December 20, 2018

Advent 2018

"Christmases Past"


Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  (Mark 11:24)


 When I think of Advent I remember being a child and waiting with great expectation for Christmas.  Each year my father and I went to a forest and cut down an evergreen tree--it was always tall and wide, with a wonderful scent.  Decorating it with balls and tinsel was great fun.  We put an angel on top of the tree and felt blessed by her beauty.  We set up a special manger with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and baby Jesus.  My father read the Bible every night to us after dinner; I sat still and listened.  I will never forget Matthew's message of love and the arrival of Jesus, which told me the truth of Christmas.  I loved the family time and its closeness, and I loved how I grew closer to God.


Each year my family climbed into the car for the midnight service on Christmas Eve.  It was the one night of the year when I was allowed to stay up late.  When the choir sang "Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing" I felt the power and the love of God.  The church was beautiful with red poinsettias and wreaths in the windows.  The mystery and majesty of Advent was all around me--the beauty of nature, the music, and the Bible readings. 


At this time of year, I knew the goodness of God's grace.  I could feel it.  I prayed to know God better.  I asked for forgiveness for disobeying my parents, I prayed to be good and to stop teasing my brother, and one year I prayed for a baby sister...and she came on December 1.  I was so happy; I loved her right away.  I believed God had answered my prayer.  A friend wanted a baby sister too and wondered why she didn't have one.  In my childlike faith, I told her she hadn't prayed hard enough. 

Prayer lets me know God.  I find that it helps take away self-doubt, false ego, and brings a healing light.  Know that God is the answer.  I believe God brings security, hope, and comfort in difficult times--and even in daily life.  Let God into your life and know that Jesus is coming.

-- Bebe Willoughby


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