I’m going to share some Christmas memories with you based on a number of decorations I have. As I open up my boxes, I come across them. It will be a bit of a mish-mash. These memories are not in chronological order…but then, mine rarely are! Are yours?
Because I had a chaotic childhood in many ways…no, not alcholic, divorces or anything like that…my parents were Christian work-a-holics (on a church staff, missionaries, etc.)…in the 1950′s and 60′s. That means that we had very little money AND they had little time to give to their family.
We were a handicap to their goal of reaching the world for Christ. (No, they did not intend to give this message. They weren’t ogres. Sadly, I have probably conveyed the same message to my own children at times.) We got the leftovers of time and energy…of which there was very little.
For high school, we were in boarding school. I think that these days, the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme in terms of child raising…but we won’t dwell there.
Our goal needs to be more in the direction of balance, not over-reacting to the losses in our childhood. For me, that has been a life-long struggle. With age, I have come to see the strengths and weaknesses of my background. If we are sons and daughters of Christ, it is important to realize that everything He has allowed in our lives has been for the purpose of drawing us to Himself…and making us more like Him (a really GREAT thing). Now, back to my story.
HAND PAINTED NATIVITY-PAT EWING
The person this decoration reminds me of is Pat Ewing…and Tom too. She and I used to meet regularly for prayer in her home. It was in the early 80′s during the time Ron was on the staff at Old Cutler Presbyterian Church in Miami, FL. He was Pastor of Spiritual Growth. He led Bible Studies in homes, small group studies at church, Wednesday Evening Prayer and Bible Study, etc.
I met with Pat for prayer. It was a wonderful time of sharing with each other and praying for our needs including her desire for another child. The adoption of her third child unrolled in front of our eyes giving them a beautiful little girl…along with the two teen-agers they already had.
They have had many challenges with this daughter in the years since, but God has worked in her life even through the bad choices she has made. It has been a difficult road for the family for sure, but there was no doubt that God brought her to them in answer to specific prayer at a time when their being able to have another child seemed hopeless.
During one of those Christmases, Pat asked me if I wanted to learn to paint ceramics. I don’t remember all the details. It was a LONG time ago! I was not optimistic that I could do it, but I did pretty well…with her encouraging words, despite the fact that one of the pieces is out of proportion to the rest! ( I loved him though, so we left him with the group.)
Every year since, I have used that nativity mixed with a wooden stable. Of course, it reminds me of Pat’s family who have moved a few times since then and are now back in their native Virginia. It also reminds me to pray for them as well.***
Most of all, it reminds me of the Christ who came to earth in human form to redeem me from sin. I like having something like that on eye level for little children. Yes, it is breakable but it is nice and tangible for them to learn the simple Christmas story. God came from heaven to earth as a human, so we could be forgiven.
***I just got an email telling me that Pat passed into God’s presence today! I’m shocked. It was sudden. She has been on my mind a lot and has had a lot of extra prayer lately…as will her family.
*** This is a rerun. It was first published December 4, 2010. This is my #1 post. More viewers read this than any other one! The Ewing family has recently survived two years without Pat! I can’t imagine.