Today, I did what has become a long-standing tradition for much of my childhood and all of my adult life – decorated my Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. As I did so, I reflected back on this same time just three years ago. I was in the throes of what turned out to be a six month daily struggle and ordeal that ended with my mom’s death less than two months later. In addition, my husband of over 20 years had walked out on me in October, just a little over a month prior to the day. I can remember, despite the turmoil of the time, desperately trying to hold my head above water and keeping to this tradition was one of my efforts to do so. But as I listened to Christmas music and put the ornaments on my tree (living in the home I grew up in), my mind drifted back to the long string of memories of predictable Christmas celebrations and then looked at the future, which was an unseen, misty, gray void – and the tears began to fall. In an effort to snap myself out of “going there,” I said out loud, “I know what is missing – a Christmas candle!” So I went to my “candle cupboard” located in the bottom of my entertainment center, in order to find a festive scent. As soon as I opened the door, a new candle in a metal tin fell out. Some time prior, a friend had given me for my birthday, a wonderfully scented candle in a decorative glass jar that she saw me admiring in a store as we shopped together. When it was gone, I returned to the store to find they did not carry the fragrance anymore. So I looked it up online, found the company that made it and ordered it directly. When they shipped my order, they included a “bonus candle” in the little tin. Since it was extra and not part of my order, I paid little attention to it and just shoved it in my candle cupboard. But now, at this very moment, that candle came tumbling out on the floor and printed on the tin staring up at me were the following words:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
So once again, as He had done at so many other critical moments in my life, God stepped in and He in essence whispered in my ear, “Do not worry – I’ve got your future in My hands, and it is good!”
Now here I am, just three years later, decorating for my first Christmas in my new home – my “Casa de la Paz Junto al Mar” – and I continue to be amazed at this journey God has brought me on and His ability to do “immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20) – to Him be the the glory forever and ever – AMEN!