On Friday night I read to Marky from Ann Voskamp's book, "Unwrapping the Greatest Gift." The Scripture passage on Friday evening was from Ruth 1: 6-9, 16...the story of Ruth and Naomi. The familiar story of Ruth and her family who were starving and moved to live among people who had food, but also had false gods. Naomi's husband died and later both of her sons married and then they too died.
Naomi was bitter and decided she needed to return to her homeland and both of her daughters-in-law decided to go with her. Enroute she told them both they should go back to their people...one chose to listen and go back to her family, but Ruth said: "Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God."
Ruth began harvesting wheat from a man named Boaz, who after hearing Ruth's story offered to help her. He ended up buying back Naomi's land and marrying Ruth. They ended up having a son and from that lineage Jesus would one day come.
So often in life we fail to see miracles that happen right before our eyes. All the little things that happened in this story ended up being part of the greatest story. So often, we let the pressures of this world and the expectations that others place on us rob us of the joy and peace that is meant to fill this season.
This is the first time in 44 years of married life that I have not decorated our home for Christmas. My mother went home to be with Jesus on November 20th, then we went to TN over Thanksgiving week and finally I was sick with bronchitis for over a week...I just wasn't up to it. And no, maybe it does not fit in with the world's manufactured idea of what Christmas should look like, but in my heart I have peace and I am happy to celebrate the real meaning of the season.
The real peace which should be Christmas isn't in the decorations that could beautify my home...it is a peace that comes from knowing the God who loves me and is slowly showing me the everyday miracles that come when I open my eyes to the little things He does each and every day to show me His love.
The real peace comes from the God who whispers to me on sleepless nights, "I love you, you are my beloved daughter." Real peace has come when I bring all of my broken pieces to Him and believe He can put it all back together again.
The biggest and best presents cannot be found under a tree. The greatest gift of all is the One who laid on a tree for each one of us. Jesus...who came as a babe in a manger and suffered and died on a cross so we could have His peace, His unfailing love.
As I sit here and reflect I am so thankful for the miracles that have occured in our family this year. I am filled with gratitude for answered prayers, especially the prayers of a little boy whose heart is so full of love this Christmas season and so very thankful. I am thankful for the answered prayer of my mother on her deathbed accepting Jesus' death on the cross and knowing she now lives in the glory of His presence. I am thankful for the miracle of my sweet husband having better eyesight than he has ever had and grateful to Dr. Joel Hunter who skillfully performed his surgery.
So very thankful for His presence and for His peace...how can you keep your eyes open to notice all that God is doing in your life and in the lives of those you love?