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My Biggest Christmas Ever!

Laughter is breaking out.  I hear the loud, and the muffled sounds of my friends, family, and readers snickering…and yes, even laughing out loud.  “Of course she would say that”, one voice in my head articulates the imitation of a dear friend of mine.  And yes, of course, I would say that.  This is going to be my biggest Christmas ever.  I have never hidden it.  I love Big.  

I have tried, but seldom find a reason to do anything small.  Dresses should ruffle, hair should poof, and trees at Christmas should reach the ceiling.  Cookies and cakes should drip with frosting, and if one candle scents up the room…just imagine what two could do.  I guess part of that logic came from my dad.  While he was building onto our childhood house, he would say, “If one nail holds her in place, think of how secure two would make her.”  Friends of his laughed and said the addition would rust long before it blew down.  And… even my favorite choir director in high school influenced me as he taught with the phrase, “Sing out…if you’re going to be wrong, at least be wrong in a loud, full voice.”  So laugh as you may, I am okay with my philosophy of living big.

When we were replacing the Christmas decorations after our fire, I decided to buy the pre-lit and pre-decorated kind.  They were so beautiful.  They were filled with brightness and sparkle…right in the box.  I justified the price because I would never have to buy anything again.  Everything needed for these wreaths and garlands was already provided…so I would not have to invest in ribbon, or lights, or bulbs, or berries.  Looking back now, I think I must have allowed myself such a decision because I was truly exhausted from making so many decisions.  

Starting over is hard.  And, besides…one thing was really as good as the next, because I didn’t want anything new.  I wanted what I had had…what was mine, what was memorable, what was homemade, what was inherited.  Many of the items had been passed down to me from those who had now been gone a very long time. And each time I carefully unpacked one of those passed down treasures…I also unpacked a beautiful memory of when and who had shared it with me.  But there was no possibility of some replacements…and no time for the remaking of so many things  So there I stood in the middle of a Christmas isle…in the middle of a thousand things…deciding.  And I decided to try something new...to buy pre-decorated Christmas greenery…and be done with the deciding.

But it didn’t take.  Even the first year when hanging them, I sort of thought they needed a little something…but loved their convenience and just squinted as I decided they would be fine.   The next year, before I even got out the boxes, I found myself standing in the same isle of my favorite Hobby Lobby choosing again.  “Just a little extra ribbon” I said to myself.  “Why in the world didn’t they put ribbon on that garland”?  And then I answered myself too, “Probably because each person would want to choose their own extras.”  So I decided on the perfect deep-colored rich-textured brocaded satin…with trimmings of antique lace.  What else would you expect from someone who should have been born a century ago?  

The second year I found myself deciding again.  Maybe the greenery had flattened out in the last couple of storage years.  Not sure, but something was needed.  So I picked out some golden sparkling branches to add here and there…and I got enough to add to the tree…so as to blend the room in decoration scale.  On my way out the door, I saw red birds with long beaded tails.  They reminded me so much of my Granny’s Christmas birds that I picked up just a few.  (Good thing they were on huge discount after Christmas…because I noticed that the ones I had arranged on the mantel needed a flock of friends here and there for the next year.)  

Last year, I spent my modest Christmas decorations budget on beautiful glass and beaded bulbs and iced berries.  They were a beautiful dark red color addition.  This year there was no budget, and, because now there was more red than green in my pre-decorated greenery…and our tall pine trees did need trimmed up a bit, I found myself standing in the grove of trees deciding if the added branches would be enough or if I should add the cones as well.  The branches were just enough.  And the added scent was amazing.  However, the kids had so much fun standing on each other’s shoulders to pick the pine cones…that I decided to gather them up as well.  The cones are in a sack in the downstairs hall awaiting their new assignment.  I am still thinking on this. 

This morning I was reading Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament.  I was really trying to find some other information, but got sidetracked and ended up with a whisper from the Lord.  “Why are you so timid?  Where is your faith?”  Lately, I have been pretty proud of myself in the faith area because of the huge trials we have been battling, so I blew by the whispered reading of those words and continued to search.  “Hush, be still”, He said in the next verses when speaking to the wind.  And the authority in that phrase haunted me.  Next there was “Come out of that man, you unclean spirit.”  And, of course…the spirit obeyed, after loudly testifying to the deity of Christ, “You Jesus, Son of the Most High God.”  Then my original search came to a halt.  

Sometimes, you see, it takes me a few minutes to get off my track and see the Lord’s.  So, I tried desperately to focus more on the whispering.  I flushed out everything of my day that filling my mind, I praised and I prayed and then I stopped completely and asked the Holy Spirit to help me see what I should be seeing.  I have been down this road before and this time I didn’t want to miss out on anything from the start.  I kept reading…and there in the next passage were these words.  “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”  And I sat there dumbfounded. “What? I said aloud. Really Lord, What?”

And I shook my head for lack of connectivity.  For the One who had created me, and who has lived with me for so long, and who knows exactly how little I know…sometimes God sure has a much larger expectation of my understanding of things than I have ever offered proof of.  So, I prayed…and prayed…and prayed.  And I sat with a cup of overly hot tea starring into the beautifully overly decorated, pre-decorated, greenery on the mantel…and this is what I thought.  Faith, the power of God within us, and Christmas…yes Christmas, are all things that always need a little more.  

Faith is beautiful in its most simple form.  But as life continues, and the many trials and situations occur, our faith is tested.  Could I ever be the woman brave enough to touch the hem of His garment?  Just as He walked by?  Without His permission?  Could I faithfully believe that everything I had only heard about…His love and His power of healing…were really true?  Could I reach out?  I would like to think so, but I’m not so sure. Sometimes…especially after many of life’s difficulties, we all look back at our faith more deeply, more intensely, and see where it should have certainly glittered a little more.  So the next time we stand against the raging forces, and we believe in spite of ourselves…and we become stronger, and we add.  And our additions sparkle in all the right spiritual places.

Our authority over things of this earth usually starts pretty bare.  We find it hard to believe that we actually have the power of the Lord living within us and therefore have the authority to bind and loose in His name and for His sake.  I know me.  I would never ask…I mean tell, the waves to hush and be still.  And If I were to walk up upon a young man who I could plainly see was disturbed by an evil spirit within…my first instinct would not be to call on the name of the Lord and call out that evil.  My most likely first instinct would be to run.  And yet, if we were to act on the authority given to us and show the world the power of God in these very difficult spiritual situations, wouldn’t our confidence of His authority within us, be increased?  And regarding the glorification of these wonders…wouldn’t we seriously add so much more to the beauty of our testimony regarding His power and authority? The depth and texture of my life’s witness would be so much more dimensional and real.

And Christmas…well, what about Christmas?  And as I thought about the three in comparison…faith, power, and Christmas…my heart lightened at the thought.  Christmas…I could do.  This is one I truly think I can take on.  I’m not talking about the usual decorations and parties and treats.  Neither am I talking about the same ole gifts and wrappings and tinsel.  I’m talking about making my Christmas as BIG as it possibly can be.  I’m talking about taking out the old ways of Christmas  that I store away each year…looking at where they are flat and where some sparkle needs to be added.  I’m talking about searching the scripture and praying for some ideas.  Then standing before the Lord and making a decision of what to add this year. 
Maybe He wants you to add a party for those people at the school whom you meet with for every game, but have never shared your faith with.  Complete with a birthday cake and some little wrapped gifts that plant the seeds of wonder…of wondering.

Maybe He wants you to wrap all your presents in brown grocery sack paper and take the money you saved on wrapping paper to the lady down the block…and He needs you to do it three days before Christmas so she can buy her own kids a present of her own choosing. 

Maybe He wants you to write out the story of how Christ came to be your Lord and slip it in every…yes every (even the ones that go to work) card you send this year with a statement of introduction that says, “there is nothing I want more for you this Christmas than to introduce you to the best thing that ever happened to me.”  

Maybe He just wants you to stop.  Stop doing all the traditional things you have been doing each year and spend some time…some quality time…with Him on His birthday.
I’m not very smart…never have been.  Usually I spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what I am thinking.  But this one I get.  
Faith should be challenged and should continue to grow…it is never enough…we must add.  

The authority of God within us should be used at His command and for His glory, adding to our testimony…it is never enough…we must add.  

Christmas is a really big deal…it is never enough…we must add.  And we, as believers should not be satisfied with a pre-decided Christmas ways.  This is the Lord’s Birthday; the birth of the Day of Our Salvation.

So, with 19 days left before His birthday…I’m going to sit down today and take notes while He makes out HIS Birthday Wish List. Then, I’m going to put it in high gear and pull off the best Christmas season of all times…for me, and those of my house…according to His list.  Then I’m going to write a note of reminder for myself and tape it to my pre-decorated mantel greenery box.   And, I’m going to remember to ask Him each year what He would like to do…what He would like to add to His Birthday Celebration each year.

Yep; This is going to be my biggest Christmas ever!  I know it definitely is not the same idea that the world is thinking when they hear the word “Big”. But as Believers, as Christians, this Christ-centered celebration certainly makes sense…and I hope the added sparkle is going to catch some attention…for Him.

In obedience
Rhonda D. Loucks

​​​​Sometimes, you see, it takes me a few minutes to get off my track and see the Lord’s.  So, I tried desperately to focus more on the whispering.  I flushed out everything of my day that filling my mind, I praised and I prayed and then I stopped completely and asked the Holy Spirit to help me see what I should be seeing.  I have been down this road before and this time I didn’t want to miss out on anything from the start.  I kept reading…and there in the next passage were these words.  “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”  And I sat there dumbfounded. “What? I said aloud. Really Lord, What?”

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My Biggest Christmas Ever