry Christmas everyone!

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