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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Angels, Blessings and Christmas

It's hard to believe that another Christmas is here...another year we've been blessed to celebrate the birth of Christ, the gift of Hope to the world, the promise of abundant life to all who receive Him.

I find myself drawn to the story of God made flesh -- even though it is old and familiar, this year it seems amazing to me again in a way I hadn't experienced in a while.  Perhaps because I'm remembering the birth of my own children.

We've been singing a song at church this month by Chris Tomlin called Hallowed Manger Ground.  The last verse begins, "The Son of God, here born to bleed, a crown of thorns would pierce His brow..."  And I wonder that He came at all, knowing all that was in store for Him.

And I'm struck that another son -- my Sam -- was also known by God, and sent by Him, and all that has transpired this year with his homegoing and our loss....none of it was a surprise to God, and He is still working a plan, the fruit of which I have yet to see.  Hard to fathom! Hard to understand. Hard to take, sometimes. :-) And yet, as Mary must have understood, we have to trust God.

 
I guess I've cried just about every day.  But blessings abound.  Some new angels on the  mantle...
"Remember" from a friend at church. So appropriate, so perfect.   Just to the left of Remember is the "Angel of Summer" that Mary at Quilt Hollow sent me last Christmas because Jeff was deployed and she knew there'd not be much under the tree for me. :-)  What good friends!!

Another dear friend gave me "Heart of Gold," also a Willow Tree figurine...  just the perfect representation of our Sam.

Sam's Boot Camp friends gave us ornaments from a race he ran last winter called the "Jingle Bell Run." :-D  Last year's race photo becomes the current year's trophy ornament...and the Boot Campers checked out the engraving, contacted the company and added Sam's name to it for them and for us to have as keepsakes.  Awesome! :-)

Sam is number 110--'bout fourth in the start, and he looks cold, but not as cold as those guys without shirts! LOL


So many changes this year.  I look back over all that I've written here in the last several months...It feels like eons ago.  It feels like yesterday!!  I'm in awe at what God has done and is doing. 

Ephesians 3:14-21 (The Message)


14-19My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
20-21God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!  


Just like the angels sang to the shepherds on that first Christmas morn!
"Glory to God in the Highest!"

May every blessing of Christmas be yours today and in the New Year!



16 comments:

Janet O. said...

My heart aches for you as you reflect on the loss of this precious son. And I marvel at your strength and wisdom, to always turn to The Father and His Son for peace and reassurance that he does have a plan. May He bless you with His comfort and love.

Anonymous said...

Just giving myself some quilting joy today and saw the picture of your son. I'm about to get up and prepare to lead worship ( I'm a priest in the Church of England, you'd call us episcopalian). It's a family service and I'll be talking about how such a seemingly small thing as the birth of a baby has changed the world and how His light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never overcome it. I'll be giving each family a tealight to take home to encourage them to share the light of Christ. Please know that as I do this you and your family will now be on my heart and in my prayers here in Suffolk, England. May the Lord bless you and keep you, revcherylc@aol.com

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Sending you God's blessings for peace and comfort this Christmas. Thanks to you for sharing Sam, and your strength and courage, with all of us.

Kathie said...

Merry christmas to you and your family. I think of you often....
Kathie

Mimi said...

Your posting today is just lovely. Will hold it in my heart this day of our King.

pcflamingo said...

Having lost my husband a couple years ago, I know that those "firsts" can be tough - the first Christmas after losing someone can either emphasize the hole that is left by their passing or we can choose to remember the fun of Christmas past when they were here. Faith sustains us and lifts us up and gives us light for those dark days. Blessings on you and your family on this day of our Lord's birth. May his peace and grace shine down upon you this day and always.

Larissa said...

As you go through this day, celebrating and remembering Our Savior's birth, I cannot fathom the thoughts and feelings that will be running through your mind this Christmas day. My heart aches for you sweet Mary, and I am truly grateful that I know you are not going through this pain alone ... Take strength in God, for He knows your pain and your joy. He loves you so much Mary Lou!!!! I hope you can find some time, during the busyness of the day, you just allow Him to wrap you up in His loving arms and give you all the comfort He truly desires to bestow you! Much love and blessings to you and yours at this Holy time! Hugs!!!

Cheri said...

You have a gift MaryLou, to share your faith. Thank you for continuing to share even in these difficult times for you. Thank you so much for what you write, it is a blessing to me. As always you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Lori said...

May God bless you fully as you experience the peace and joy of the season. I am so thankful for Christ we can lean on.

soren2go said...

This is our third Christmas without our youngest son, Stephen. I think of you and another friend whose son went home this spring. Their is so much family recollections and reflections this time of year. Your message reminds me that there is also much joy and love from the true source of our hope. Thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully share. Blessings to you all...Leslie

StitchinByTheLake said...

What a wonderful picture and ornament. And isn't God good to give us memories! May He continue to comfort you with those memories. blessings, marlene

Maureen said...

There are several different poems online entitled "First Christmas in Heaven", but their is one that clearly reflects our Christian faith. Google First Christmas in Heaven-Huntington's Disease. I hope it blesses you in the midst of missing Sam.

Sarah Craig said...

Merry Christmas, Mary Lou! You are in my heart and prayers today....

Lindah said...

Bless you, Mary Lou. So many of my friends are celebrating Christmas with the pain of loss this year. My heart aches for each one. Ours is not to know, but to trust through the sorrow. Easy to say, yes, but I've been there, too. And so we run the race regardless of the weather, just as your dear racer ran. God knows and cares. He will lift us up....

The Civil War Quilter said...

Mary Lou, I'm so glad I took the time to read your blog before going to bed tonight. After a long busy day that was sometimes stressful, it was a blessing to read your post. I well remember the first Christmas my daughter spent in Heaven. Your words expressing your deep faith in our loving Father bring comfort and joy to us all. Bless you and thank you for sharing yourself with us.

Quilt Hollow said...

XOXO...