Dear Family, Friends, and Readers,
We have babies in our lives again. After nearly ten years, our great-grandchildren, two-year old Ethan, and his four-month old sister, Haley, are filling our hearts and cheering our lives as only a little child can do. They live nearly and hour and a half away, but we are still able to see them from time to time, and our granddaughter, Glory, keeps us well supplied (via e-mail) with pictures, bless her heart!
None of our children are close at hand now—Andrew nearly three hours; Josh and Charity, a good ten hours; and Leah, across the country, from us. Now Andrew and Leah are experiencing the mixed emotions of seeing their own children leave home; while both Josh and Charity’s children are either in, or nearing, their teens. Of course, this all leaves my husband and me wondering how 74 and 64 years (respectively) overtook us!
Because of our limited income—and seemingly limitless family—we have given up trying to buy Christmas gifts for them. Instead, our daily prayers for them are the love gifts we have tried to lavish upon them. I sometimes think that when someone coined the phrase, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” he or she was thinking of children, not sweethearts. Now that we as parents are more like invested observers than active participants in the lives of our children, it is our hearts and not our hands that hover over them.
My husband and I now look at one another across the room, and, thank God, we don’t see a stranger. For we have found, as dearly as we love them, it was not our children that bound us together all those years, but the love we share for Jesus Christ and one another. When our children left the nest, there were still three of us left!
As I write these words, we have family and friends for whom we are praying, who are battling a cancer that is threatening their lives. For that reason, our own sometimes debilitating maladies seem hardly worth mentioning. Suffice it to say, our testimony is that of the Psalmist: “The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness” (Psalm 41:3). We are able to report, as well, that God has supplied all our needs (and some of our wants), because of friends and loved ones who stand in the gap financially for us. For them, there are no words of gratitude that would ever suffice.
But there is another Baby in our lives, whose birthday Christmas is meant to commemorate. And just as our babies grew up, so did that Baby. There is an old gospel song I used to sing that asks, “Do you worship the Babe in the manger, but reject the Christ of the Cross?” It asks a legitimate question, because as sweet as that Baby was, it was the Man he became who purchased salvation for us all by His death, burial, and resurrection. I love babies, and if I had lived then, and could have been in the temple with Anna, I would probably have asked to hold Him (Luke 2:36-38). But it was the Man, Christ Jesus, whom I embraced all those years ago; and He is far dearer to me than the Baby ever could have been.
May your own Christmas be sweet because you are reminded once again that on that night in Bethlehem, a Savior was born; and may the coming year find all of us in His will, walking by faith.
Salle and Richard