"Merry Christmas! Jesus Loves You!" In a merry time that is shrouded with grief, those words bouncing happily off the lips of my 4 year old Emma are truly beautiful. As she misses her beloved Nana, she genuinely rejoices in the faith and hope that Nana is celebrating in heaven. Her joy is contagious.
As we visited a nursing home yesterday, Emma, full of sweetness and delight, placed candy canes on the laps and in the shaky hands of surprised residents. Some, would not remember her, others lit up the moment she entered with her bouncy, golden curls and saw them, not as old or sick, but as a person worthy of love and joy. I have never seen anyone so happy to give and bless others. She truly has a gift and I pray that gift remains.
While walking through one corridor, we noticed that there was a church service going on. We did not want to disturb those attending, but the nurse assured us we could quietly give them to those sitting outside the chapel door. One man remembered Emma from a previous visit, "Hi, Emma!" He smiled and she smiled back.
Just as Emma gives her third or fourth candy cane, the minister, reading from a script in a folder, begins to say, "Teach the children about the candy cane. Teach the children that the candy cane symbolizes the shepherd's staff. Teach the children that the candy cane symbolizes the stripes of Jesus blood shed for them and the white symbolizes the purity that comes only through His forgiveness."
It was almost as if it was scripted and Emma was cast to come in on cue! Really, God!? That's pretty cool. Here is a child passing out candy canes while the minister is reading and exhorting to teach the children about the candy canes. Beautiful and unexpected. I am so thankful He lets me see His presence in our lives.
I pray that God truly touches the people we met, Linda, Josephine, Marlene, Joseph, Emma, Kay, Carlos, Oscar, the man who loves chocolate and the woman with the earrings and so many others whose name is escaping me, but God knows their name.
In a time where I struggle to remember that God is good ALL the time, I glance at Emma and Evan. Their sweet faces bring me back to that place of faith. The faith that my own mother taught me and clung to until the day she died.
I read a card a friend of mine wrote to my mother about a year ago, thanking her for a gift card and a wallet with a picture of an anchor on it. The anchor truly spoke to my friend and reminded her to keep anchored in the hope that Jesus brings through truly difficult times, and my friend has truly experienced difficult times. I pray she still glances at that anchor wallet and is reminded of the anchor of hope.
"we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." ~ Hebrews 6:18b-20
He is our Hope. My mom, Jake LaJoy, DeDe, Moses, Abraham, Rahab, Ruth, Mary, Joseph, Isaac, King David, and so many others have entered the Presence behind the veil.
Do you trust Him? My prayer has been that those around me grieving, my daddy especially, would be see His Presence in their lives, at unexpected moments and when crying out to Him.
I love you all so much. Seek His face today and I know He will be seen.
Click on the link for a beautiful song, "All I Need Is You, Lord"
When You said, 'Seek My face,'
My heart said to You, 'Your face, Lord, I will seek.'" ~ Psalm 27:8