Saturday, December 22, 2018

People Are Gifts

Tribe of Taylor--June 2018
On the first day of Christmas break I went to the car wash. At the end of the process where the attendant wipes down the car, I rolled down my window and said, "Merry Christmas! Here's an invitation to a beautiful Christmas service if you and your family would be interested." And of course, there was a generous tip sticking up out of the tract-invitation. The attendant smiled and said, "Thank you very much, ma'am!" And that was the beginning of Christmas vacation. People are gifts.

I was up until 11:00pm on December 21st doing the gift-wrapping while music played. Norman used to be summoned to the dining room to help me with this task. Now I am learning to do it without his help, but I still have the funny memories of watching him wad up the ends of the wrapping paper in his signature "Norman H. Taylor" style. He used a lot of tape on the ends of those wads. The English language fails to describe how much I miss my Norman, but I can finally smile and even chuckle at some of the memories from our family traditions. Good memories are gifts.

And speaking of gifts, every year I say the same thing: "Next year I'm shopping early."

And every year I'm in the stores with the mobs a few days before Christmas. Usually, my sister Janelle and I are shopping together, failing to change our ways and laughing about it as we shop the picked-over stores. 

Don't try to give me any ideas on how to improve this area. I'll admit the truth: I rather like the mobs. And it totally tickles me to shop with my sis. We pick out our gifts for each other right there in TJ Maxx.

"What do you want?" Janelle asks as we run into each other again.

"More flatware to handle all the dinner fellowships I'm hosting," I say. She plunks it into her cart.

"What do you want?" I ask Janelle.

She drops blouse into my cart, and then we head back into the fray. When all the shopping is done, we find her husband, my bro-in-love Dennis and take the poor bedraggled man to dinner. Some men love shopping. Others hate it. Many just endure it. Dennis endures.

This will be our first family Christmas in Florida, and I am grateful for God's gifts to our family:

The gift of Christ.
"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." (2 Corinthians 9:15)

The gift of family.
"God setteth the solitary in families..." (Psalm 68:6)

The gift of continued healing from deep grief.
"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3 KJV)

The gift of grace and peace.
"Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 1:3)

God also gave me the gift of my oldest Austen son and his lovely wife Jessica as neighbors here in Pensacola. They live a mere 15 minutes from what we now call "the Florida family home," and I can have popcorn and old movie night with them whenever we want.

Daughter Hillary and youngest son Collin are flying in from Minnesota for their Florida home Christmas. My sis Janelle and bro-in-love Dennis are already in town. Nephew Joshua arrives soon as well, and then we'll begin the new tradition of Christmas in Florida.

Home in Minnesota was cold and snowy. Home in Florida is still brisk in December, but sunny and tame enough to grow cold weather crops like collards and lettuces. We are learning a new normal, and God is giving us the grace to do it.

Time spent together is a gift.

Cherish your loved ones now, because you don't know if you'll have them by next Christmas. 

Christ gave Himself as a redemptive gift to humankind, and then blessed us with our families and friends. Love them all abundantly, and don't let anything get in the way of that love.

I had to resist the urge to text my adult children this morning to see if they were at their airport gate. I didn't want to be a Smother Mother, but it was hard to wait for news that they had made it through security at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, which looks a lot like the Minnesota State Fair.

"Don't text them. Quit being so impatient," I told myself. 

And then Collin texted on behalf of both: 

"We're at our gate!"

People are gifts.

Christmas blessings to you and your family. 

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." 
(Isaiah 9:6)

If you have questions about life after this side of Heaven:

Francie Taylor
Founder of Keep the Heart


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