I remember getting up in the early morning hours and being mesmerized by the gifts under the tree. Being an only child meant that things did not need to be wrapped or labeled. If they were suitable for a child they obviously were for me. There was always the latest baby doll and her accessories there. After a few years I had quite a large family of children in my downstairs playhouse and I dutifully and lovingly cared for each one while playing. (Hmm. Talk about foreshadowing!)
|An only child, her treasured spouse, and two generations of doll babies|
I knew as a young child about the Christ-child coming as a baby. And I loved Him. I just didn't have a firm grasp of how everything fit together. Still, the scriptural seeds were planted and watered. One Christmas season they bore fruit.
When I was 14 years old my pastor took us to a retreat at Tennessee Temple University. It was there on the night of December 28th I trusted the baby born in Bethlehem as my Savior. (Oh, look! Today is my spiritual birthday!!!!!)
I saw the real treasure of Christmas was the truce offered to me by the Eternal Father! I laid down my arms. The battle was over. That is the image I see whenever I read Luke 2:14.
". . . peace, good will toward men."
The treasure offered is peace. Oh, how I needed it! Spiritual turmoil had been mine for several years. "Good will toward men." Toward me. The God of glory offered me His good will and I took Him at His Word.
I'm so happy that God came in the flesh! From that night forward I have treasured the gift of the Son that came as a baby, lived a sinless life, died for me, and was resurrected three days later as the payment for my sins so I could experience eternal peace with the Father.
A few years passed. . .
I found myself in another Baptist college, this time as a student. It was there that I met the young man that was to be my husband. We began dating in mid-October and during that Christmas season in 1977 he told me that he loved me and hoped that we could be married sometime in the next year. If you paid any attention at all to the Yule Moon phenomenon last week you know that its last occurrence was in 1977. Now you know why Pastor Dad confessed his love for me when he did: He was moonstruck. :)
Like all great marriages, ours has had its ups and downs, its joys (example: see picture above) and its heartaches, but since it is built upon a firm foundation of faith it has endured all hardships and celebrated all happy events with eternity in mind. I treasure the gift God gave me when he gave me my husband.
Thank you, God, for making me part of your family that Christmas season when I was 14 years old. Thank you, Pastor Dad, for promising to make me part of your family when I was 18 years old. As much as I loved Christmas when I was a child, these treasured relationships are why I cherish the season even more now.