On Christmas morning, my husband was the first to wake up. Perhaps it was because his job had recently scheduled him to start each work day at 4:30 in the morning and his body had become accustomed to waking up at an earlier time. Or maybe my husband was just as excited to open his gifts as our seven-year-old son. Somehow, he was awake and that meant I was too.
I woke to his footsteps on the carpet, as my husband entered the living room where I had finally found some rest. And when I peeled opened my eyes, I found our new puppy curled up against my side. She must have followed me to the couch. I pulled that sweet little dog onto my chest and gave her the first morning kiss. Then my husband bent down, kiss us both and said, "Was I snoring too loud? When did you leave the bedroom?" I shook my head, smiled and replied, "Don't worry honey. It doesn't matter. Merry Christmas!"
As if I had beckoned him to come, our little son quickly responded to the sound of our voices and came out of his room. He walked up to the couch and said, "Merry Christmas Mommy." Then he leaned over, kissed me and our puppy on the head and said, "Can I open my presents now?" Without even thinking before speaking, I replied, "Not before we read God's Word."
Then fast as lightening, our little child ran to his room to get a book called The Story of Christmas. I listened to the sweetness of his voice while he read the words of Luke, chapter two verses 1-16, while a calmness claimed my soul. Halfway through, he started to stumble on the pronunciation of a few words. So, I asked to finish the story. Our son handed me the children's book and I began to read. At one point, I glanced over my shoulder and noticed my husband's face. I was surprised to find him listening so intently. Were we starting a new tradition in our home?
When I finished with the true story of Christmas, I peeled myself off the couch and went to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. Immediately, I heard the sound of two doves cooing outside my kitchen window. I smiled and said, "Good morning God. Happy Birthday Jesus!"
Afterward, both my son and my husband began to open their presents. After a few presents, I excused myself and quietly crept off to spend my normal alone time with God. I opened my bible and listened carefully as God spoke to my heart.
Later, I returned to our living room where I found my husband and small child filled with joyful anticipation. They had stacked the few presents with my name on them in a pile on my writing station. So, I sat down and began to open the first gift. Wide eyed, they watched as I tried hard to politely receive each carefully wrapped store bought item. It was difficult to smile graciously while remaining true to my heart. Perhaps it was because God had turned my eyes away from worthless things of this world. I wondered, "How could worldly possessions ever compare to the wondrous blessings God had provided over this past year?"
Disheartened, I opened the next gift. Amazing! The gift was a brand new bible. The bible was white as winter's snow. I smiled and thought of a song I had heard for the first time earlier in the week. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gy29mQfiavg.
Maybe some of the gifts under the tree were from God? Excited, I grabbed for the next gift. The fragile present was wrapped in black duck tape. It was tucked in the middle of a homemade card that read, "God loves us." I gentlely pulled the construction paper off and revealed a very small glace vial. My eyes became wet with tears. Then my son softly asked, "Do you remember what this is mommy?" I replied, "Yes son, it is your gold from when we went gold panning last year." Then he said the sweetest words. He said, "I wanted you to have the same gift as Jesus!" I started to cry.
Afterward, we got dressed up and went to church together. I was feeling a little sad that our 23 year-old son wasn't joining us, but God wouldn't allow my heart to ache for too long. Just after finding our seats, the worship team began to play. As God would have it, the first song they sang was that song that had captured my heart, Winter's Snow! I began to sing to God.
It was short church service. Yet, my soul felt its worth. I couldn't wait to share how much the Pastor's words had touched my heart. So when the service ended, I walked over to him. I was surprised yet again, when he shared that the song, "Winter's Snow" was a last minute addition to the service. I thanked God for yet another precious gift.
Finally, after returning home and as I began to prepare our Christmas dinner, two doves flew upon the telephone poll outside our kitchen window. I noticed them only long enough to thank God before they flew away. Perhaps through them, God was softly reminding me of His presence. But there was no need! I hadn't stopped thinking about Him all day!
Christ Born of Mary1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife,[a] who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Glory in the Highest
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold,[b] an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”[c]
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.