Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fleeting Seasons of Childhood

It was a chilly evening in October. I was preparing for my annual garage sale and had solicited my 10-year-old's assistance in separating toys to keep from toys to sell. This was always a difficult assignment for me, and a little company would be nice.

Sitting on a small bench in the drafty garage, Leslie and I rummaged through the disorderly pile of playthings from days gone by—shabby dolls, wind-up gadgets, building blocks. And then, there was her beloved plastic food. So many memories were there, but space was a factor and something had to go.

After questioning Leslie about the play food—“Does it stay, or do we sell it?”—her expression suddenly became serious. Methodically, she took the various pieces and placed them in her lap.

"I used to have so much fun with these," she said, an uncharacteristic note of sadness in her voice.

Without warning, a huge lump settled in my throat. Not trusting myself to speak, I sat in silence as she struggled with the weighty matter at hand.

Afer a long time of staring at each piece, she gathered them all to her chest and gently lowered them into the towering box marked: "Garage Sale Stuff."

"Well…good-bye," she whispered, touching the pieces a moment longer before letting them go.

The garage was heavy with emotion. I looked at her, she looked at me, and tears began trickling down our cheeks.

"You can keep them if you want to," I said, fighting to turn back the speeding hands of time. She shook her head. "Are you sure?" I asked, sniffing unashamedly. She was sure; the food should go.

Wrapping my arms around her small shoulders, I knew that, alongside the beloved pieces of make-believe food, pieces of childhood lay inside the tall box, never to be seen again. A season had come and gone. My heart ached as I, too, reluctantly let go.

Leslie turns 25 today. I love her beyond words, and am forever grateful that God made me her mother.  ♦

Thursday, December 23, 2010

God Is With Us. All Is Well.

It doesn't take a pessimist to see that we are living in uncertain times. Global crisis and a global government are common topics of discussion these days. Chaos abounds.

During such uncertainty, the Christmas story has more meaning than ever for Christians everywhere.

Christmas isn't a story about Santa Claus, sleigh rides and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. It is a story about a starry night in Bethlehem, when Love entered the world, special delivery.

No longer would man have to live under the weight of sin. The little baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, was Emmanuel, God with us, the sacrificial spotless Lamb for all mankind. All who believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life.

Some say that God, in his master plan for redemption, took on the form of man because he wanted to better understand the plight of his creation—to know their grief and to feel their pain.

But I disagree.

God is omniscient. He knows everything about everything. He didn't need a trip to earth to enlighten him. Just the opposite, in fact.

God took on the form of man to enlighten you and me. Only after seeing his tears, his bleeding hands and his broken body would we know—beyond any shadow of a doubt—that he knew our grief and felt our pain. His coming to earth was a selfless act of immeasurable love, bringing hope to a hopeless people.

Thousands of years later, when the world spins out of control and crisis looms, hope still reigns in the hearts of those who believe. Let come what may. God is with us. All is well.

A version of this article appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Christmas Day, 2002.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Unto Us

Looking at Christmas lights has been a family tradition since childhood. My daughter and I browsed the neighborhood last night, keeping the tradition alive. Christmas music on the radio, windows down and cameras flashing.

My favorite part of any display is always the manger scene. What a glorious gift from heaven! God, the giver of life, robed in flesh, giving himself to mankind.

In the Old Testament, Isaiah prophesied, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

I'm glad I know who Jesus is.


Linking to Spiritual Sundays.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Magical Music

Last night, me, my twin sister and her husband took in an evening of Andrea Bocelli. It was a magical night. His rendition of "Blue Christmas" made me swoon. Listening to gifted singers and musicians is one of my very favorite simple pleasures.

I love downtown Houston at night. Looking festive.

The amazing Houston Symphony Orchestra
What a talent!

Me and my lovely twin sis.

Me with popcorn and my fancy ankle boots. :-)
Joining twin sister's Simple Pleasures.