This year marks the 10-year anniversary of a fire. Not just any fire, but our fire...
THE fire, a spark and a flame that changed my family’s life; significantly and spiritually changed mine.
|Where the light is coming through, is where Christmas bins rested.|
The burning, the gaping holes in the roof, the smoky yet wet stench conjure up an image of a violation of all we came to depend on, all we take for granted. In one mere wind-whipped moment, life happens. Firemen roll up their hoses, police take their reports, neighbors give hugs, but desperation moves in, confusion calls frequently and regret ransacks all that remains.
While sifting through the ashes, salvaging anything slightly recognizable, intact, scorched but not permanently scarred, I found hidden treasure. Almost all of my Christmas décor incinerated, yet a miracle in the desert of debris revealed itself. Crystal angels and every piece of my Nativity Set, I began pulling from the rubble. Gone, the wooden stable, just like my own walls, left this precious “Christmas Family” without a covering. In that moment as I held the characters of the Christmas Story, God overwhelmed me with His mercy.
Jesus the Christ, the Savior of the World, came to us through a specially chosen young girl, and a devout and obedient young man. His birth announcement sang out by the heavens to lowly, stinky shepherds and to Wise men deliberately searching and waiting for a sign. Here He is, the Babe, a ceramic figure, covered in soot and I held Him tight as tears dripped down my own ashen face. In this moment, Manna from Heaven poured into my soul, extinguishing the cinders of rebellion and filling me with a hope and a strengthened foundation, a good place to rebuild.
On my knees, I take in the Hidden Manna; a promise to me that I continue to feast on while God helps me discard the rubble of my life.
I took each figure and with a toothbrush and time, cleaned them up. Mary, her unwavering belief and innocent reverence, Joseph, His love and protection for his betrothed, the shepherds and sheep, a reminder that the Lord is our Shepherd. Even the one lost sheep, He will seek, find and restore. The Wise men, their crowns and testimony of knowledge from their searching in the heavens of the Words of promise from ancient days, their reward to see Him and present Him their gifts. Even the gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh, remind me of purity and eternity, that which perseveres, and becomes refined after a fire.
Manna from Heaven, no longer hidden in what once looked like a pantry of a stale spirit, but rising in the Bread of Life.
With a Cornucopia of Thanksgiving, the Manna of His provision overflows with fruit, filled with seeds of a continued pursuit of purpose. Work lay ahead of me. Rebuilding took a diligent effort and a lot of prayerful planning time. His provision for me gave me sustenance to endure the wilderness.
A fire. A purposeful flame. I see now, your foundation on which to stand, on which to rebuild a life with a testimony. Thank you for persuing me Lord.
A lost sheep, found again and wiped clean of what dulled His Glory, a journey I began. Eternally thankful for the burning, for the rescuing, for the restoring, for the revealing of what lay hidden within me, He continues to show me beyond the worldly walls, and I continue to stand on a firm foundation of His sovereign plan.
Help me Lord, to grace those around me with uncovered manna, to share what God redeems. Amen.
Timmy's stocking, the only one that survived. I still hang this one today.
|With a new "stable," the Nativity.|
Thoughtfully yours, Coleene