I'm aware that they did not feel compelled to make the Auburndale Christmas Parade a lead story on the national news, so I'm just letting you know.
It just so happens that this year, Centerstate Bank (where Joy works) was chosen as Grand Marshall. So our very own daughter, Alicia Joy Hawley Schreck - and "Baby Schreck"- led the parade atop an antique fire engine. She did an excellent job of throwing candy, looking lovely, greeting the crowd with the traditional princess wave.
We are even enjoying a serious cold snap here which gave us the opportunity to wear coats, sweatshirts, scarves and drink hot chocolate. Doesn't get much better than that.
John had his picture made sitting in the middle of Havendale Bvld. (The six lane boulevard that the city closed for the parade. Yes, six lanes. I told you this was big stuff! Smile.)
Afterward, everyone came to our house for a bowl of homemade vegetable soup. My brother's family joined us and we all sat around the table laughing, telling stories, teasing. By that time, I was too tired to contribute; but I did sit back with a big silly grin on my face - just loving the moment.
It was completely impromptu. Unplanned. Unscripted. Uncomplicated.
My house was messy, I didn't have saltines or soda, the glasses didn't match, we passed out paper towels for napkins and had to use a couple of folding chairs.....but Martha Stewart has never hosted a more completely perfect evening.
This morning I read the classic verses which detail the benchmarks of perfect love found in I John 4:
- "This is love; not that we loved God but that He loved us."
- "...since God loved us, we also ought to love one another."
- "There is no fear in love...perfect love drives out fear."
- "We love because He first loved us"
- "...let us love one another for love comes from God."
We tend to set unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others. When things don't follow our "script" or when perfection eludes us, it's easy to become disappointed, frustrated or even depressed.
But the kind of love found in I John sets us free from unrealistic expectations. It also drives out fears, like:
- fear of being overlooked
- fear of being taken for granted
- fear of being judged
- fear of being taken advantage of; and so on.
You, dear reader, are loved this day with a perfect, unrelenting love! Wrap yourself in the warmth of that truth and march into this Christmas season knowing that you can afford to love lavishly because He first loved us!