IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR when the house is filled with the smell of freshly baked cookies, and in the air is a feeling of excitement as everyone runs around the house gathering up their hidden treasures. One by one they enter the wrapping room filled with boxes, paper, and bows, oh yes we mustn't forget the most sought after items of all, a box filled with everything needed to disguise the item within. As the evening comes to an end, with each one giving a big yawn we head upstairs for a long winter's nap. The chatter of voices from just an hour ago is now silent, so I slipped out of bed to check on the boys. As I pushed open each door I smiled in spite of myself seeing them snug in their beds; undoubtedly with visions of their presents filling their heads. As I gently closed their door I whispered, "Sweet dreams my little ones it won't be long now." Then I slipped down the stairs.
In the quiet of the night, I cleaned up all the wrapping mess while chuckling to myself knowing in the morning we would be knee-deep in it all over again, but it will be worth every minute just seeing the delight on each of their faces. When that task was done I picked up my list to double-check making sure I was ready for the big event; breakfast . . . hot baked cinnamon rolls and freshly made cinnamon butter to cover the top, hot cocoa with miniature marshmallows and peppermint sprinkles on top . . . check; dinner . . . all of our favorites, there's the holiday salad made with some apples, grapes, and nuts, then there's sweet potatoes, cranberries, daddies homemade bread, vegetables (I know yuck), sugar cream pie and pecan pie too . . . check; snacks for later . . . some Christmas cookies we all had fun making and eggnog with a scoop of ice cream and topped with whip cream . . . check. With a sigh of relief, I think to myself this is going to be a wonderful Christmas.
One of my favorite things to do is to sit in the dark and watch the Christmas tree light, I find it very relaxing and gives me a moment to myself to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Before going into the living room I fix myself a little Christmas cheer, a nice cup of hot peppermint tea with red hots. On my way to the chair, I grab my afghan and gather it up around me as I curl up to watch the lights. They remind me that Jesus said; "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world . . . he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 5:9, 8:12, KJV). As I look at the lights on the tree I picture each one representing a follower of Christ that is shining the light of life throughout their families, neighborhoods, and cities; the lights seem to know my thoughts as they appear to shine brighter. It's not long until that small voice deep inside me begins to speak the words of Peter, ". . . that God is no respecter of persons." (Acts 10:34, KJV), and that ". . . God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:16-17, KJV) I know in my heart there is more the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me so I sit and wait. Before long I find myself singing "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his. Jesus loves the children of the world." It doesn't matter to Him our race or social position; He just loves us and wants us to know Him. As I continue to ponder these scriptures the tree takes on new meaning for me as I realize the ornaments represent the diversity of man. We are all different, God created us that way, yet He sees us are all the same when we accept Christ into our hearts. In the simplest things, God is sharing the deepest thoughts of His heart. With a smile on my face the tears beginning to form in my eyes I just sit there and stare at the wonders of the tree. But, God wasn't finished as the Holy Spirit whispered, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." (Deut. 33:27, KJV) I learned a long time ago not to try and guess what God is trying to tell me but to wait and listen, so I waited. After a while, I began to notice how the lights were playing off the garland and casting gold and red rays of light from them. That's it, the garland wraps the tree as the everlasting arms of God wrap around His children! And the tree is the cross. Jesus was born to die for all mankind. Every year when we put up our Christmas trees we are sharing the life of Christ.
I sit there for the longest time contemplating all the Holy Spirit taught me while staring at the beauty of the Christmas tree. . . WHAT WAS THAT! Something caught my eye in the tree. After a few minutes of watching, I decided it must have been my imagination and started to get up . . . THERE IT IS AGAIN . . . a shadow behind the lights! I can't quite make it out but this time there is no mistake I SAW SOMETHING. It wasn't long until I saw one of the ornaments shaking and there in the lights was a mouse, a Christmas mouse was playing in the branches of our Christmas tree. He was so cute, for a mouse that is, and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself. I realized he had been there all this time, going unnoticed, suddenly the little guy darted back into the branches. It was then that I was aware of the string of the Holy Spirit, "This I speak to you for your own profit . . . that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction." (1 Cor. 7:35, KJV) Puzzled I sat there deep in thought, then after a while, I realized the mouse was a distraction and if I had seen him earlier I might have missed all the Lord had for me that night. And I wondered how many times we have allowed the cares of this world to distract us from the blessings God has for us. How many moments like this evening have I missed, because I wasn't sensitive to the Holy Spirit. As the morning was drawing near I got up to go back to bed, but I will never forget the things that were shared with me this night and the visit of our Christmas mouse.
"Oh, little town of Bethlehem, how still we see the lie. Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light, the hopes and fears of all the years are met in the tonight."
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night."
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