We planned all week to go Friday. The kids could hardly wait for the end of the school week. It was finally here we picked the boys up and headed to McDonald’s on Stewart Avenue, it was the first one of its kind in Atlanta, that’s hard to believe. It was cold outside which made it even better. Sitting at a table, we watched for Dad to come back with the tray full of the famous hamburgers and fries, hot from the grill. We filled our bellies but still had room for a hot apple pie and then we were off….

As we arrived at our destination, you could see lights surrounding the lot. They sure helped to see as we walked around searching for the perfect one. The smell was all around us as we walked up one aisle and down another. We each would see one and say “this is the one” with a holler back so we all could hear. This was the big night to select the Christmas tree for the year!

I can smell the pine aroma as the trees stood tall after being freshly cut. You could almost hear them saying, “pick me”, “pick me”, but we had our eye on just one. Then we all agreed on the one that was the right one. It stood about 6 or 7 feet tall and as we worked the price out with the man who owned them all, it wasn’t long till we had it ready to transport to our home. The chill of the night made us look forward to the hot cocoa waiting for us at home, how we looked forward to the project we had ahead.

Getting all the boxes down we packed neatly last year, we began our assigned task singing along with the Christmas music, playing in the background. How fun it was building memories for the future! The strings of lights were a tackle as we all strung them just right, arranging from the inside out. Then it was time; we counted one, two, three… dah, dah!!! But it was now time to put on all the ornaments, the boys were patience, as I would bring out each one telling them where it came from or who gave it to us. My favorite was the one I protected each year, I had gotten it as a child, it hung on many a tree. We filled the tree full of beauties of all creations, some from far away travels. Finally it was time to place the Angel on top to find her place. As we stood back gazing at our finished work, we had a warm feeling, as we looked forward to the days ahead. It was beautiful as it lit up the room it was now time to bring in another Christmas to enjoy.

One last box was sitting over to the side as we started to clean up. In it was the best thing of all. It was the manger scene that had been pass down through the family. Assembling it we had a sense of worship, thinking about what this time of year was really about. Placing the porcelain figurines carefully under the tree, we talked about what it must have been like the night in the stable when Jesus came into the world. How did Mary and Joseph feel realizing this Baby was the Living God that had come to this earth to save mankind? We stood back looking again at our creation and this time there was nothing missing for the manger scene had made it perfect, bringing to our attention the Real Reason for the Season!



I know that there will be days you think, “Oh Yeah?” I’ll be honest with you I have those. When I read about what we have in Christ, if we are believers, that’s the way we can live. He died for all our days to be successful. I have the benefit of being a Counselor/Life Coach observing people who are living in every type of situation you can think of. I listen and sit there thinking, how in the world are you making it through this to get to our office? Yet I know in my heart you can in Him!

Looking back on my history as a Christian and before the day, I have seen some hard times. I know of days if I described them to you here on this page it would scare you. I remember a day I sat in the darkness of my closet saying, “Lord I am not going back out there and I am quitting on this life thing”. He was so patient with me as He had to hear His child spout out such things in deep-seated anger and…some of them were to and about Him. Well you guessed it, I did come out and I did make it and He still loves me!

All around people are saying the same thing I did. They are facing challenges that seem like mountains they just don’t have the energy to climb. They don’t have to do it alone, there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, and His name is Jesus. He was there all the time in my life. Just in the last few years, I have gotten to really know Him and it seems to have come after I had that talk with Him clearing the air between us.

Phil is keeping a verse before us in our Life Group, it is Matthew 11: 28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”. He says PaPa is keeping it before him in his life challenges. I love it when the teacher I sit under is teaching from what they are experiencing, we get the overflow of what’s going on in their life lessons. As a learner, the things I receive seem to have longer “shelf life” for me to use in my life, somewhat “richer” when taught what’s tried and proven.

So to end this today…. you see you can STAY ENCOURAGED AND HAVE HOPE with whatever you are facing! We are not out here living this life all alone. We have victory over every situation that is coming our way, or has just left us! Like the children of Israel were told by God, “before the water will part you have to put your foot in the water” It’s all about Faith taking that first step….

Let’s go out this week and try this, wish I could hear all about the stories you could tell I just know there will be many good ones! My prayer is that you will experience LIFE TO THE FULLEST!!!!