Miracles

I got to watch a miracle today.  Oh, it wasn’t a miracle in the sense that it was something that defied reason and/or the laws that govern the universe.  But it was a miracle in the sense of being out of the ordinary.   It took effort on the part of the ones performing it.  It required them to step outside their comfort zones to help a brother in need.  They didn’t let social standards of right and wrong get in the way.  They chose instead to follow God’s standards, to get their hands dirty (in a sense), to be practical in their application of “becoming all things to all people.”  In the process, here is what their stepping out in faith accomplished:

1.  It brought a smile to the face of a despairing brother in the Lord.  I hadn’t seen his delightful smile for awhile and their actions blessed me in addition to blessing him.

2.  Their actions were used by God to replace hopelessness with hope.  Hope in the future.  Hope that a brighter day is coming.  Hope in the faithfulness of God.  We, who know Christ, are His hands and feet, his arms of mercy, to a needy world.  If we don’t act, who will?

3.  Their actions encouraged onlookers.  We’ve been trying to help.  We’ve been praying.  We’ve been seeking to encourage.  But our gifts are not their gifts and their gifts were the ones needed to accomplish this particular miracle.  The Church is a body and each member has differing gifts, talents and abilities.  The brother in need in this instance has one of the tenderest hearts toward people of anybody that I know.  His current struggles have eclipsed visions of his tender heart and I’ve missed seeing that tenderness toward others when we cross paths at church functions.  The brothers who sought to reach out to him to meet his need have abilities in spheres that were/could be a blessing to this man.  Had they not chosen to act, his life would not have been blessed and neither would mine.  It is truly a delight and a blessing to watch the body of Christ work together for the good of the whole.

4.  For these young men, their act of mercy wasn’t a one time endeavor.  They’re committed for the long haul.  How often do we as Christians engage with a brother or sister in need with a long-term ministry in mind?  I’m reminded of the example of John Newton and his long term relationship with the poet and hymn writer, William Cowper.  Cowper struggled all his life with depression.  Newton was his constant friend and companion.  He was a friend who stuck closer than a brother for many, many years and it was largely due to his influence in Cowper’s life that Cowper was able to write rich, satisfying hymns whose subject was the goodness of God.

Miracles come in all shapes and sizes.  This morning, I am thankful for the faithfulness of these two young brothers in the Lord and their commitment to accomplish God’s work in God’s way, blessing and encouraging, enriching and ennobling the lives of those to whom they minister and the lives of those who watch.  Thank you, gentlemen, for blessing me.

Posted in Beauty | 1 Comment

When Life Hurts More Than You Can Bear…

I can’t sleep.  Typically, when I can’t sleep and it is 2:30 in the morning I get up and pour myself a cup of Sleepytime or a Chamomille tea and within minutes I’m heading back to Sleepy-land with a warm tummy and a tired brain.  But tonight, for some reason, my tea cup is now empty and I am still wide awake.

I am aware, right now, of many many people who are in the midst of very trying times.  Jobs have been lost.  Mental stability is in question.  Children are dying.  Parents are dying.  Children have died.  Husbands are leaving.  Husbands are lying.  Homes are torn apart by violence, and safe havens at least in this world seem not to exist.  So what is a person to do when life hurts more than you can bear?

Cling to the Cross.

There.  I said it.  Cling to the Cross.  Like Mary of old, seated at the bottom of a lonely Cross on a God-forsaken (or so it seemed for awhile) hillside, Mary, the mother of Christ, clung to the Cross and kept her eyes fixed on the Son of God.

Was there peace in the midst of her storm?  Probably not.  How can a mother look at the child she has loved and labored over and nurtured and cradled since birth, knowing He is dying,  still experience peace?  She can’t.  She can’t unless God has granted her eternal eyes.  Long-range vision.  Eyes that are focused on the long-range “joy” set before her, that God has set before each one of us.

Did Mary have the ability to see beyond the present and into the future?  Maybe but probably not.  At that point in time, when her head and her heart were bowed low at the foot of His Cross, my guess is that all she could see (through her blinding tears) was that the child she loved, the man he had become, had been unjustly condemned to die through no fault or sinfulness of His own, and I’m certain it hurt her mother’s heart more than she believed she could bear.  That is why, I believe, that very same Son, made it clear to her that even though God had decreed a different destiny for Him than that which she had imagined, He would not leave her alone.  In Mary’s case, God provided a substitute….a stand-in Son, somebody that Christ knew He could trust to care for his then aging mother.  She was focused on the present.  Christ was focused on the future.

So what is my point with all of this?  I think the words to this song sum it up best….

“God will make a way, where there seems to be no way,  He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me.  He will be my Guide, hold me closely to His side, With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way….”

So, dear hurting brother and sister, cling to the cross in this dark season of your soul.  He WILL make a way. He DOES work in ways we cannot see.  He longs to be our Guide as we maneuver our ships through dark and stormy seas and He WILL carry each of us safely home to glory where we will, at long last, see the One we’ve loved and served for many, many years face-to-face.

Loving each of you and praying fervently that the God of all grace, peace, mercy and love will be your closest companion, the Guardian of your soul, in the midst of your own tumultuous seas.  God CAN be trusted to provide just what we need JUST when we need it.  We need only TRUST, keep our eyes focused on the Savior, cling to the sides of the ship with all our might, and obey.

Posted in Beauty, Faith, Good Things, Living Determinedly | 2 Comments

Sophie’s Gift

Her name was Sophie.  Of course, I didn’t know that at first.  Who could?  I only saw her from across a crowded room and I wasn’t about to try to make the acquaintance of a small child.  In our culture, talking to strangers, particularly when those strangers are someone else’s small children, can get you into a heap of trouble.  And I wasn’t interested in trouble on this quiet, star-filled night in chilly Colorado.

She was dressed quite differently from all the other children and to be totally honest, she looked a little old-fashioned.  With her pink pants, her kelly green wool coat that extended to her knees, her orangey puff of a hat, complete with an animal face, and her plain brown shoes, she seemed to me to have stepped out of the past, possibly even out of the past from another country.  Germany perhaps.  The little girl couldn’t have been more than about seven years old.  Her skin was pale, almost translucent it seemed, in the artificial light of the barn in which we were all standing and waiting.  The sleigh would be here shortly.  At least, that was what we’d been told.

Christmas this year had been just okay for me.  Oh, it had been filled to the brim with lots and lots of activities, tons of food, acres of smiles and “Thank you’s” and people saying they were happy with their gifts, but inside of me there was an ache and I couldn’t quite identify the cause.  We’d started the holiday season with a trip to  see and hear the Trans-Siberian orchestra, light show and all.  It had just been okay for me.  Oh, it had been spectacular as the world measures spectacles, with its light shows and fire and enthusiastic musicians parading back in forth in endless fits of frenzy ’til it almost made my head spin.  But it lacked beauty.  And truth.  And goodness.  To be totally honest, it was boring.  Throughout the course of the evening, I’d had to nudge my husband several times to keep him from yawning and I’d stifled more than one yawn myself.  I applauded the performers attempts to get to the heart of the matter.  They had all the necessary elements for a good show; the story, the excellence in musicianship, the wham, the bam, the POW!  By all accounts, it should have pleased me intensely but it didn’t.  Something was missing and that something, as far as I was concerned, was the ability to touch the soul.  It hadn’t touched mine and as far as I could see, it hadn’t touched the hearts of those around me either as evidenced by how many got up and left before the end of the performance.

Our brief sojourn into the combined world of heavy metal and classical had been five nights previous.  Christmas, the actual day, had come and gone, and here we were waiting in an old red barn for the sleigh to arrive outside that would take us into a night journey of sparkling light and color.   As I sipped my hot cider, I watched the little girl standing across the room from me.  She had a long blond braid that poked out from under her fuzzy animal cap and extended halfway down her back.  At times, her tiny face turned upward to talk to her Daddy, whose presence minimized hers with visible incongruence.  She was tiny.  He was tall.  She was demure.  He was not.  He had a commanding presence.  She almost disappeared from sight by virtue of her size and her demeanor.

From out of the corner of my eye, I saw our guide motioning us to move in the direction of the carriage.  I climbed aboard and took a seat feeling a warm sense of satisfaction when I realized that the people who would be joining us on this particular carriage ride were the child, her father and her mother.  There was only one blanket in the carriage so we shared it.  Soon the horse moved, the carriage began to bump noisily along dirt-worn pathways and the little girl started to talk.  She spoke quietly at first with lots of starts and stops, and then with a little more volume and fluidity as she gained confidence that these strange people seated across from her were really nothing to be frightened of at all.

Midway through our ride was when it happened.  A lull in the conversation had briefly left each of us to our private thoughts.  I was wondering what to talk about next when Sophie, who had timidly introduced herself to us early in the carriage ride, leaned forward.  Glancing back and forth between my husband and me, she asked, “Would you like me to sing you a song?”

What adult would say no to a small timid child wanting to sing a song?  Certainly not me and not my husband either.  Her tenderness and her bravery were enough to make us want to know more of this tiny wraith-like individual with the old-fashioned clothes and the long blond braid.  We nodded and snuggled closer to each other in anticipation of the song Sophie was preparing to deliver.

With clarity and simplicity, the child began to sing and she accompanied her song with simple hand motions.

“Away in a manger, no room for a bed….”

In the darkness, tears sprang unbidden to my eyes.  In one little phrase, this child had sung to a needy place in my soul.

“The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head…”

Cradling her miniature “Lord” in her precious little arms, she continued,

“The stars in the sky looked down where He lay…”

We were riding ‘neath the stars on a night very much like what that first Christmas night might have been like so many years ago.  People were all around us, walking, talking, viewing the sights.  ALL were completely unaware of the beauty of a child’s voice proclaiming His worth in the sanctity of that carriage that dark night on the day after Christmas.  No one around me, inside the carriage or without, was aware of the wonder that had just invaded and completely captivated my heart and my soul, bringing tears to my eyes and a sense of joy to my heart, as I listened to the tiny child voice singing praise to her Maker, to my Maker, to the God of the Universe, the One who stooped to walk this earth for me.

“The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.”

The sound of her voice reverberated in my ears and in my soul as her last note faded into obscurity.  Sophie, pleased with her delivery, nestled back in between her parents with a sideways look  at their faces for signs of approval,  but she wasn’t quite done.  Within moments, the little girl with the big heart for the One who had come to earth for her, was leaning forward and quietly asking, “I could tell you a poem too.  Would you like to hear it?”

There was a long pause in the conversation.  Words escaped me.  I knew if I spoke again my voice would crack.  I could only nod and I prayed she couldn’t see the tears in my eyes and mistake them for sadness.

Glancing briefly at her mother’s face for the encouragement to continue, Sophie began to recite words from a very familiar poem,

“What can I give Him, poor as I am…”

In the hustle and bustle of a busy Christmas season, it’s so very easy to forget that the reason that He came was because He wanted to establish a relationship with me.  With ME!  The lowly sinner.  The nobody.  The person who had nothing to offer Him.  Nothing.  It’s the most beautiful rags to riches story EVER.  The king chose to descend to a lowly stable, to live in a sin-filled world for thirty-three long years, which must have seemed like an eternity to Him who had lived an eternity already in a world with no sin.

“If I were a shelter, I would bring a lamb.”

God gave us THE Lamb on that first Christmas night AND He provides shelter from all of life’s adversities if we’ll only come in from the cold.  It was a simple shelter He provided for His only begotten Son on that first Christmas night, but the shelter He’s established for me is one of joy and peace and hope and light in a world that is completely enveloped in darkness.

“If I were a wise man, I would do my part.”

I’m not wise.  I’m not even astute.  Sometimes I can string words together in a way that blesses people’s souls; most of the time I just sit and wonder at what my part is in the whole story that God set in motion on that first Christmas day.  The wise men rode into history simply by getting on camels and following a star.  None of us knows if by simple obedience to what He’s given us to do while on this earth, we might also do the same.  Or not.  We each might be one of the nameless, faceless persons in the history of the world who live and who die with no one hearing our name.  And that’s okay.  The only One who matters knows us BY our name and He has chosen to walk alongside us on this journey we call “life.”

“What can I give Him?  I can give Him my heart.”

Christ doesn’t demand.  He doesn’t come to us with all the pomp and circumstance of earthly fame and glory and demand that we bow the knee to Him and his commands.  No, he comes to us in the stillness and the silence of dark wintry nights and lifts our chins to view the incomparable majesty of a heavenly kingdom brought down to earth in the tiny, helpless estate of a newborn baby.  We have nothing….NOTHING…to offer Him, and yet He chooses…he chose….to live among us and to die in our place.

A heart is a little thing, but a surrendered heart can move mountains.  Little Sophie blessed my heart on December 26 with her simple faith and the unchallenged beauty and simplicity of her song and her poem.  She knew nothing about us.  We could have been atheists or people who hated God, but bravely she spoke of the one truth the world knows nothing about, the miracle of a king descending to earth in order to establish a relationship with poor, needy men and women like you and like me.

May we never tire of listening to the story that changed the course of history.  And may we, like Sophie, choose regularly to share the good news with hearts that desperately need a dose of wonder.

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Motherhood: In the Heart of the Battle

I recently had the pleasure of reading a NEW book published by Canon Press entitled, Loving the Little YearsMotherhood in the Trenches.  The author is a well-educated,  astute, disciplined mother of five little ones who are all under the age of five.  She is in the thick of the battle and she knows it.  It’s why she wrote the book.  And Rachel Jankovic has developed some strategies that work.  Her strategies will introduce other mothers to their role as “special forces” in a world full of people who disregard the importance of the role  of  mother in the battle for cultural stability.  Reading and applying the principles found in her book will not only equip the young mothers in your life to engage in this battle in a way that honors God; it will equip them to win.

Rachel Jankovic knows that sin is at the heart of misbehavior, and it’s often not just the sin of the child.  Quite often, parental responses exacerbate situations that could have been diffused if the parent had stopped to think about the long term effects of their own sinful responses to the sins of their children.  Pulling from personal experience, Rachel shares guidelines or “battle plans” for dealing with errant children and the emotional responses their behavior tends to trigger in the parent.  One of my favorite strategies was from a chapter entitled “Watch Your Language”.  This particular chapter is all about Mom feeling overwhelmed and voicing it.

In a home where there are five little ones vying for attention, the feeling of being overwhelmed is a given.  After all, there’s only one of you and no matter how you slice it, ten little hands reaching in your direction, each needing something or someone, has potential to stretch a parent past an emotional breaking point.  However, when we voice what we’re feeling, we give ourselves an out.  Imagine a soldier deep in the heat of a battle looking at his commanding officer and saying, “But I can’t.  I’m overwhelmed.”  An overwhelmed soldier puts his entire company at risk.  The same is true of a mother who gives herself an out by voicing her own overwhelmed feelings.  The only difference between the solider in the heat of battle for his country and the mother in the midst of a battle for Christian culture is that the mother is  putting her children’s future at risk by choosing to let the overwhelmed feelings control her determination and her drive to arrive at the end of the battle victorious.

I think what I like most about Rachel’s book is this:  she knows the battle begins at home in the heart, the mind and the emotions of the mother.  Her book equips the young mother to win her own struggles for control of her own emotions.  In this, Loving the Little Years is unique.  Many parenting books will give you ideas for dealing with errant children; very few books will teach you as a mother how to manage your own emotions and their attendant actions in order to bring God glory.

There are a couple of bonuses.  Rachel is a writer who can make the reader laugh. Her writing style is light-hearted and humorous.  And because Rachel is deep in the trenches which means she doesn’t have a lot of extra time to write, the ideas she develops are brief.  All of the chapters  in Loving the Little Years are short.

Are you an older woman who has young women with young children in your circle of friends?  Consider purchasing this book and using it as a “book club” selection.  Are you a Dad who wants to help equip his wife to deal with the challenges of teaching and training your children?  Buy this book.  Are you the mother of young children who is feeling overwhelmed and at the point of exhaustion?  Purchase this book.  It will enable you or someone you know to side step and out-maneuver the hot spots of the battle successfully.  It’s the perfect gift for the mother who wants to honor the Lord during the little years.

Posted in Beauty, Faith, Good Things, Living Determinedly | 2 Comments

The Notebook

It was a simple looking notebook.  Green.  A picture of a bundle of rosemary and thyme in bloom  adorned the front cover.  At the bottom, a script version of a verse from Isaiah proclaimed, “It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing.”  For a moment, I wondered what “it” referred to.

I picked it off the shelf because I’m a glutton for pretty notebooks.  Even so, the prettiness of this notebook wouldn’t have convinced me to buy it. What I read inside did.  The author was a woman and she hadn’t spent a lot of time recording thoughts in this particular notebook.  There were only  three entries, dated 1/2, 1/3 and 1/14 respectively.  If not for the modern style of the notebook, the entries could have been made centuries ago.

The author’s penmanship was exquisite.  If I had to guess, I’d say she might have even taken a few classes in calligraphy.  But it wasn’t even the penmanship that caused me to purchase this particular notebook.  My guess then and now is that she was a young wife, totally and completely in love with two people:  her Lord and her husband.  This girl knew how to pray and she knew how to praise.  And she had a way with words that drew me into her three little entries and made me feel as if we’d known each other our entire lives.  In reality, I knew nothing about her except what was written on those three little pages but what was written there gave me a glimpse into her heart, and in just a few moments you’ll begin to see into her heart too.  My prayer is that what you see will bless and challenge you as it did me. She begins by addressing her first Love,

“O Lord, You are great and your mercy endures forever.  You are good and your love endures forever.  Great is your faithfulness.  Your glory covers the earth as a blanket and wraps the heavens in splendor.”

Her heart was full of adoration for her God, for his goodness, his love, his faithfulness and his glory.  She couldn’t keep from praising him and her praise was poetic.

“Father, how my heart longs for You.  How I desire to know and taste your goodness.  Such sweet times of peace, joy, and refreshment I miss.”

Here we get a glimpse into the state of her soul when she began to write this particular entry.  She had known her Lord intimately enough at some point to miss his presence now.  Have you, dear sister, known your Lord in this manner?  Can you echo her words here?  Are you now in a place similar to where she found herself as she began to write?  She continues,

“I have chosen the slop of pigs over your banqueting table.  May You restore me and give me new life that is fresh by Your Spirit.”

She asks humbly for her God to restore her to His presence in spite of her own foolish choices.

“Father, forgive me for trampling on your precious gift of grace.”

How often do we trample on this precious gift, dear sisters?  Do we ask God’s forgiveness when we do or has it become such a common occurrence in our lives that we seldom even notice when we’re trampling on it any more?

“Renew me by this grace and draw me ever closer in your arms.”

She knew WHERE God’s grace was best found; closest to the Savior’s heart.

“Thank you for your own blood and tears shed for me.  May I abandon all for Christ’s sake and His glory.”

She gives thanks for two of the most precious elements in all of creation; the blood and the tears of the Savior of mankind.  Simple yet profound.  And then she humbly asks that God, in spite of her failings and falterings will enable her to abandon everything for the sake of the One who loves her with a love beyond compare.  She closes out this section by asking her Lord to help her to be what he wants her to be:  obedient.

“O Lord, I ask for obedience.  Train my heart and mind to shudder at the thought of disobeying your Word.  Will my spirit to unite with Christ and think on the things of Heaven.”

She is wise enough to go to the source and ask for what she knows will please her Lord and Savior.  And just as a side note:  do we “shudder” at the thought of disobeying God’s Word?  She wanted just the thought of disobedience to cause her to shudder.  This is a girl who had a sensitivity to the awfulness of sin and didn’t want it to have any place in her heart and life.

It is in the next section that I felt transported back to the first century and in a moment you’ll see why.  This prayer, the one we’ve been reading so far, could easily have been penned by Mary, the mother of our Lord, for this girl, like Mary, had a humble heart and was earnestly desiring that what God wanted in her life would come to pass.  She continues,

“I beg you to overcome my fears of being a wife suitable for Joseph.  Direct my heart toward him in love and allow my spirit to rejoice at opportunities to serve him.  Show me how my actions affect him.  Open my eyes to the ways I can encourage him and help him.  Give me courage to submit and stand by Your Word.  Change us, O Lord.”

In the preceding paragraph is hidden an entire sermon on how to be a wife that God can use and how to grow a marriage that God will bless.  I think that what is most notable about this paragraph is what is missing in it.  There is no demanding that Joseph meet her needs, no strident voice talking about “finding herself” or asking that others recognize how important she is.  No.  In fact, what we see here is just the opposite.  She asks the Lord to “direct her heart” and to “allow her spirit” to love, to rejoice, to serve and to help.  And she asks for courage.  She knows that submission takes courage, so she again goes to the Source for what she needs to do what God in His Word requires of her.

Finally, she closes out this entry with a prayer directed at God, the Father.  She says,

“Father, may my attention be steadfast upon Your glory today.  May my heart beat with yours and may others know of your great love as a result of Your work in my life to make me more like Christ.”

She knows it’s all related.  The serving and loving and submitting are all a part of one big, beautiful WHOLE that when done humbly has the power to point others to the One in whom all glory dwells.  She knows she’s incapable in her own strength of doing any of the above in a way that will draw others to the One she loves, so she asks her heavenly Father to enable her to chose to focus her attention NOT on the difficulties of the task but rather on His glory.

We live in a world that desperately needs to see the Savior’s glory.  Strident voices abound proclaiming man’s glory, but there are precious few whose hearts are so submitted to the Christ of Calvary that they would dare even breath a prayer like the one we’ve just enjoyed together.

For every Christian wife and mother, the next several weeks are going to be busy ones.  We’re all going to have many, many opportunities to love, to serve and to submit.  We may feel at times that we’re being stretched to the breaking point.  I guess my encouragement to each of you is this:  remember what it’s all about, dear girls.  It’s ALL about the Father’s glory.  Like our anonymous wife in the notebook entry above, we each have choices.  Will we choose to do what brings us attention or will we choose instead to humble ourselves at the foot of the Cross and in so doing, bring glory to the One who alone is worthy of all praise and adoration?

Praying with you for God’s glory to be revealed in each of our lives THIS season in order that hearts around us will come to know the Savior’s love in whole new ways.

Posted in Beauty, Faith, Good Things, Living Determinedly | 1 Comment

An Apology and a Detour

Ok, girls.  First of all, an apology is in order.  I promised you a post that had to do with a notebook I purchased at a Goodwill several years ago AND I promised you that post two days ago.  Well, here’s the deal.  I’m human….and the holidays are here.  I didn’t get to that post (obviously) and I’m not going to get to it today.  I WILL get to it tomorrow.  However, tonight (because I promised information about this particular item to one of my sis’s-in-law and I’ve already kept her waiting for a few days), I am going to invite you all to “listen in” while I post for her a summary of this Hoos family tradition, an Advent Tree, taken entirely from a book I discovered years ago called Family Celebrations. (still available at Amazon.com)

When the boys were growing up, I discovered this wonderful little book, and because I wanted to focus our Christmas celebrations on the Christ of Christmas, I made one of these trees using patterns provided in the book:

Each felt circle on the tree signifies a name for or a characteristic of Christ.  Every evening in December, or as often as we could schedule it in, we would sit down together and using the Family Celebrations book as a devotional guide, we would read a brief paragraph from the book, read a specific passage from the Bible, discuss a couple of questions provided in the book, pray (text provided), sing a hymn (poorly but we tried) and then we would place the appropriate symbol on the tree.  By the 25th of December, our tree was complete and looked like the one you see pictured above.

The Advent Tree is very simple to make.  Instructions and full-size patterns are included in the book.  For example, here’s the pattern for the Bible circle:

And here are some close-ups of some of the other completed circles:

Obviously, since the boys are all grown and gone, we don’t do the daily readings any more but the Advent Tree is now a part of our “decorations” for the holidays.  Both Dave and I look forward to putting it up every year; it’s a reminder of why we celebrate Christmas.  It also serves as a pleasant reminder of the years our boys were growing up and it encourages us to anticipate Christ’s return.

Posted in Good Things, Living Determinedly | 4 Comments

Hot Chocolate and Hard-Working Young Men

Two mornings ago, seven able-bodied young men showed up at my house to do this:

I’d just settled in with a warm cup of tea to do a little of this:

But I couldn’t get out of my mind the vision of the cold young men who had to be shivering on the roof in the slightly more than 40 degree morning contrasted with me sitting warm and cozy in my 70 degree dining room with my hot tea.  So, I developed a plan and put it into practice.  I made some hot chocolate, set up a TV tray in the front yard, came inside and hid behind the curtains to see when or if the young men would take advantage of the goodies under the tree.  For a long while, all I saw was this:

Gradually, the pounding on the roof slowed.  Then it stopped.  I looked outside in time to see this:

And this:

But I wasn’t quite prepared to see this:

As I watched, they took turns taking pictures, making sure everyone got into one.  But there was only one problem.  By themselves, they couldn’t get a pic of ALL of them UNTIL…

I embarrassed them by emerging from the warmth of the house and asking if I could take a picture of all of them together (and of course, I had to snap a picture for me too):

I want you to take a minute just to look at their faces.  Aren’t they beautiful?  These are men that Christ loves, that He came to die for and that He came to save.  I haven’t a clue if any of these boys/men knows Christ personally, but you can bet I was praying that somehow they would be impressed with the love of the Lord for them in that little cup of hot chocolate that took me all of a couple of minutes to fix for them the other morning.  I think I’m going to tape this picture to my bathroom mirror this Christmas season to remind me to pray for these boys.  I don’t know their names.  I don’t know their families.  But I know they need Jesus and the life that only He can give.

For me, the Christmas season began two mornings ago when I had a chance to give a cup of hot chocolate to a bunch of boys/young men in Jesus’ name.  I pray it bears eternal fruit.  I’ll never know this side of eternity.  But this one thing I do know:  it’s going to be a glorious Christmas season!

Posted in Beauty | 7 Comments