By Dena Dalton
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you…”
I am partial to Christmas Eve. We attend church. We have our Christmas dinner. We stay up late watching old movies, listening to music and wrapping last minute gifts. We celebrate European traditions and sneak around putting candy outside each other’s doors in empty slippers. But the best part, the very best part, is when the house is finally quiet and I am blissful in the calm that comes knowing my loved ones are safe and resting peacefully. My grateful prayers and ardent, soulful meditations are quietly offered up to God. “If day’s cares tempt us to forget God, it is well that night’s quiet should lead us to remember him. We see best in the dark if we there see God best.”
“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.” Theologian John Gill wrote: “Whether David is writing about the wings of the cherubim stretched out over the mercy-seat, between which God was said to dwell; or to the wings of a bird, under which her helpless young ones have shelter, in all life’s dangers and difficulties we place ourselves under God’s protection.”
According to the NIV Study Bible: “The psalmist’s night meditations nurture his longing for God.” He waits for the morning trusting that God will watch over His people, provide for and protect them. Understanding the metaphors in scripture we know that darkness and light have many meanings. We have all experienced the many meanings of both. I choose to see light in the darkness. I look forward to my Christmas Eve meditation. During this Advent Season may you find hope, safety and peaceful rest in the protecting power and mercy of God.
By Bob Flynn
We were a farm family in West Texas. We made our Santa Claus list from catalogs—Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, Bella Hess. There was no TV or Santas in stores. Santa came to our two-room school house once. He scared us so that he was never invited back.
My brother, sister and I stood our boots before the radiant gas heater that kept the house toasty for up to five feet. When Mother opened the oven door to baste the turkey, we ran to warm our hands. Then we emptied oranges, nuts and candy from our boots to put our cold feet in them.
I had asked Santa for a teddy bear. There was no bear of no kind under the tree. Mother, seeing my tears, said, “Maybe Santa dropped it.” What kind of Santa was that? Spilling presents and breaking hearts?
Mother opened the door and snow covered the porch. There were boot prints in the snow. And my teddy bear. I picked it up but it was cold and wet. Santa had ruined it. Mother said, “I’ll put it in the oven to dry.”
I was still in my dropseat longhandles and my boots were cold but I followed the tracks until I saw they went to the barn. Dad must have left the barn open so the deer could warm and the toys wouldn’t get wet.
I went inside to stand by the stove and watch my bear dry. Anybody could drop a bear in the snow. Probably one of the deer had knocked it out of Santa’s bag. Reindeer were like that.
Mother handed me the bear. It had a bald spot but I held it tight. Santa almost ruined my bear. He would disappoint me again. But there were boot prints in the snow.
By Karen Calhoun
My dad pastored small Texas Baptist churches. When I was eight, I had already lived in Brownwood, Fort Worth, Big Spring, Cohoma, Hico, Stephenville, Talpa and Bangs. Making and keeping friends was impossible — we were always moving!
In third grade at Bangs, Donna asked me to come and swing with her friends at recess. I knew she was the most popular girl. Happily, I felt “in” and joined them for several days. Then one day, I went out to those swings, but Donna and her friends were not there. I looked up. They were swinging at the edge of the school yard…without me. I walked home in despair. I told Mother what had happened. She had no comforting words for me. Her dad had pastored small Texas Methodist churches, and I later learned she had moved more than me.
In mining my own journey, I began to put together a new truth: I learned that school yard cliques of eight-year-olds is typical behavior. Also my thirst for hope led me to Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1 — “The Messiah comes alongside us when we go through hard times and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
Are you going through hard times? Do you need hope? Before you know it, the Messiah will bring someone alongside you who can be there for you just as God was there for them.
We have the chance to learn that better every year in Advent. The Messiah is born again in your heart today because you made room!