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Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Christmas Muse... The New Normal



We took Fiver to our Vet yesterday for his six month checkup and let me tell you… he was the darling of the office!  Everyone who saw him fawned over him like he was a movie star!  And he enjoyed every moment of it.  He seemed to know that he was on the stage and hammed it up to the utmost!  He would play around with the staff and then come back and put his paws up into my lap and nuzzle against me or go over to Piper, stand up on his hind feet, lean against her chair and lick her hands!  

It was like he was trying to show everyone that although he may be quite the character, that he was fiercely attached to his owners!  He received a good report from the doctor amidst all the amazement that the staff demonstrated toward him with his unique blue merle color markings, spunky personality and his affection toward us. 

I would imagine that the events at the Vets yesterday were a bit similar to all the amazing things that the people in and around the little town of Bethlehem witnessed on that first Christmas night a few thousand years ago!  As I was reading the story of the events that led up to the birth of our Savior, I was struck with all amazing and unusual natural phenomenon that occurred throughout this earth changing event.

I mean, just think about it!  Angels appearing to different individuals and the glory of the Lord filling rooms, the skies, fields, barns and personal dreams.  Then there was the magnificent star that led the wise men right to the house where Mary, Joseph and the special baby resided in after the initial birth experience.  Luke 2:18 relates to us that “Everyone who heard the Shepherd’s story was amazed…” (1965 Bible in Basic English)

I have very fond memories of the very first time my sweet girlfriend (and eventual wife Piper) and I exchanged Christmas gifts with each other.  It was an amazing experience for me!  We had only been dating for a few months and Piper came over to my parent’s home to give me a gift as we were not as yet spending the holidays with each other’s families.  That continuing tradition started the next year.  I recall how giddy we felt as I took her hand and led her into the quiet of the living room away from my folks who were getting dinner ready in the next room.  I am not sure why certain parts of that event are so clear, but I do remember sitting on the red couch with both of us trying to suppress our laughter because we really didn’t want my folks to hear everything we were saying.

And while I don’t necessarily recall this part… I am pretty sure that we shared a few discreet smooches before (okay… during and after the gift exchange!).  Like I said, it was an amazing event that wasn’t so much defined by the gifts given, but by the excitement of just being in her presence… and you know… that excitement has never left… even with our current set of circumstances!

The amazement that I saw on the doctor and her staff at the uniqueness of our new pooch yesterday and the Christmas memory of Piper and I exchanging those first gifts, combined with all the amazing things that all the participants in that first Christmas many years ago, also got me to thinking about all the times throughout my Christian walk that I have been amazed at the things that God was doing for me or around me with others.

I have been amazed at the sight of the tangible presence of the glory of the Lord in my bedroom, on vacation with Piper and countless times at church along with many of the special Christian meetings that we’ve attended over the years.  But you know… I don’t think that I have ever been in such a continuing state of amazement over the moves of God as I have since we began this current adventure in faith that we are experiencing through this battle for my wife’s health.  People look at our circumstances all the time and ask me how I am doing.  And sure I’ve had to fight through many difficult situations, through roller coaster emotions, battle the lies of nagging doubts and worst yet, witness  the sight of the physical changes and difficulties that my beautiful wife has had to endure that simply break my heart…

But through it all, I cannot deny the truth of God’s Word, our unyielding faith that continually assures us of the healing that we expect and are convinced that we will see (check out Hebrews 11:1 – God’s Word ©), and the continual reminders of Papa God’s love and faithfulness through the regular ‘miracles’ that we experience.  All I have to do is look around me and see His blessings that are so visible to us with our beautiful new home, all the special equipment that we’ve been able to get for Piper’s needs, the new vehicle, our loving kids and their families, good friends, great doctors, nurses and therapists and yes… even a big, silly and very affectionate dog that keeps a smile and a laugh on my lips! 

I can’t help but imagine the glow that radiated from the faces of that special group of shepherds that got a firsthand experience of the glory of the Lord when the angelic hosts filled the skies over their field and sang their praises to God.  Their amazement over the events of that night caused them to excitedly exclaim amongst themselves, “Let us go NOW to Bethlehem and see this thing which has come about, which the Lord has made clear to us.” (Luke 2:15 1965 Bible in Basic English)  

Then I bet that they practically tripped over each other in their hasty preparations to leave the sheep, pull straws to see who was unlucky enough to have to stay and watch the sheep and then took off at a run as “they came quickly and saw Mary and Joseph and the child…” (Luke 2:16 1965 Bible in Basic English)

I’m not sure about you… but I still feel that excitement and amazement over the moves of the Lord in our daily lives.  In our situation… even the tiniest and maybe normally seen as insignificant things are a BIG deal to me!  Those little things of God continue to amaze me… and you know… they keep me alert and inspire me to look for and expect Papa God to move in our behalf, again and again!  At this point in our journey, I am not sure if I could make it through to the next day without that daily expectation of being amazed at the things that He does for us on a regular basis!

How about you?  Are you continuously amazed (and expectant) at all the things… both large and seemingly insignificant that Papa God does and/or will do for you?  I have come to learn that AMAZING is my new norm!  How about you!

Look for the amazing this Christmas as you celebrate the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and as you do… keep asking yourself… I am expecting God’s AMAZING in my life today?

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