Lying awake on Christmas morning, 2016, I began to pray again, thanking God for the blessing of this day. Emotions flowing pretty quickly, I thanked Him for the birth of Jesus! I thanked Him for the great story of Christmas. I thanked Him for an immaculate conception that only God could create. I thanked Him for the beauty of what that meant to this Earth; the beauty of what that meant to His people back then; the beauty of what it means today; the beauty of what it should always mean to His children, as we travel this journey called life. I prayed in hopes that we would not forget this, as we went about our day of gift-giving and fellowshipping with family—That we would constantly, consistently and often remember why we celebrate—The real meaning of this beautiful Christmas Day and The Christmas Story.
Still praying, I thanked Him for allowing me to awake to yet another Christmas morning. I thanked Him for the blessing of having my daughter and her fiancé in the house on this Sunday. I thanked Him for my Khloe, my family, friends, neighbors and yes, my enemies too. I thanked Him for my mother being here, still such a blessing to our family at 85 sweet years of life. My mind began to wander back to 365 days earlier when she and I, both, awoke on Christmas morning in Vidant Hospital in Greenville, after she was admitted on Christmas Eve. As I continued to pray, my thoughts swiftly reflected on the tears, the fear and the anxiety I felt trying to make the trip to Greenville from Myrtle Beach, SC, where I had been taking in a pre-Christmas vacation. Seemed that my level of thankfulness reached a new peak! My prayer was, “Thank you, God, for deliverance! Thank you God for allowing Mama to be here this morning. Lord, I thank you for keeping her! I thank you for your tender mercies in covering and healing her. Lord, I thank you, dear God! You are incredible! You are awesome! Thank you for my mama!” My prayer continued, and afterwards I just smiled 🙂 Smiled in comparing last year to now. This woman, my mother, was lying in a hospital bed on Christmas Eve 2015, but fast-forwarding to 2016, the last time I spoke with her before writing, it was after midnight, and she was still up in the kitchen preparing dishes for dinner at my sister’s house today—talking about how she enjoyed shopping with my sister and brother-in-law that day and of course had to have a story or two about her “boo.” 😉 She is simply amazing! God continues to be so good to her, and I thank Him.
As I always wait to feel a spirit moving before I write a blog, on this Christmas Sunday morning, unable to go back to sleep, I tossed and turned with, “What Is Your Christmas Story?” Lord knows I tried to shake it a few times, so that I could get a little more rest before getting the long day of activities going, which would start with worship service at WTC. I needed a little more time after a full day (yesterday) of hosting family, starting with brunch and ending with a game of Taboo that really should’ve made network TV…lol! Well, I continue to learn to step out of my will and into God’s, and this morning is another case in which apparently, it was His will for me to write and not rest. Guess what? There is a blessing in obedience—Have surely learned that more over the last year!
So, as the story of the miracle birth encircles the mind, I’m thinking, what have we birthed?? Not in reference to children, as many of us have had the blessing of parenthood, being the vessel to bring a child into this world, but what have we “birthed” into our life that is a move in the right direction or more importantly, what have we “birthed” into the lives of others? What has been delivered into our spirit, our well-being, and our lives that we are most proud of? This thing or these things that make us feel good or a little better about our relationship with God? The thing(s) that makes your spirit smile, but most importantly, we know without a doubt, that we are/were operating in the Will of God and He is pleased with you bringing this pleasantry of “good” into fruition?
I’m now thinking of a conversation that I had with a friend a couple of days ago. She took on a heart project of helping to mold the life of a potential at-risk student, while working at an elementary school many years ago. As she had two marvelous children of her own, she selflessly took on pouring into this child’s life. She mentored him. She made him feel important. She made him feel loved. She instilled in him, in how she took him everywhere with her and her family, that real love truly has no color. She meticulously did this day-in and day-out for as long as his youth years would allow. Although, as age and the complexities of maturing as a young man in this day and age became factors in the relationship continuing as it had been, with not being physically present as much, she continued to check in with him, letting him know that she loved him and cared about his WHOLE well-being. A pretty tough nugget of information could have easily severed ties with this young man, however she was relentless and refused to give up on loving and caring for him, even from afar, at times. Little did she know that she gave “birth” to a little boy, who became a young man, who certainly hasn’t done everything right (none of us have), but who is good to his core! She shared with me on this pre-Christmas day, a FaceBook post that he had written, sharing with the world what she meant to him. He shared how she didn’t give up on him and believed in him. He shared how she did this, although he was a different race. Trust me, it was an emotional, heart-wrenching post. As I reflect, I realize that she “birthed” some things with him—She gave birth to selflessness. She gave birth to dedication, despite adversity. She gave birth to love beyond color. She gave birth to pouring into the life of someone who could have failed without her help. She gave birth to a spirit of relentlessness. She gave birth to learning to continue to love and not lose. She gave birth to tears shed for a child that was not biologically her own. She gave birth to a young impressionable boy who now knows a lot more about love because she entered his life. And because of this, in this time of racial tensions throughout the nation and the world, he proved some manhood in sharing his story—what I feel was the story of his birth, as a man not afraid to express himself. It was beautifully written!
My emotions are high, as I can pour my thoughts onto this keyboard for a while about this and the impact that we should have on the lives of others. However, what I want to convey on this Christmas morning is that I am so proud of my friend. I am glad that she loved me enough to let me read The Story. I am happy that she has a Christmas story! So, because of the awesome, wonderful and powerful blessing of the great story in which we celebrate today, we all need to take a moment to reflect and answer this question, “What Is Your Christmas Story?” We all have one!
Remember, Jesus is Love and His love is an all-inclusive package—no exceptions or fine print. Create good memories, and make stories simply about Love during this holiday season and beyond. CHRISTmas really does begin with CHRIST!
Peace & CHRISTmas Blessings,