On the Fourth Day of Christmas my true friend gave to me...
The Gift of Mothers…
A CHRISTMAS THOUGHT FOR THE DAY… “The Blessing of Mothers”
“God, You chose a lowly handmaiden to be the Mother of Jesus. How confused she must have felt, wondering what others might think, and wondering what kind of special Child was growing in her womb. What were her thoughts as she rode on the donkey toward Bethlehem? What anxieties did she endure when she learned there was no room in the inn? What was in her heart as she wrapped her newborn Babe in swaddling clothes? God, thank you for the blessings of motherhood . . . for mothers who go through so much physical trauma to give birth . . . for mothers who lovingly feed and clothe and raise their children . . . for mothers who show love, and teach their children to love You. Thank You for giving the gift of life and love through mothers. And thank You especially for Mary, who loved and trusted You, and who bore our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Compliments of Prayers At Work, December 24, 2013
I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY… “’Tis Better to Give”
"A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."
I knew I was not supposed to be quite so excited. I was too old for that. At age eleven, the oldest and my mom’s “grown up” girl, I had to keep my cool. I was in middle school after all. But every chance I got, when I was alone, I checked each present under the tree. I read every tag and felt every package, guessing at the contents within. I had examined each gift so often that I could tell which present went to which person without even looking at the tags.
It had been a tough year for my family. Whenever my mom looked over at the tree and scattered presents, she would sigh and warn us, “There won’t be as much for Christmas this year. Try not to be disappointed.” Christmas had traditionally been a time for my parents to spoil us. In years past, the presents would pile up and spill out from under the tree, taking over the living room. I had heard the phrase “giving is better than receiving,” but thought that whoever had said that must have been out of their mind. Getting presents was the whole point! It was the reason I couldn’t get to sleep on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas morning, we eagerly waited in the hallway until Dad told us everything was ready. We rushed into the living room and let the wrapping paper fly. We made weak attempts to wait and watch while other family members opened their presents, but as the time passed we lost our self-control.
“Here’s another one for you,” said Mom as she handed me a package. I looked at it, confused. Having spent so much time examining the presents before Christmas, I recognized this one. But it had not been mine. It was my mom’s. A new label had been put on it, with my name written in my mother’s handwriting.
“Mom, I can’t…”
I was stopped by my mother’s eager, joyful look—a look I could not really understand. “Let’s see what it is, honey. Hurry and open it.”
It was a blow dryer. Though this may seem but a simple gift, to me it was so much more. Being an eleven-year-old girl, I was stunned. In my world, where receiving outweighed giving by light years, my mom’s act of selflessness was incomprehensible. It was a huge act. Tears filled my eyes and I thought in disbelief about how much my mom must love me to give up her Christmas so I could have a few more presents.
I have always remembered that Christmas fondly. It had such an impact on me. As an adult with children in my life whom I adore, I can now understand my mom’s actions. I see how she was not “giving up her Christmas” as I had thought, but was finding an even greater joy in her Christmas because giving truly is better than receiving. My mom’s simple act meant the world to me.
—Jennifer Yardley Barney
YOUR MIRTHFUL MOMENT OF THE DAY...
Enjoy six fun alternative titles to well-known Christmas carols supplied by Eilene Green…
1. Eight PM to six AM without noise - Silent Night
2. Minuscule hamlet in the Near East - Oh Little town of Bethlehem
3. Adorn the vestibule Deck the Halls
4. Exuberance directed to the planet - Joy to the World
5. Listen, aerial spirits announcing - Hark the Herald Angels Sing
6. Yonder in the haystack - Away in a Manger
YOUR YOUTUBE CHRISTMAS MOMENT YOUR MIRTHFUL MOMENT OF THE DAY...
Enjoy Peter Hollens’s a cappella rendition of “Mary Did You Know.” What a perfect way to ring in the Christmas season!
You can find the archived messages from this year’s series on my website at http://terrypaulson.com/christmas.shtml/. More tomorrow...as we prepare for His coming!
Your Host for this Year's Journey....