The toughest part of bringing our children to the foot of the cross, praying and petitioning the Lord to show mercy to them and to add them to the number, is the watching and waiting for Him to reveal His hand of mercy, whether it will fall upon our offspring when they are young or when they are older — if at all.
This begins a monthly(ish) reposting of articles from the Christmas archives, originally run as part of the Thanks2Giving series in December 2015, only slightly tweaked to reflect the "season". The question I exhort you to ask yourself when you get to the end of this post, published on 12/3/15, is this: Now that Christmas is past, are you making the glory of the Incarnation known to the strangers you encounter in 2016? ~ mrsdkmiller
Photographer Isres Chorphaka, Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2111498/Good-heavens-Photographer-captures-angel-clouds-Thai-Buddhist-temple.html
There is something strange about Christmas.
Now, I think it's important to say that there is nothing more important, more glorious, more demanding of our attention in all of time than this business of Christmas. And I hope I don't have to say that I don't mean the secularized spin that fills the airwaves and spills out of the marketplace. But, still, if we peel back the layers of centuries of traditions and legends and magical stories, we have to admit the strangeness.
It was nearly dawn, and the September sunrise squeezed early morning light around the edges of dark, heavy curtains. The rays filtered in in feathery trickles at first, and then they strengthened into a blinding streak dividing the room.
And just like that, I knew.
I was pregnant.
A couple of months ago news services blitzed social media with an image of a heavily clothed young man running down the street. Not someone racing to catch a bus on a chilly winter day. Not a shoplifter layered with stolen goods trying to outrun store security.
This was Leroy Stolzfus, dressed in traditional Amish attire -- with a race number pinned to his shirt.
After weeks of waiting, during which the lawns regreened, sunlight governed the sky and birds postponed their southern journeys, winter weather arrived in western Pennsylvania. I awoke yesterday to see the white blanket outside my windows, and I rushed to the door to listen for that distinct early morning silence.
It was quiet, but the silence was not pristine.
Sin brings Death.
I'll never forget the time I was dropping off treats for a VBS program when I heard a teacher utter a statement so dark and condemning that I couldn't believe it was being said to small children. Sin brings Death. The sound of it gave me a shiver, and I thought, "Teach the good news, not the bad news!" Of course, that was a time when I was woefully unfamiliar with the word of God, especially the book of Hebrews. In time, by God's grace, I became the one on the receiving end of the questions, and they have gone something like this:
I grew up with brothers -- three of them. My childhood was consumed by fear. My survival depended upon learning how to manage it. At any given moment in the day or night, one little slip, the briefest momentary letting down of the guard, and I could find myself under attack. So I developed coping skills.
O Lord, Length of days does not profit me
Except the days are passed in thy presence,
In thy service, to thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour
that I may not be a moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth thy praise;
testify thy love
Advance thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, as my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy call,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.
Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to teach,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.
May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.
from Valley of Vision
I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. It's usually the fault of gift cards for Cheesecake Factory or a friend's new venture in selling clever handmade products on Etsy, but, really, the bottom line is I don’t like feeling compelled to make promises I can’t be sure I am able to keep. This especially goes for resolutions where I resolve to lose XX amount of pounds, or to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, or to spend XX number of hours per week off the internet. Things happen, and while sometimes those things might legitimately interfere with the keeping of a resolution, I know myself too well and anticipate happily taking advantage of a good excuse to ditch the resolution -- like a gift card or an insane challenge to write post an article a day for a month.
Laura Miller aka mrsdkmiller
Looking for a list of articles published around the web?
Looking for posts written in response to 5-Minute Friday prompts? Click here:
Her March Isn't Over
Across the River
When God Pries My Fingers Off My Children
Life's Defining Moments
To the Christian Wife Who Berated Her Husband in Front of My Daughter
Zeal and Grace in France
An Unconventional Love Story
Seeing What's in Front of Our Eyes
Remembering Why I Called You Hannah
Love Your Sister.
Because He Came Home
Go Valiantly! A Prayer for New Homeschooling Moms
© lauraenglandmiller, #thereyougothinkingagain, Laura E Miller
2015-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to #thereyougothinkingagain, lauraenglandmiller, or Laura E Miller with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.