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Our Christmas Blessing

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Last week on Christmas Eve, I received a phone call from one of our octogenarian friends. He and his wife wanted to come by for a visit, and I excitedly said yes.

He was called to the ministry in South Africa 51 years ago, and this couple has served on that continent and in the US. She is an expert in all things created with a needle, and he is a teacher of the Word. I truly love to listen to their British accents and hear their usage of uncommon British terms. Their smiles are contagious, and they greet all with love and friendship. Sharing a cup of tea and cookies with them in their home has been a treat for us.

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Listening to their stories of how our Lord has led and blessed them is a journey of faith and bent knees.

When Ed arrived at our home, Mirth wasn’t with him. Unfortunately her legs were giving her trouble that afternoon. I served coffee, rather than tea, and some peach cookies made in Charleston. Our conversation drifted from the present to the past and back again, led by this man, called by God to preach His word. He told us about growing up in Africa and shared a taste of the diverse communities there. (John and I both love history, and this was all new to us. Ed painted pictures of a world completely foreign to both of us.)

Then he said he felt led to pray, and Ed prayed a prayer of blessing over John and me as a couple. As John and I held hands, as we have always done when praying, my husband’s grip tightened on mine. Ed asked God for strength for us to continue to lead the Christian lives we had been called to. He prayed for our discernment in following God’s call. He recognized our love for the Lord and blessed us for our commitment.

For John and me, it was a time of grace and bending of the knee once again to live a life of obedience and faith. What a Christmas gift to us as a couple! Individually, we have both been prayed for by friends, but not since our wedding, 37 years ago, have we been prayed for as a couple. It will be a Christmas Eve we never forget.

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In Colossians 1:9-12 is a prayer of blessing.

We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light.

These words echo much of what Ed spoke over us last Saturday, and the words are strong for those “who live in the light.”

As we all look toward 2017, I pray that we will seek our Father’s wisdom an share it with those around us and let “our lives shine before men that they will see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.

One of my two best friends died unexpectedly in August. The scripture she share on her notes and cards was always the same. By word or by deed, it is the blessing I am thankful for today.

“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26

Happy New Year!


Yesterday John and I went to lunch. The quiet turned to many muted conversations as the restaurant traffic increased. As we finished, an elderly father and his son sat down next to us.

The gray-haired father used a cane to steady himself, but he still was moving on his own steam. His middle aged son paid close attention to his movements.

The son read the menu, obviously leaving out items that his father wouldn’t be interested in, and the older man made his choices. When the waitress came to take their orders, the son shared their choices.

Both looked around the room, as if taking it all in. There was little conversation, but they were together and sitting opposite each other.

Their presence next to us gave John and I moments of reflection. Both of us remembered times when we took our parents out to eat and shared those memories with each other.

When we got up to leave, I felt compelled to speak to the son. You readers, that know me well, probably realized that I was a bit out of my element with this, because my thoughts are mostly silent musings. But this situation was one of those times when I couldn’t help myself.

I told the son that they were blessed to be having lunch together. He politely smiled. There is no telling what he thought, as we walked away. But I heard him repeat my words to his father.

Maybe he knew that it was a time to treasure, because those moments of breaking bread together would soon not be. We were glad to see them enjoying time together that we can no longer enjoy with our parents.

Whatever the reason for this occurrence, the warm feelings of blessed memories was a good thing for us. Maybe my words of encouragement and recognition of a special time of sharing gave them something else to ponder. I have never felt comfortable speaking to strangers, but perhaps I will allow my heart to speak aloud more now.

“I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.” Maya Angelou throw out a challenge with her words.