TITLE: The Christmas Tear November 5, 2014
By Sheila Bird
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The Christmas Tear
Christmas at my house paints a far different picture from the images I see in the pages of fancy holiday magazines. There was a time when I coveted those magnificently adorned evergreens on display in exclusive department stores and malls. I was like a child peering through the window of a toy store just wishing I could afford one. Every year before Christmas was packed away and the New Year dawned, I was already combing the clearance aisles yearning to satisfy the visions of tinsel and lights that danced in my head.
One silent night those obsessive dreams faded away and the desire of my heart changed as I observed a little red candle resting on a ceramic pedestal in the center of my dining room table. The base was surrounded with a simple homemade wreath cut from fresh pine and topped with festive holly berries.
Something sacred happened when I lit that candle. A tiny spark rose to form a bright, amber flame; and, for a moment, I became lost in its glow. I watched as the wax overflowed again and again. It slowly trickled down to the base of the candle and formed a puddle. It looked like my little candle was crying soft, warm tear drops.
Out of nowhere I was gripped by the image of those less fortunate than me. I could almost see their faces etched with sorrow and desperation and their eyes filled with tears of pain and regret. They were yearning for a miracle.
Suddenly my heart was filled with an overwhelming sense of God’s love for me. My “silent night” transformed into a “holy night” as I let go of my grandeur vision all things retail and made room for something far greater. When this happened, I could almost hear the angels singing like they did to the shepherds on the hills that glorious night when Christ was born.
My heart encompassed Jesus like never before, and Christmas at my house has never been the same. Fancy decor and extravagant gifts no longer compare to the feeling I get when the aroma of Christmas dinner begins to drift out of my humble kitchen and waft past the little basket of cinnamon-scented pine cones near the little stone fireplace in my living room. And when I set my table with the same modest dinnerware I use all year long, the wonder of Christmas flutters in my stomach and sends tingles of excitement from my head to my toes. Winter snow may rest on the ground like the white linen cloth on my table, but my soul is warmer and more fulfilled than it has ever been.
I believe in the Christmas story with all my heart. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God; and that He willingly left the splendor of heaven for the sake of every single one of us. Almighty God sent Him to our broken world supernaturally gift wrapped as a newborn baby. He experienced all the joys and pains of humanity as He lived and loved here on earth. He brought hope and healing to all those who dared to believe and follow after Him. He truly is the Savior of the world…our Messiah.
On Christmas day I can’t wait to gather my family around our dinner table for the long-awaited meal. I ask each one to join hands and pray with me. I want them to experience much more than just the food and the gifts we are blessed with each season. We bow our heads together in honor of Jesus Christ, whose blood flowed down that old rugged cross like the crimson wax on my weeping candle.
Together we worship our precious Jesus who cries out to the lonely and hurting masses saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 nkjv). His sweet Spirit whispers peace and comfort to each one around the table and I am in awe of the immeasurable grace of God we share. As we un-wrap the last humble gift, we can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are recipients of the greatest gift ever given...eternal life with Christ our Lord.
My little candle gave its all that night. Remnants of wax on the empty stand where it once sat remind me of the empty tomb Jesus left behind after He suffered and died for our sins.
It is my prayer that all those who celebrate Christmas will be so filled with His compassion that they light up the dark places of this world, cry with those who are in pain and demonstrate the most coveted miracle of all, the selfless love of God.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18 nkjv).
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