Thank heaven for a real Friday off!
Well, what I meant to say was thank heaven for a Friday that doesn't involve any scheduled church activity. Now I can focus on cleaning the house for upcoming church gatherings and Frank can reclaim the yard.
We've lost quite a few plants to this unseasonable freeze. His layered look this morning seemed totally inappropriate for the global warming we are supposedly experiencing. Smile.
I thought it might be fun to share some of our favorite Christmas memories with you over the next few days. We've actually had several Christmas "miracles" take place through the years. And every time we tell these stories, people seem to be encouraged.
Here's a favorite.
When we moved from Asheville, NC to the coast (near Myrtle Beach, SC) to pioneer a church, our girls were very little. Meagan was only five.
The church, which started with thirteen people, was still in the infancy stage our first Christmas in Ocean Isle Beach. Money was extremely tight and everyone was a bit sad for various reasons.
We had lived in the mountains for about twelve years; the girls were all born in Asheville. So not only were we missing friends that felt like family, we were also missing the landscape and we knew there would certainly be no snow that close to the ocean.
Frank and I tried our best to be upbeat and keep everyone in good spirits. In fact, that was the year we came up with the "Dollar Store Christmas" idea. It worked like this.
Because we home schooled at the time, we chose a weekday and had a special breakfast all together. Then Dad and I ceremoniously presented each daughter with five dollars. This seemed an exorbitant sum to our little girls.
We piled into the van and drove to town. Of course, Christmas carols were chosen and performed by all as we drove. Great entertainment!
Once we arrived at the dollar store, the real fun began. Kristin, Joy and Meagan grabbed individual baskets then started thoughtfully casing the aisles for potential gift selections.
The store was relatively small so Frank and I kept an eye on them from a distance. This only added to their feeling of independence. They would settle on a gift item then run to Mom or Dad to find out if we agreed on the appropriateness of said item.
"Don't look, Joy!"
"Turn your head, Kristin!"
"Meagan, stay where you are!"
I can hear their little girl voices ringing through the store even now and it makes me smile.
Check-out at the single register was carefully orchestrated in order to avoid even Mom and Dad seeing what treasures the girls had selected. We headed home and they scattered to hiding places throughout the house in order to wrap their presents then place them under the tree.
Dinner that night was more joyful than any we'd had in a while. The girls' excitement level was contagious. And because we would be traveling to Pensacola for Christmas Day, it was determined that our own Christmas would take place that coming Friday. Squeals of delight!
Friday finally arrived and amazingly, it was cold enough for a real fire in the hearth. Frank had it blazing by the time the girls finished breakfast and we ooo'd and ahhh'd over it's beauty.
Just as we began our normal Christmas morning traditions, it happened. A gentle snow began to fall. Snow at the beach!
We could hardly believe our eyes.
The girls ran outside, laughing and shrieking with joy! It took a while but we finally got them back in to open the few gifts we had purchased. And their eyes twinkled as the "Dollar Store Treasures" were unwrapped. You would have thought we had all shopped at Neiman Marcus!
As the last gift was opened and the paper was being gathered up, Frank noticed the snow subsiding.
"Look," one of the girls said. "The Lord knows what a tough time we've all been having and He sent snow just to make our Christmas more special. He really loves us doesn't He, Daddy?!"
Tears sprang to our eyes as Frank and I looked at one another over the tops of their little blond heads.
We spent five more winters in Ocean Isle and it never snowed another day.
That's why our family marks it as a miracle to be remembered. A special kiss sent from heaven just to say, "I know right where you are. And I'll suspend the laws of nature, if necessary, to tell you of my love."
A Christmas Miracle indeed. And be reminded, dear reader, He loves you just that much too!