Oh, the happy memories from childhood. We all have them. The excitement, the anticipation, even the hidden disappointment if the gift was not the exact toy we wanted. These traditions are treasures that we may carry on, build upon or change in our own families.
As a child of about 10 years old, I remember one cold Christmas Eve arriving home from Church. We always attended the Christmas Eve service and then had a big family reunion meal with the Burnette’s. It was always a great time full of good food, laughter, tall tales and even fireworks in the early days. I would look forward to seeing my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins and feeling all the family connection and love. This is a tradition that started in the early 1900’s and continues even now.
This particular Christmas Eve night, for some reason, is implanted in my brain as a memory. I remember going to bed and hearing Mom say, “Go to sleep so Santa can come”. My bedroom door, usually left open at bedtime, was always closed on Christmas Eve. I crawled into bed for maybe 2 seconds and then quietly pulled back the shears hanging at my bedroom window. I was going to wait for Santa. As I sat there looking out into the cold, clear, night, I drew pictures and letters on the glass from my breath on the window. I looked and looked as far as I could see but for some reason, I could not find Santa. I knew deep down that it was not possible to have a man in a red suit, pulled by a sleigh with reindeer at the helm, and delivering presents worldwide; but I just could not let go of the excitement of that early Christmas morning when I would see all my presents left by that red suited man. As I sat there, I could hear my parent’s whispers in the hallway; still, I looked out into the night, thinking I might be seeing that sleigh at any moment. I must have fallen asleep at some point because that is all I remember. Experience tells me though, that next Christmas morning was filled once again with treats, love and joy with my family. I asked my Mom later about this whole Santa thing and her answer to me was, “Always Believe”.
There have been times in my life I have looked for God. I have watched and waited for him to appear or to give me a sign; anything to know He was there. I may not have seen God in those “God Moments” but I had Faith enough to know He would appear.
Just as I felt on Christmas Eve as a child, I never doubted the joy would come in the morning on Christmas Day. I do not believe in coincidences anymore.
Too many times I have been in situations that I know if it were not for God’s course, my life would be different. In the moment, I might sit and wait and watch for God, but in the end, I can look back and see where God appeared without my seeing him. That is God’s gift for me.
I hope we can each look for God in these holidays with the same excitement and JOY we felt as a child looking for a man in a red suit pulling a sleigh with reindeer. Let us recognize those “God Moments” when we realize it was not my plan, but God’s. Share the moment with a friend. Let them hear what you see God doing. That can be a part of your testimony.
Merry Christmas Friends and remember, “Always Believe”.
We are Blessed. Beth Jenkins
John 20:29, “Then Jesus told him: Because you have seen me, you have believed: Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”