Happy Dia de los Magos Reyes (Day of the Magi)! I personally feel like I’ve been showered with Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. I’ve been , astonished, spoiled, surprised, loved, and leveled in the most enchanting ways through a series of fortunate events. Some were planned, others were completely spontaneous, all occurred over the last six weeks.
It may have started with our family gathering at my mom’s. Her plans to leave town from early December through the new year got us celebrating pretty early. A large and unexpected store credit gave our budget a much-needed shot of adrenaline. Gift giving is a treat beyond measure for me and God answered my bleating prayer. Who knew that the demise of my Ninja (pooping out after two splendid years) would be like rubbing a magic lamp? That store credit helped us take care of my four grand babies’ gifts and our nieces and nephews – woohoo!
Next, my hubby and I frantically cleaned house and plowed through our storage for Christmas lights and decorations for our little church soirée. Little, ha,ha, around 3o people with their kids merrily crammed into our small apartment for some potluck, champurado, desserts, hilarious games, gift exchange and “Brave” on DVD for the wee ones.
To finish on schedule, we worked late into the night hanging lights and decorating our home. It wasn’t stressful, it was fun and stress releasing. Behind the scenes, another Christmas miracle was in the works. Rick’s uncle was hospitalized, in a coma, slipping into scary, unexpected complications and undergoing several surgeries. Our lives were consumed with prayers, visits, and deepest longings for his full recovery. After about eight weeks, his progress was undeniable and his second chance – a priceless blessing – was finally at hand. Throughout that time, I was reading “Oh Holy Night…” a true story about the Lord’s impact on World War I soldiers (see below). It inspired me to keep standing in that gap between very painful circumstances and God’s omnipotent love and grace.
Meanwhile, God’s phenomenal giving was surging into a fever pitch. The day after our church party, my hubby and I used our Disneyland passes to watch a Christmas show we weren’t expecting that completely captivated our hearts. A vast ensemble of choirs delivered a powerful concert of Christmas music narrated by actor John Stamos about the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Christ the Savior. I cried, I cheered, and hugged my husband tightly as we stood there watching in awe. I especially want Disneyland execs to hear my joy filled praises over this kind of “kingdom magic.”
The next day we went to visit my son and daughter-in-law to say goodbye because they were also leaving town. They shocked us with tickets to visit to my daughter’s home in the midwest. We would all be together as a family! The next day, on 2 hours of sleep, we drove to Las Vegas where, after so much fun with our kids and more family, we caught our flight to Springfield to surprise my daughter who had no clue we were coming. The look on her face at the airport was a like a tidal wave of mirth!
We spent ten unparalleled, blissful days with a touch of snow, cuddling our four grand babies, cooking, playing games, taking pictures, laughing, and getting another surprise with an early birthday celebration. I missed our parents and other family members but I knew all was well and that made everything perfect.
The Spirit of Christmas is cherished over any holiday throughout the year. And while some may ask why that is, some are invested in keeping it alive long after the final weeks of December when families reunited – often traveling for miles – and enjoyed traditions that have bonded them for years. I personally celebrate my belief that the first thing the Christ child and the Spirit accomplished was to bring that love of family about with the unifying presence of the shepherds and the 3 kings — destroying any division of the classes and giving all the opportunity to be one Family under heaven. You’ll see more compelling evidence of this in the amazing story below. The three kings brought gifts symbolizing divinity – Gods heart of gold that paves the streets of Heaven; the fragrance of healing and holiness through frankincense – the path we all need to be on; and Myrrh to persevere through everything.
A Heart Stirring Read
Oh Holy Night: The Peace of 1914 Written by Michael Snow and Illustrated by Annie Berzovan
I highly recommend this book – especially to students from 6th grade through college. It will transport the reader to the hearts of letter writing soldiers facing death, fear, and the indomitably loving spirit of Christ in the traumatically harsh battle fields of World War I on one particular Christmas Eve. It combines historical accounts and details of the political composition of that war with the uniquely astonishing influence that only the Son of God could have on the common soldier – causing enemies to unite almost as brothers if only for less than 48 hours. I encourage everyone to read this book for both its educational and spiritual value during any time of year.