There have been a few times in my life when it seems as if time stopped. When I realized
One such memory was when I decided to stop at the tea room in a favorite department store after Stephanie's well baby checkup. She laid back all cozy in her stroller as "we" walked through the china department and the housewares department and the book department... sigh. Then we wrapped up our outing at the tea room. No wonder she inherited my love of decorating, tea things, and books.
But there was something special about that day. As if God Himself reached down and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I felt the presence of Heaven that day.
Another unusual instance was as we were driving from Iowa on the Interstate, returning home for Easter. First to my mother and stepfather's house and then on to the in-laws for the actual Easter dinner. I think Christopher was about two years old and Stephanie in her early teens at the time. I was listening to a special presentation on the Moody Channel out of Chicago that was being broadcast from Jerusalem.
Now, I cannot tell you why this affected me so much that over twenty years later it brings back the same feeling as that day in the car on the Interstate... but for some reason I had an overwhelming understanding of the world wide Body of Christ. I don't recall having it before in such a way as I did in the car that day. It just struck me that we were listening to brothers in Christ... talking from the City of David... to my little family as we drove through Illinois.
Amazing. The wonder of it all. That each of us who have made Jesus our Savior can call each other Family.
There have been other moments and various days in which I felt His presence but the most magical moments... when I felt I was in a Christmas snow globe... was the evening my husband and I were Christmas shopping together in Downtown Holland, Michigan.
Stephanie was just old enough to leave alone for a couple of hours, having a friend over to keep her company. There was a gentle lake affect snow falling and the quaint downtown section looked like old Europe with its' cobblestone streets and seasonal window displays. Walking the sidewalks with the snow falling so beautifully, shopping favorite shops for just the right gift, stopping at the children's book store for one or two surprises... I knew there would be few evenings like this.
It felt as if He was giving me a Christmas gift in the form of a memory I would hold forever. I think that was our last Christmas in Holland. The town had already grown a great deal since we had moved there so many years earlier and today it is definitely not as quaint. Most of our special shops no longer exist, not since the mall was built about the same time we moved away.
I think He knows we need those moments of Serendipity. When in the midst of the fog we find ourselves in at times, when this old world doesn't seem to make much sense... He provides something special out of the very ordinary events of our lives.
It makes me wonder what Heaven will be like. When evil will not exist and we will live in bodies which do not lean toward our sinful natures. Yes, even Midwestern Grandmothers can let their dark side show at times. The Holy Spirit has done wonders over the year but within... oh, my friends... that two year old that stomps their feet wanting their own way still exists to my dismay.
During this Season of Sparkle, I have been pondering all that is good. I've been thinking of my "word" for 2016. What I feel God wants me to write about. Where He has been leading my reading.
I think more than anything, I want His presence. Just as I have sensed it in the midst of those normal days... shopping with a baby, Christmas shopping in a Winter Wonderland, driving through a Midwestern state listening to Jesus being proclaimed far away. There have been other times when He surprised me with such a strong presence. But those three were quite amazing. Perhaps because I didn't expect them.
I have been thinking once again of the difference between Christianity and all other religions. Our God came down to us. He conquered death. He took the keys of the Kingdom back to the Father. He walks with us. He says if we ask for the forgiveness of sins and we follow Him as Lord... we have the assurance of Heaven.
This week, as we draw nearer to the celebration of His birth, let us cozy up to the light of the Christmas tree... and ponder how His coming changed the world... our every day living... and our anticipation of That Day we go to be with Him.