I sat up in bed. It was Saturday, the first day of
our Christmas vacation. Dim light streamed into my room, but as a preteen, I preferred
to sleep much later.  Besides, the
heaviness in my muscles begged for more rest. But I considered the noise. A tinkling
sound accompanied the bang.  A lover of
mysteries, my investigative skills turned on. 
One item in the house could produce that sound—the Christmas tree with
fancy ornaments.

So, despite my fatigue, I forced myself out of bed.
Shivering as I pulled my house coat about my body, I stumbled into the living
room, one room away from where I slept.  I
collapsed into the nearest wing chair as I noted the fully-decorated cedar now
lay on its side. The scene before me should upset someone, but I had no
energy.  Extreme lethargy made it
difficult even to sit.  I considered my
options, but I had only one. Call mother.

 Her bedroom
sat at the back of the house. Since she didn’t respond, doubtless she didn’t
hear.  “Hey Mom, the Christmas tree fell.”

that loud enough?

I yelled for my mother often in those days, but she
stayed calm.  That morning proved
different.  A thump sounded on the floor
the next moment. Mom appeared in the doorway, eyes widened, as if horrified.  

She reacted with the proper amount of dismay at the
sight. (You must have pizzaz for such a response.) Grateful, I drug myself back
to bed.

Mother took me to the doctor the following Monday.
The swine flu swept through Chattanooga that year in epidemic proportions, and
I had a bad case. I spend my entire vacation in bed, except for the few minutes
I appeared to open presents.  

That’s not my best Christmas memory, but I don’t
recall being upset about it.  Fun
decorations, wonderful music, pretty lights and delightful surprises characterized
our traditions. Mom loved Christmas, and she used the holiday to lavish us with
her love.  We had a foundation in Christ
that held up, even when things went wrong.

Today our world experiences
serious changes. Our nation no longer holds to the truths of the founding
fathers and our freedoms shrink every day. But, as Christians, we have a
foundation. Despite what happens to us or around us, we have hope. Christ came
to this earth to fix the problem of sin and reconcile us to himself.  Like that nasty Christmas long ago, we can
consider this to be a blip on the screen. “The sufferings of this present time
are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom
8:18). We can rejoice in Christ.

As we approach this New Year, I
challenge you to face 2014 with courage and determination. God placed us here
on earth in this troubled time for a reason. “For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we
should walk in them.” He has a job for each of us next year. Let’s get busy
doing the Lord’s business while rejoicing in his love.

Blessings to you and your family
in 2014.


 Merry Christmas

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