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First Things First

There is a picture of a tear that has been going around on Facebook that says; “ever have a memory to roll down your cheek?” I recently had one of those moments. For me, it was hearing the song,  Don’t Blink and not some Christmas song that caused this gal’s dam to break.

tear

As I listened to Kenny sing about how life goes by so fast, I reminisced on Christmases past. As I reminisced, I looked about the family room and other rooms of little reminders of not only Christmases past but of those who have had a special influence and place in my life and heart.

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 In the picture there are four items that represent Christmases  past and the meaning for Christmas for me. The first item is the train under the Christmas tree. Growing up it was  a tradition  for Dad to set up the train under the Christmas tree. My brother and I would sit there for hours making up destinations of where the train would be going and we would also add a little cargo to the cargo cars as we played. Though the train only went around in one continuous circle my brother and I reached many destinations in our imaginations.

Christmas Garland

The other item in the picture is an elf. I remember the year Mom and Dad went to Sears and Roebuck to buy new Christmas ornaments. I was probably about six or seven at the time. Mom picked out candy canes, gingerbread houses, gingerbread men and these elves that would decorate our tree. Over the years these ornaments became damaged because of the wear of time and due to the moves they had to make as we moved from one place to another. However, out of those ornaments were two elves. One elf for me and one for my brother. This elf sitting on the ladder is the elf that has now gone with me from place to place. Each year I place it on the ladder going up the tree and each year I remember the Christmases from childhood. Oh, I could go on about the different Christmases and what made them so special but that will have to wait for another day and time.

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Beside the train lays a sweatshirt with a reindeer painted on it. This sweatshirt was a craft that my son, Drew made when he was in pre-school. On it is an old pizza stain that won’t come out but it does not stop me from getting it out year after year and having it on display somewhere in the house. When I reached into the closet to get this special shirt out the words; the secret to life is don’t blink  came to my mind. It seems like it was just yesterday where  Jim and I were out shopping for Drew’s first Christmas. And, this year we are Christmas shopping for  him  and his wife, Megan’s first home. It made me think of all the Christmases we have spent with Drew and I saw how time has really flown by. It is so true of what Kenny says in the song; “it’s important to put first things first” and “you can’t flip over the hour glass.”  A tear rolled down my cheek as I longed to have that little boy back but also another tear rolled down my cheek with pride knowing what kind of man he has grown up to be.

Christmas Garland

Earlier, I mentioned the ladder. Jim’s parents gave us that one year in our early years of marriage. Jim’s mom has had a ladder by her tree through the years  and she thought we needed one, too. Needless to say, I was excited to get it knowing that is was a part of bringing some of Jim’s Christmas past into our home. I don’t have them in the picture but there are snow flakes made by his sweet grandmother that go on our tree as well.

The train not only reminds me of Christmases growing up but it is a reminder that God sent his Son, Jesus and through Him there is a destination. The destination is heaven. By accepting Christ into my life, I have my ticket to heaven.

The elf on the ladder is a reminder that no matter where I go Jesus is there. Just like this elf being with me all these years and going through all the moves I’ve made, Jesus has always been there and will always be there with me. It is up to me to acknowledge His presence and make sure I include him in all that I do and invite him to go with me in all the places I go.

Love God

The sweatshirt reminds me of how time really does fly and the importance of staying in tuned to God in ALL situations everyday.  There are opportunities put before us each day of being a witness for Christ. We are given opened door opportunities to invite people to join us on the journey and yet so many times we don’t embark on them.

The snowflakes are a reminder of family. Though we are related by blood or by marriage,just like each snowflake  we are each different and unique in our own way. Each one has something that they can and have contributed to the family and to the world in order to make things a little bit better for someone else.

ladder to heaven

The ladder reminds me of the story of Jacob. A ladder  aids us in being able to reach something.  Therefore, the ladder represents our connection to  God. The ladder being Jesus whom is the very reason for the Christmas Season.

mary did you know

As I  listen to the song, Don’t Blink  again, I think of the song written by Mark Lowry and composed by Buddy Greene, Mary Did You Know?. Can you imagine what was going through Mary’s mind and what her heart was feeling as she watched her son carry a cross that he would soon die on?  You know she thought about the moments of his coming into the world and  the hours she must have watched him at play. Just like any mother she probably reminisced about his favorite foods and stories they had shared around the table. As a mom myself, I know it had to be a moment in time where she wished she could go back in time but couldn’t. Mary knew first things were first. She knew that though she carried and gave birth to this child of hers that He was God’s Son He was sent so that we may obtain the ultimate ticket to the most wonderful destination.

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The secret to life is don’t blink.” This lyric holds true not only for those moments we have with our family and friends. It also holds true for us in our Christian walk. There are opportunities out there for us every day to be the hands and feet of Christ. Yet, there are moments we sit and look back and realized we blinked. It is when we blinked we missed the opportunity of being a true ambassador for Christ.

Christmas Memories

This Christmas as I look at photos from Christmas past, hear the same old  stories told like they have never been told before  sing the old carols from years past, I will not only be reflecting on my life of memories with family and friends but I will reflect on my Christian walk. It is in the reflection where I will see where I blinked and will be made more aware of the importance of staying in tuned to God in ALL that I do.

This Christmas may you put first things first  and that is keeping Christ first in your life. May you capture all the opportunities put before you to be his witness. May you also capture all those special little moments that soon become memories with your family and friends this season.

Christmas Blessings

Seek God’s Beauty

model of beauty

“Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”

I Peter:3:3 The Message

As I go about my daily activities around the house, the television plays in the background. Though the television is on, I find myself caught up in my own thoughts. Yet, I hear the words of a testimonial from an infomercial; “his product really changed my life, ” I feel better about who I am.” 

These testimonials echoed in my head and in my heart this morning. I thought about how we have put such emphasis  on outward appearance these days. Infomercials tell us what products we must have in order to look and feel better. Other social media avenues such as Pinterest and Facebook have all the different fashions all put together for us as a blueprint of how we are to look as we head out to run those errands.

fashion

It is my fear that we get so caught up in what society defines as beauty that we have forgotten the true beauty God created. Society telling us what to do, what to use and defining beauty is no different from the Pharisees were with their rigidity of the laws that they had added to God’s commandments in order to be right with God.

relationship with God

The Pharisees missed out on the relationship that God wanted to have with them because they were so wrapped up in the laws. We miss a relationship with God and with others because we get so wrapped up in how we look and assessing others on how they look. Not only do we miss the relationship, we miss the blessings God has planned for us when we are wrapped up in ourselves instead of focusing on him and those around us.

True beauty is a matter of the heart. It is allowing God’s light and Holy Spirit shine through us and sharing that light with others.  As we see others, we need to see them as Christ’s sees them. He sees beyond the outside and sees the heart.

seeking the heart

The words, “his product really changed my life” really hit a nerve for me today. The only one person who can change your life and make it more beautiful is accepting Christ into your heart. It is when you accept Him into your heart, walk in the footsteps of his grace and love, and begin to really seek the heart of others, we experience the beauty God meant for us to experience.

heavens gates

Think about it….when we reach those pearly gates, God  is not going to make sure we are in the latest suggested fashion before letting us into his kingdom. However, he is going to look at our hearts and how we shared His grace and love to others. God is going to see how we lived our love for his son, Jesus out loud.

I challenge you in the days ahead to look beyond the appearance of people you encounter. It is going to be in these experiences you are going to experience the beauty of God and his love and grace.

“Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray-and shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.” 1 Timothy 2:8-10 The Message

Seek God’s Beauty. It is all around you.

audrey hepburn beauty

Our Journey

Different Directions

Jim and I have lived in the same town for twenty-three years. We have lived in the home we are in now for about eighteen years. Yet, when we leave the house to go to church, the grocery, out to eat, or whatever errand we must run, it seems we always have the same conversation when we start.

April: You know we are going to the grocery don’t you?

Jim: Yes, I know we are going to the grocery.

April: Then, why are you going this way. I always go down such and such 

street to get there. 

Jim:  Well, I like going this way to get there because there are less traffic lights.

April: Well, I like the other way because it has traffic lights and it is easier to get out in traffic.

Even though we have this conversation time after time, we still get to our destination. Jim has one way he likes to go and I have another way I like to go. Our Christian journey is pretty much like Jim and me taking different streets to get to the same destination.

Settle Memorial

One example of taking different directions are the choices we make in where we worship. Our son, Drew was raised Methodist. Yet, when he went out on his own, he chose another route to grow in his Christian walk. His dad and I encouraged him to find a church home and when doing so to make sure it stood on firm biblical principles. We also encouraged him to make sure that it was not only a place where he could/would grow in his own spiritual walk but a place where he could encourage others and invite others to join him on the journey.

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Not only are there different places and styles of worship for us to choose from on our journey. We all have different backgrounds, stories and experiences. It because of these experiences that we may see things a little differently from someone else who is  heading towards the same destination but on a different route. No one is better than the other. It is all a part of the Master’s plan in molding us and preparing us for that final destination. We are all different so that we can learn from one another, teach one another and see how the grace of God is at  work in many ways and  in many lives.

traffic light

On our journey, we have choices to make. Some of us take the streets where there are traffic lights that make us stop and look before merging into traffic. In other words, we stop and look to see where we need to go, who we need to help and see where we fit into the big picture. Then, there are others of us who simply like going on the streets where you don’t need to a light to merge into traffic. It is more comfortable for us to put the metal to the pedal and jump right in and go!

Young woman reading bible

As I sit with my bible in my lap, I turn the pages. In these pages I see the maps of the journeys that different ones took to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. No one journey was alike just like none of our journeys are just alike. Yet, we have the same message to share to those we encounter on our journey. The message is that God sent his Son so that all can experience and receive his marvelous grace. We must continue to share the message of how Christ died for ALL not just for some.

the journey

As we travel this road we call life, may we be ready to stop at the traffic lights and listen to the Father to lead us into serving God’s children. And, may we to be ready for those times when He doesn’t give us a light but He just says; “go!” and trust Him. Last but not least, let’s make sure we invite others to join us on the journey.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus

had told them to go. When they saw him, the worshiped him; but some doubted.

Then Jesus came to them and said. ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been

given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them in the

the name of the Father and of the Son and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey

everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the

very end of the age.’  

Matthew 28:16-20

May we feel his Holy Presence as we continue our journey.

do not go where

Blessings

 

All My Children….

JR Ewing

When reading the Old Testament many twists and turns take place. Some of the events in the bible would put soap operas  like All My Children to shame. And, the characters would put JR Ewing to shame. Although, there was misbehaving, mischief and scheming in the Old Testament, it never failed that God used these schemes, people for his glory.

soap character pic

Rahab a very unlikely candidate to fulfill God’s purpose. She was a prostitute and lived a pagan life . Yet, she willingly hid the Israelite spies from the king of Jericho. Rahab lied to the king and his men that she did not know where the spies had gone. Thus, sending the king and men of Jericho on a wild goose chase to find the Israelites who had come to take the land of Jericho. Rahab tells the Israelite spies that she knows their history and what God has done and is doing for them. She went against the grain of her people by professing that God was the only true Yaweh  to the Israelites.  She made an agreement with the spies that her family and her life would be spared in return for what she had done for them. Thus, she and her family’s lives are spared and in the end God uses this unlikely lady of the evening for his glory by putting her in the genealogy of our Lord and Savior. God redeemed her and she became the mother of Boaz.

promised restoration

Boaz became Naomi’s kinsmen redeemer. This was done when Naomi’s daughter-n-law followed her back to Bethlehem. Ruth was  Moabite. Again, a person who worshiped other gods besides the true Yaweh.  However, when Naomi tried to convince Ruth to return back to her homeland and not travel with her, we are familiar with the words Ruth spoke to Naomi: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” ( Ruth 1:16) In that very monologue, Ruth denied the other gods her people worshiped and acknowledged the one true God, Yaweh.  If you are familiar with the Book of Ruth any at all you know that she ends up with Boaz and they give birth to a son, Obed. Obed is the father of Jesse.

hour glass

Then there was the time when God approached Samuel to bring forth his son to be anointed King. Samuel just knew his son, Eliah would be anointed because of his good looks. Yet, Eliah is not the one God wanted. After approaching God with his other sons, God asked if Samuel if he had another son. Samuel responded  by saying that he had one who was out tending sheep. God told Samuel to bring David to him. Thus, we know the rest of the story….David was anointed king.  

king david

Remember the story of King David and Bethsheba? David saw Bethsheba from across the way and he was captured by her beauty. He wanted this woman for himself. David wanted Bethsheba so badly  that he had her husband murdered. Not only did David have an affair with Bethsheba, and  her husband murdered so that he could be with her all the time, we know that David slid on that slippery slope more than once in his life. Yet, he as a man after God’s own heart. In other words, God knew David’s heart and used all the twists and turns of his life.  Not only did God use David’s twists and turns but out of Bathsheba’s and David’s relationship, a son named Solomon was born.  From Solomon we get the best advice and wisdom we could ever ask for known as the book of Proverbs.

Tears of Love

Can you see what is happening? All  of these unlikely people are building the most beautiful genealogy. They are in the genealogy of prophesy being fulfilled in God’s time. The prophesy of God coming to us in human flesh,to be our redeemer kinsmen,  to walk among us and to teach us of his marvelous grace.  We better know this  prophesy and walking human example of grace as Jesus Christ.

emmaus Jesus

Oh, I could go on of unlikely characters in the bible who God uses including more women and men not only in the Old Testament but in the New Testament as well. For example, who did Christ call to follow Him? He called dirty old fishermen and tax collectors. And, there is Paul. For the longest time he persecuted the Christians but in turn he became persecuted because he became a follower of Christ.

seeking the heart

In our society today, we have a tendency of sizing people up. We are quick to judge someone of their appearance, where they live, what they drive, what they may have done or not done,  and who they know. We may even look in the mirror and size ourselves up at times and question who we really are and ask ourselves what do we truly have to offer. Yet, we fail to see the hearts of others.  We fail to see ourselves as God sees us. Some of the best witnesses for Christ I have encountered in my life have been people in a homeless shelter. They have been people living on the street that gave me that word of encouragement I needed to hear at that moment.  It has been people who have very little to offer willing to open the door for me or simply give a smile that warmed my heart.

Jim and I love the following commercial. The first time we saw it we were rolling in the floor laughing.

Isn’t this commercial so much of how we size people up?  We see someone who is different from us, who may be dirty, have an addiction, a shady/shaky past,  or not the best outward appearance and draw a conclusion before we even give them a chance? If we are going to walk in the footsteps of Christ, we must see each individual as God sees them. We must seek their heart.

looking in the mirror

  Along with seeing others’ hearts as God sees them, remember the  next time you look in the mirror and you find yourself  sizing yourself up.   When you start asking what is your purpose in life,  know that God can use ALL of you, no matter your past, for his glory.  Each one of us who walk this earth is a child of God. God sees our hearts and says, you are “all my children.”

crown and heart

Imprinting

imprintin bible

Several years ago I worked in a Christian Bookstore.  When customers would come in and purchase bibles for themselves or for other people, it was customary to ask if they would like to have the bible imprinted. Imprinting meant using material to press down on the leather that would place the name on the bible for a lifetime.

old bible

In life we are constantly imprinting whether we realize it or not. How? We imprint by the words we speak, how we react in certain situations and how we carry ourselves on a daily basis. Through our imprinting, we show our true  appearance. This appearance is what  God sees ALL the time, our heart.

In the video above, a four-letter word flies out of the little boy’s mouth and the dad realizes he has made an impression on his son. The father’s eyes are opened to how much his son is watching his actions and listening to his words. The little boy expresses how much he wants to be like his daddy.

The Lord's message

When we accept Christ into our lives, we are allowing God to imprint our hearts and lives. It is in this imprinting that we would desire to be just like our “daddy” God. We  should want to walk in the steps of His Son, Christ and  extend the grace that has been extended to us to those placed in our path’s.

As we journey through the days ahead, may we realize that people are watching us, our  actions and listening to our words. We  may never know who’s life we will be imprinting.

watch your thoughts

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in the world, in conduct, in love in spirit, in faith, in purity.”  1 Timothy 4:12

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Blessings

“Lord, You are the beginning, the end, and the very essence  of love in me. Open my eyes to see as You see and love others through me.” Sandy Smith

Christian: Noun or Verb?

If you have watched the movie, Sister Act 2 you are familiar with this scene and song. Though the nuns are called by God to love and ministers to others, they have seemed to have built a wall between them and the community. They have put fencing around their living quarters and school for protection. Then, Whoopi Goldberg’s character, Deloris aka Sister Mary Clarence brings them to reality. In order to make a difference beyond their walls, they needed  to get back into the community, be seen and put their calling and God’s love into action.

How many of us who proclaim to be Christian stand inside our homes, churches, or offices and see a world hurting?  Yet, we do nothing. Instead, we build fences, walls and withdraw in order to protect ourselves from the ugly that is outside our door. We pass judgement on people, their lifestyle and situations.  In other words, we keep the word, Christian as a noun and not an action verb.

emmaus Jesus

God sent his Son, Jesus to be an example of putting love into action, of accepting others no matter their lifestyle, situation or demons. He didn’t pass judgement on anyone. Jesus simply loved. He came to take barriers down.

These days it seems that people are feeling more that we are in the end times and some have even predicted when Jesus will physically return. But we are reminded in scripture that we do not know the day nor the hour of His return.  Yet, we must remember we DO encounter Jesus every day. He reminds us of this in Matthew 25:37:40

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry and you, or thirsty and give you 

something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes to clothe you?

When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you? ‘ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you , whatever you did for one of the least

of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

In other words, Jesus was telling us to put our love for Him into action. In a hurting world, isn’t it about time we began to take down fences just as the nuns did in this movie? Isn’t it about time we put the word Christian in action making it a verb? Is your love for Christ a noun or verb?

walking

The other day I was going through some old files and I came across this prayer I received on email many years ago. I do not know the author but it says it all when it comes to putting our Christian faith into action.

Heavenly Father:

Help us to remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic

last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day

and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework,

do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed disinterested young man

who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old student,

balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting

his student loan for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot 

every day (who really ought to get a job) is a slave to addictions that we can only 

imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoying slowly through

the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring

this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week,

this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, 

Remind us each day that all the gifts you give us, the greatest is love. It

is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to

just those who are close to us, but to ALL humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to

forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

Working for God on earth doesn’t pay much…but His retirement plan is out of this world!!

How about it? As Christians, may those we encounter each day see that Christian is a word in action!

Blessings

 

An Invitation

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come follow me”, Jesus said; “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed Him.  

Matthew 4:18-20

memory lane

A couple of weeks ago Jim and I went to his home church to worship with his family. As the service began, the minister did his greeting and in his greeting he shared this thought: “When we invite someone to church, we are asking them to be part of God’s family and to join us on the journey to heaven.”   I loved this statement and it made my heart smile.

walking

Have you ever taken a trip with a group of friends? If you have, you probably experienced lots of laughter, fellowship, maybe a sing-a-long or two, and even some tears along the way. Yet, no matter the conditions, the ups and the downs, in the end, you would not trade that memory for anything in the world. You were glad you made the trip and may have even gotten to know someone a little better as you traveled together.  Not only did you get to know someone a little better but if your heart was opened, you probably learned a little more about yourself. You learned things of where you may need to ease up on or things you need to focus on more.

people

The spiritual journey is very much the same as taking a trip with a group of friends. In this journey, you fellowship with others, you laugh together, cry together, and even may get upset with one another from time to time. Yet, along the way you learn more about the person you are walking with and little more about yourself. Thus, the end result is you are day by day walking closer with the Lord.

walking with others

People are in different places in their spiritual journey and some have not even begun to plan for that journey. It is the responsibility as Christians that they not only keep walking daily with Christ in their journey but to be in tuned to those God places in their path’s and to meet them where they are at on their journey. If they are not even at the starting phase of their journey, people need to reach out a hand of grace and unconditional love and let the person know that no matter what they are welcomed on the journey. Then, just start walking with them from where they are at and before you know it they are walking along growing in their faith. As they grow, you grow, too.

There are also times when you are on your journey you may see someone who is a little further along than you.  Please know that is okay and that person will stop and come back  and meet you where you are at and will walk with along with you. In this stopping and going back to meet you where you are at, they are demonstrating all the more God’s grace and love. The end result is still the same. Faith gets a little stronger and everyone is still heading for the same destination.

journey

In the days ahead of walking on your journey, invite others to walk with you and journey with you through this world. Just remember, that our journey is much like a race, we don’t all get to the finish line at the same time but we can help one another along the way.  Invite someone on the journey. As the saying goes; “the more the merrier!”

 

Just Have To Share

"The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart." Psalm 19:8

“The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.” Psalm 19:8

This morning as I was catching up on Facebook,  I came across this video. There is no need to say anything about it because the video says it all

My prayer for you today and throughout the Christmastide is that you experience the wonders and joy of God’s love in all of your Christmas celebrations.

Christmas Blessings-

Christmas Resolutions

christmas 2007

Since we are now in the midst of the Christmas Season, we know that the New Year is not too far away. It is on New Year’s Eve when we make those resolutions that we soon break within the first few weeks of January.  Instead of making New Year’s resolutions this year, why not make Christmas resolutions?

The Advent Season is a time of preparing our hearts and minds for the Christ-child. As we make these preparations, why don’t we take time out and evaluate our walk with Christ.  In this evaluation process, think about our daily walk with Christ. Where can we improve in the upcoming year? Think about our witness to a non-believing world. Are we a true witness for Christ? How do our priorities in life measure up? Do we put God first in ALL that we do?

On Christmas Eve, we will have made our evaluations/resolutions.  On this particular night we will be celebrating the birth of the Christ-child. As with any celebration, gifts are brought and given to the honoree. This year, let’s place these changes that we want to make  for the new year as our gifts to the Christ child. Then, allow the Christ-child to lead us through the new year.

The Table Is Set

The Table Is Set

For us Southern Belles, not only is getting the tree and fireplace mantle in perfect shape but getting the dinning room table is at the top of list in what absolutely has to be done at Christmas.  For me, candles are essential when setting the table not only at Christmas but year round. Having candles on the table holds meaning for me.

My grandfather on my dad’s side was a retired Army Colonel. When we visited my grandparents’ home, Mom would always make sure we were brushed up on our manners especially before going to the dinner table. Dinner at Papa Hill’s house was an event every night. The good china and silver were used. And, there were always candles on the table that were lit before we came to the table.  No one sat down until Papa Hill took his seat at the head of the dinner table As a teen I would roll my eyes and think; “why can’t we just use the everyday dishes?” I would think this because I knew I would be the one helping after dinner hand  washing all the china and silver and putting it all away.

antique photo album

Over the years in my adulthood, I have reminisced on those dinner affairs and their true meaning. For Papa, dinner with his family was special to him. He cherished having his family around the table for not only a meal but for a visit.  Many a story and tale were shared around the table as we savored the pot roast, mashed potatoes  green beans and apple pie.  Grandmother had so lovingly prepared.  Along with no one sitting until Papa sat, no one got up until they were properly excused by an adult at the table.

memory lane

As I reminisce about dinner with Papa and once I had been properly excused from the table,  I also remember being  in the kitchen with Grandmother up to my elbows in suds helping her wash the china and silver. It was those moments in the kitchen where Grandmother would not say a lot but here and there she would gently and lovingly smile and give you a little wink. She was a quiet lady with little to say but her smiles and winks said it all. You knew all was right in the world.

One evening in May, 2002 I stood by my Grandfather’s bedside just a little before mid night. Jim and I had volunteered to take the night shift of staying up with him at the hospital. From the looks of things, we had a pretty good idea that Jim and I would not be there all night.  Late in the night, Jim sat by Papa’s side checking vitals until Jim noticed Papa’s breaths were getting further  apart.  As these breaths were getting shallow, I came over and took Papa by the hand.  While holding tight to his hand, I looked at him and thanked him for all the cherished memories he had given us around the table that was always beautifully set with linens and candles.  Then, I said “Papa, the table is now set for you. God has the candles lit and He has your place ready for you to take your seat at His banquet table. ” A few seconds later, Papa joined Jesus at the great banquet table.

banquet table in heaven

The table is set. It is Christmas. The candles, fine linens and china are on the table. A meal will be prepared and the candles will be lit where new memories will be made and old stories shared.  As I light the candles, I will not only remember my loving grandparents who showed by example that we are all special but I will also be reminded that Christ is and has always been the center of our family.

How about you? Is your table set? If you haven’t already, add some candles to your table. Let your family know how special they are and remind them that Christ is the center of your home by lighting the candles.  Sit around the table and make memories and share old stories. The teenagers may roll their eyes a little but let them roll. One day, they will be thankful that they have such warm memories.

This post is dedicated in loving memory of  Col. Carl R. Hill, Sr and Virginia Louise Hill

Merry Christmas!

 

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