The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:2-6 ESV).
I am nothing if not a “big kid” at Christmas. This year Aaron, our youngest, came home for Thanksgiving and we went to pick out our tree together. Of course, we found one that was just perfect. Bringing it home I cut off a bit of the bottom and mounted it in the holder. We spent a good deal of time making sure it was straight and facing just the right position for the room. We strung the lights so that later Mary could hang the ornaments. Our tree has no real “theme” as some do. We have ornaments from the past forty-five years that have been treasured for the memories they represent. Some of them are those that the boys made for us when they were in Sunday School as youngsters. We have some that have Aggie logos on them; while others were bought in some of the places we have visited through the years. They all are special in some way.
After the tree is finished, we begin to decorate the rest of the house with various Christmas items. We have a musical Santa that belonged to Mary’s mom and still plays electronic music that sounds tinny and out of tune, but it brings back the memories of those days we spent with them for Christmas filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas in the Perry house. We always had a big meal with at least three entrees and all the trimmings. Of course, we also had rolls that were burned on the bottom. As great a cook as she was, she always seemed to forget about the rolls and they burned on the bottom. We laughed and talked, sharing the joys of the moment and the time of the year. Everything seemed enveloped in happiness and magic, and appeared a little unreal. Everyone seemed a little nicer and more considerate.
It is always like that. There are empty chairs at our table now. We have some new ones filled with precious additions to our family, but the empty chairs still remain. If I’m not careful, it is easy to forget the joy that the Prince of Peace truly brings. Perhaps you remember those sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas past and sigh, wishing for those days. Be encouraged. These new days will soon be new memories. To be sure, for some, they will be difficult memories; however, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace whose birth we celebrate will make all of those challenges fade in His presence as we are reunited with those whom we love someday.
Go ahead, take a trip down memory lane; but, look forward to your salvation because it draws near! His promises will never fail!
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