It is 11:15 pm as I begin this post. Believe it or not, I began at 6 pm. Something very strange was going on with my computer. I began a series of scans. When all looked resolved, I began again at 10 pm; it froze. Ran another scan.
While I waited, I watched Billy Graham give what could possibly be his final message. It was good. It was about hope. And a reminder that God loves us. He’s 95 now. That’s a very long life.
What will I be telling people is most important when I’m 95? One of his grandson’s said he’d learned most about his grandfather by watching what he did, not by listening to what he said. And what he saw backed up what he heard him say.
So when I’m 95…or maybe I shouldn’t wait…I’d like people to see in me a hope…and that I live in a way that says, I believe with my whole heart, God loves me. Because, if I believe it, I’ll treat people more gently and with more compassion, since it would mean He loves them too.
I know people have mixed feelings about the holidays with all the stress and commercials and glitz. But there is something about lights that stir me at this time of year.
We used to drive into the neighborhood where we now live, and go up and down the streets to admire the lights. One house was always our favorite. I think it was because they took such care to truly represent Christmas. There were tall angels and a nativity and a star at the top of their house along with reindeer and snowmen and Santa.
It gives me hope when I see Christ’s birth acknowledged. When I pass their home and see the angels lit up and the reminder of a simple stable where He was born, it reminds me He loves me. Maybe it’s sentimental, but God can encourage me and lift my spirit anyway He sees fit.
I met the people who live in that house shortly after we moved into the neighborhood. I knew they were from Italy before I knew their names, but for some reason we still refer to them as “The Italians.”
And every year I refer to them with excitement as I did today. “The Italians started decorating for Christmas! They put up the angels!”
Every year they have it done in time for their Thanksgiving family gathering. If we have Thanksgiving at our house, it’s a tradition to walk over there after the feasting, once the football games are done, and we’ve eaten too much pie.
One year I stopped at their house the day before Thanksgiving when I saw them outside. They have a double lot that extends to the street behind them and there are little lighted paths that go through their wooded lot.
A young family from China that came for piano lessons every week, was to have Thanksgiving with us and I asked if we could walk through the paths at night. Not only did they say we could, but they watched for us that evening and invited us inside to see the train sets their Grandson had set up through their house. They made us, and a young family from China, very happy.
Simple kindness, a little encouragement, the beauty of lights hung outside during the darkest time of year…I’m glad for it, I’m grateful for it.
So, today it was the tall wooden angels put in place. I’m excited to drive by tomorrow and see what they set up next.