More than a Granny Smith

Years ago we were walking through an old orchard. The trees were almost bare, their branches gaunt. The apples had been picked for juice and taken to the factory, but I happened to see a lone green one hanging on.

Maurie said, ‘It’ll be delicious. They always are when they’ve been left to ripen on the tree’.

He picked it and I bit into it immediately. He was right! I still remember that fresh apple. I was sure it had waited to bless me with its juicy flavour and fragrance; the best Granny Smith apple I’ve ever tasted.

Some fruit is better when it’s picked early and ripened slowly indoors. Others are harvested long before they mature, and then transported far away to the supermarkets where they look like solid, mock fruit for weeks. Bananas are gassed to speed up the ripening process, but when they’ve been in the fruit bowl a short time, they’re unexpectedly ripe and we have to eat them in a hurry.

It’s the same with babies. All of mine made late appearances, but they never had peeling skin or flaking fingernails, which ‘they’ say are signs of being ‘over-done’!

We’ve been on baby-arrival-watch lately. Do you remember Tenealle and Johnee, of ‘Biggest Loser’ TV fame? I wrote about them a while ago on here. Well, they’re now the proud parents of a splendid son! His name is Arrow. I’m sure Johnee wants a quiver-full but he’ll have to wait a while yet!

Then there’s been the special one in our family: our grand-daughter’s baby was due on the 31st of January, but he kept us all in suspense until the 10th of February. James doesn’t look over-cooked either. He’s beautiful! What a thrill to have him here at last! Now we’re great-grandparents, our sons are great-uncles and our daughter is a great-aunt. And his mother and father…are parents!!

Even if he were born early, he’d be more than welcome. Like that apple, every child is fresh, even if they’re ‘late’. They have their own special time and of course, we can enjoy a baby in lots of different ways. What a magnificent blessing they are. Thousands of times more wonderful than a Granny Smith apple!

A Prayer for Dear James

May your life be a light

that shines on the road

where others will follow

May you know the truths

that bring joy and laughter

May you see with the eye

that sparkles

more than

those who try

to reflect the darkness

May all your ways

be solid underfoot

And every time

you touch or sense

a need

May you be filled

with  compassion

Most of all

May you know 

God’s  boundless Love

Forever

Lyn Thiele ~ 2017

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Be Fruitful and Multiply!

For a very special reason, I’ve been meditating lately on something that God said to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Have you ever wondered what he meant when he told them to ‘be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth?’

I’ve often presumed those words meant some sort of environmental advice: trying not to leave this world without replacing yourself…at least! Some say ‘that’s none of God’s business!’ And there are thinking people who believe the earth’s population is too large already. They ask how God would work it out in practice, when many countries have poverty on a large scale, hardly any resources to provide for their people, and war ravaging their land? Parts of the world have abundant riches but the citizens restrict the size of their families and the statistics show no growth.

My parents had four children. Recently I added up their descendants and wondered how many would come to a family reunion if we held one. That’s part of the reason why I was thinking about this topic.

To satisfy my curiosity about God’s words to our first ancestors, I checked the Bible – the best place to look when we want to know what God said about anything. You might guess I made a couple of significant discoveries…as usual!

Here’s how several different translations put those words that I quoted briefly at the beginning. I used the one from the old Authorised Bible (more well-known these days as the King James Version), but other people have translated the same words into more modern language.  

The New International Version gives it this way: Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.

The Good News Bible has slightly different words: Have many children so that your descendants will live over the earth and bring it under their control.

And here’s an even more modern one from The Message Bible: Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! 

When I re-read the whole story at the beginning of the Bible, I saw something I’d never noticed before. God said the same thing to the birds and the fish! All translations are basically the same, but there was still something more that I’d missed in the story. Each time God spoke those words, whether to fish, birds or humans, we’re told what those words were. I don’t mean the actual words, of course, but the value of them. That pulled me up! I’d never noticed that either!

They’re not a command. That’s right! When God told them to prosper, reproduce, fill the earth and take charge…he was giving them a blessing!

Let’s see what effect that might have on our interpretation of God’s words. Forget about the environment idea; God had bigger plans. In light of my parents’ legacy, I saw that he was giving his creation something important. More important than many of us realise. Right at the start, he was saying that family is a blessing. Being a family, living as a family, participating with God in the creation of a family is a wonderful blessing!

And if you’re wondering what that special reason is that I mentioned at the top of this post, I’ll tell you now. My parents’ descendants now number 30 precious people, but very soon they’ll add up to 31, as well as every partner, and they’re all family!

Our eldest grandchild and her husband are expecting the birth of their first baby any day now. In fact, I was hoping he’d be born before I wrote this post! He’ll be our first great-grandchild!  God knew how much we would enjoy being fruitful! What a blessing!!

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Petunia

Petunia

sad…drab…unclad

drained of moisture and colour

pallid green foliage, faded pink petals

limp, dust-laden

poor offerings in the blooming bed

doomed to leave the space she’d filled

among her fresh, vivid friends

***

down…trod…den

such harsh, final syllables

for a tender plant

a careless foot from an animal or man?

her branches lifted by the wind

one time too many?

***

lilies of the field, he said

more beautiful than Solomon

spread their loveliness

disseminate their splendour

freely, bountifully, for a brief day

and die…

consider, he said

Lyn Thiele 1/2017

I wrote this poem after I discovered a once-lovely petunia dying in our garden. I’m sorry I can’t show you any ‘before’ pics, but it was beautiful. The flowers covered the foliage with colour, every petal fresh and bright. The leaves looked lush and it was a stand-out loveliness by the wall of the house…until the weather grew stormy. I was sad that its vigour was gone and it looked so bedraggled. It made me think of the way Jesusdying petunia spoke of the lilies of the field. If I loved this plant, how much more must he love his own creation!

In his famous outdoor sermon Jesus looked at the fields nearby and saw some fragile flowers. He compared them with the magnificence of Solomon, that wise king of Israel, whom he dearly loved. In spite of Solomon’s wealth, they far outclassed his splendour. They were clothed with more beauty than a king, but they’d done nothing to spin their fabric. Nor had they worked to buy their fragrance or designed their glorious colours. They spent their lives glorifying their Creator!

I’d read this Bible story in Matthew 6: 28-30 and wondered: was God using this petunia to talk to me about something? An attitude I needed to address in my life? Yes. But I wasn’t aware of the details…yet.

A few days later I went shopping for some clothes to wear to a special event. I found something I really liked, but wasn’t sure if I should ‘waste’ that much money! It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it, I’m just accustomed to being extra careful with my purchases. So I didn’t buy it, but went home and thought long and hard. Perhaps I should get something else?

‘Do you think it would be extravagant of me to spend so much money on one item of clothing?’ I asked Maurie.

He laughed and said, ‘Of course not! Go and buy it!’

During the night, I was reminded that Jesus saw Solomon when he was king. He knew him, spoke to him and loved him. He also saw the lovely flowers on their one day of glory…and he sees me! He knows me like his flowers and loves me. He gave wisdom to Solomon when he asked for it and he wants to give to me. Could I accept a new piece of clothing as a gift from him? After all, he provides the money I have. Yes! I will!

Jesus’ sermon illustration wasn’t meant to tell me that I shouldn’t have nice clothes, or a good home and healthy food; it was about my priorities. When I worship him first, and not things, my heavenly Father will give me what I need! Jesus said so!

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What to Eat When You Feel Down!

I’ve been working on the notes of a church study, and it’s reminded me of some of my school lessons: punctuation, grammar, spelling and the one I can particularly use on this project – précis. It means a short form of a text that leaves only the important parts. My brief is to reduce the wordiness, make the phrasing more modern and easy to read, and…interesting! I was also asked to see if there were any vital parts missing…and to add them! This is an eight-week course, so I’ve tried not to extend the number of pages.

I deleted much of the highlighting and all the underlining, making the pages less crowded and more inviting. I found a few more illustrations for readers who prefer pictures rather than big slabs of text, then I cut out the repetitive stuff! I checked every scripture reference and discovered the needed additions, but it was challenging to find a place for them. These notes have been around for years and the original compiler knew they needed updating! Proofreading is one of my pleasures, but it can be tricky when the material originates from more than one source.

As I cut into the study notes, I thought of the Bible and wondered why there’s so much repetition in God’s Word. They quoted Old Testament sayings repeatedly and whole chapters were duplicated in large swathes! Stories are told more than once and obscure people pop up in unexpected places. There are many lists, lots of names and genealogies…well, they abound. If I were God, I’d have a smaller book!

But I knew he’d have a reason. He didn’t only design it to be read; he wanted us to eat it! His words are food for our spirits, something we can carry with us like a meal in the desert where there’s no other food. He knows our spiritual digestive system!

The prophet Elijah discovered this same truth. After he’d had a stoush with the prophets of Baal and by God’s power overcome them resoundingly, he had a deep downer. Depressed and discouraged, he went into the wilderness to sleep it off. He thought he was the only prophet of God left in the world. How was God going to manage? What could he do with such a down-in-the-mouth seer? Well, God has supplies that even Elijah never knew.

As he slept under a broom tree, an angel was preparing a meal for him. When he woke, there it was! Twice the angel woke him and told him to eat and drink. That food was special, strengthening him for the forty days and nights it took him to travel across the desert to Sinai, the mountain of God. This was the place where God gave his Word to Moses, the site where he spoke, where the people of Israel saw his fire and smoke! Now this would be the place where Elijah would hear God’s famous whisper. I’ve read it could be translated as sound of sheer silence. Now there’s a thought about God’s Word!

What other book can I read, I thought, that would feed me like the Bible? None. I can taste its flavours every day, even a small mouthful is rich. It’s never out of date, never boring, always sustaining and it has something for me to carry on my journey. I’m so thankful that God didn’t ask me to proofread it!

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Two Kings and First Impressions

You’ve probably read about the prophet Samuel and how he anointed David, the shepherd boy. You may have a picture in your mind of a scene on a farm near Bethlehem. As a child, I imagined Jesse’s seven handsome sons being paraded before the prophet Samuel with only their family watching? That was my first impression, retained for many years until last week, when I read the story properly!

Samuel was at home in Ramah when God told him to go to Bethlehem and anoint the next King of Israel. ‘Fill your flask with anointing oil…I’ve spotted the very king I want’, the Lord said and told Samuel to take a heifer with him. The prophet sent a message on ahead inviting the leaders of the town to meet him there and be sure to invite Jesse too.

When he arrived at Bethlehem, the town fathers greeted him apprehensively. ‘Is there something wrong?’…David's anointing by Samuel at prcas3216

‘No, I’ve come to sacrifice this heifer and lead you in the worship of God’, Samuel said. ‘Prepare yourselves, be consecrated and join me in worship’. He made sure Jesse and his sons were also consecrated and called to worship. 

I’d completely missed that part! Now I  saw that it wasn’t a private family gathering on the farm, but a well-planned event. An important group of people were there to watch it in a public place.

This multi-layered story continued. Eliab, the eldest son of Jesse, was presented first. Samuel, going by his own first impression, presumed that here was the chosen one, but the Lord said, I don’t look on the outside, I look into the heart.

All the other sons auditioned, but God didn’t give Samuel the go-ahead on any of them! Samuel asked Jesse if he had any more and David’s name was reluctantly mentioned. ‘He’s out looking after the sheep’. Jesse said. I wonder how long it took them to find David and bring him to the place where the onlookers were waiting. The town leaders were probably wondering what Samuel was doing!

When David was brought in, God gave Samuel the order: Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one! Imagine Samuel’s excitement! He took his flask of oil and started pouring.

I love this next part. Then, with a special anointing of his own, the Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life. (References from 1 Samuel 16: 1-13 in The Message Bible)

Now let’s compare that story with the birth of David’s famous descendant, the one called Jesus. What was my first impression of that event?

nativity-scene-mary-joseph-baby-jesus-1326846-wallpaper

As a child, I used to concertina the events into a single short period, no longer than a week, maybe! The inn-keeper at the door, the stable and the manger, the angels and the shepherds, the wise men and the star. Cruel King Herod was a part of it, then the soldiers with their swords slashing against the dear little boys under two years of age. Was Jesus still a baby in his swaddling clothes when Joseph escaped to Egypt with him and Mary? How many people in Bethlehem got to know the toddler before he left? Did they see his kind nature, his beautiful love, his tender heart, even then?

Our task is to see as God does. No cursory glance, no reading into it something that isn’t there. God looks for a person whose heart is soft, where he can etch his own special impression. David and Jesus both had that kind of heart. And so can we.

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Leavings

Vic departed from his room one night and behind him a heap of memorabilia lay waiting. No-one knew that he’d never return.

At his death, he owned a small unit, a car and some personal effects, including articles that must have meant a lot to him. He’d kept his childhood teddy: a scrawny mustard-coloured toy with threadbare fur. He left some badges from his life in the Army and a few golf trophies. His hedge-trimming records, with testimonials from extremely satisfied customers, were in neatly compiled notebooks. It was interesting that he owned a family Bible and some books about Jesus and the Holy Land.

Vic was a meticulous bachelor. His two younger brothers cleared away the contents of his home and his friend was glad of their assistance. A woman can’t deal with a man’s personal leavings when they’ve never lived together. Most of his belongings came from an era that she never shared with him, so she left it to the ‘boys’, who agreed to divide it all between them. Maurie brought his share home, along with Vic’s well-made ladder from his secondary school days in the 1930s at Swinburne Technical College.

IMG_0565We examined each small article, and came upon a tissue-wrapped garment. It looked like a baby’s nightgown. It was beautifully made, with entredeux lace on the front, long ties at the waist and an embroidered blue H inside the neck opening. Had Vic owned it all those long eighty-two years of his life?

There were moth holes and a stain on the back. It certainly wasn’t modern; baby boys no longer wear nighties! Could we redeem it for posterity, we wondered, and what did the blue H signify? Maurie had no idea of its history.

After a careful wash, the stain disappeared. My imagination ran through the possibilities. Perhaps it was made in the 19th century? Was it an heirloom that his mother, Daisy, had brought from her homeland in Wales. Their surname began with H. Was it her own baby garment, made by her mother? I suppose we’ll never know.

IMG_0564We took several photos as a record, then donated it to the Historical Society for display purposes. The elderly lady there told me she’d seen a similar one from her mother’s era, so they believed it was old.

As I thought about this small child’s garment, my mind went to the story of Jesus’ birth. His baby garments were called swaddling clothes. None of them have survived, but at the end of his earthly life, he left one seamless robe. It must have been valuable because foreigners gambled for it.

The things we leave behind can show what kind of a person we are. My mother gave away many of her precious things. Her children, grandchildren and friends benefited from her treasures while she was still alive. They have them now to remember her.

Jesus left much more than that. At Christmas we remember how he came as a baby. Like other humans, he was born to die. Unlike Vic, he didn’t stay in the grave. He conquered death and lives forever! His disciple, Peter, wrote in one of his letters:

How fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master, Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven – and the future starts now! ~ 1 Peter 1: 3, 4 (The Message Bible)  

At Christmas, it’s good to think about the blessings Jesus left behind and see if they make the celebration more meaningful for us. What did he leave for you?

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Addictions

It was family history research that brought me to this topic of addiction. Once I’d found my husband’s grandparents, my perfectionist nature and desire for completion spurred me on to know more about their family. It was like paying them a visit! It became a daily ritual – pushing me to finish the profiles of people on my tree. If I didn’t have their death date, I’d search for it so I could tidy up that generation of names! I felt disloyal to them if I hadn’t given as much time to their details as to others in the family.

I sat at the computer for too long, even though it adversely affected my body. I was prepared to put up with pain, just to satisfy the part of me that ‘needed’ that last record in place! I sensed that God was telling me to leave the family tree, but I thought just a few minutes spent on it would be alright. Soon I could see that I was back to it again, scrolling down the pages, click, click, clicking on the lists of names that had some similarity to the ones I knew. This went on for months, with my husband occasionally saying, ‘I thought you were going to give that up?’

Pain can be a hard teacher! It doesn’t always go away once you’ve given up the cause of it. But it’s strange that I don’t have a problem working on my blog! That was God’s idea, and he knows best!

Experts say that the only behavioural addiction is gambling. Other authorities insist that video game addiction and shopping addiction are in that same category. I wasn’t interested in games, shopping or drugs, but was I any different from the usual addicts? Every time the family history website sent me an email, I couldn’t ignore a message that might contain the final small detail that would round off the ancestor’s profile that I ‘must have’?

I might feel sorry for those who can’t give up alcohol, nicotine or drugs, but was I also addicted? I see lots of mobile phones, iPads or even laptop computers attached like permanent appendages to the arms of men, women and children, calling for their attention, just as the family history called me.

A couple of Bible verses were appropriate in this situation. Did they apply to my way of life?

So since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. ~ Romans 6:16.

Here’s another: Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing what I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. ~ 1 Corinthians 6: 12. These are from the Message Bible, but for that last phrase, the Good News translation reads: I’m not going to let anything make me its slave. 

I got serious about this and wondered if I wanted to be remembered as a person who was addicted to family history research or as a lover of living people? What drives me? Who rules my life? After all, self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit!

I feel better physically if I keep off the family history. What does it matter if I don’t know all their dates? For me, there are more important things to do with my time and I’m asking the Lord to help me do them! Thanks for listening!

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Identity

For a long time I’ve been thinking about the meaning of identity. This began when I heard about identity theft where many people are afraid that an unscrupulous person will try to steal their money by pretending to be them. I can only guess how such a thief would go about it, but I know it happens.

It’s made me ponder what our identity really is. It’s a vast topic! As a Christian, I have a God-given identity that can’t be stolen: the Person of Jesus Christ who lives his life in me. God takes that into account when he deals with me; nobody else can appropriate it. He owns the world and all that’s in it; his resources far outstrip those of every thief on earth. They include gifts and compassion, love and faithfulness, patience and many other good things, as well as financial provision. We can access them at any time and they are never depleted! Jesus doesn’t change, he’s always totally himself, so there’s a consistency that runs through us all when we are Christians.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church in the first century: Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital state, defines your life. – 1 Cor. 7: 17 ( The Message Bible)

Recently I read about the London Foundling Hospital. It now operates as the charity called Coram, named after the founder. In the early 18th Century, there were many women in that huge city who were unable to look after their children and this man worked tirelessly to establish a home for the little ones.

tokens from the London Foundling Hospital Collection

When the mothers brought their babies to the hospital (today we’d call it a home), none of their details were recorded. They were just asked to leave a token of their identity in case their circumstances changed and they were able to come back with the matching part of the token and claim their baby. Over 5000 of these articles have been discovered. They comprise pieces of ribbon, cards, fabric and even single sleeves from babies’ garments; anything the poverty-stricken mother could use. You can read about it here:

http://www.coram.org.uk/about-us/our-heritage-foundling-hospital

Justin Welby, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, said this: I know that I find who I am in Jesus Christ, not in genetics, and my identity is in him. He was talking about the DNA test that confirmed he was the son of the last Private Secretary of Winston Churchill, not the child of Gavin Welby, as he’d always presumed. I was interested to hear what he said about this and added it to my store of quotes about identity!

My husband discovered in his sixties that his parents hadn’t registered him at birth. He had no proof that he was whom he claimed to be! Did this mean he had no identity? Of course not. He eventually managed to locate enough evidence and was able to register himself! One of our sons joked, You’re born-again Dad, but born…?

Maurie also has a family member who didn’t find out until he was sixty-six that he was adopted as a baby. For all those years he thought he knew his family so it was a shock to be told otherwise. Our identity is precious and unique; to meddle with it can disturb our sense of being. It’s who we really are.

I’m glad that my eternal identity can never change or be wrenched from me. It even stays the same when we die. Saving money, buying goods, banking or investing while we’re alive will not do us any good after death. As they say, ‘You can’t take it with you!’

Jesus’ wise advice was this: Stockpile treasure in heaven where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. He said, It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place where you’ll most want to be, and end up being. 

I wonder if God is building a heavenly ‘home’ for us, using the resources that we’ve sent on ahead. What do you think?

 

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Passwords, Keys and Pin Numbers

It used to be easy to communicate with libraries, banks and such. The people who worked there recognised us and greeted everyone cheerily. Our signature and our presence was enough for them to loan us a book or hand over our money. But you know how it is these days; everything has to be extremely secure. We need pin numbers, passwords, barcodes and usernames to operate in the modern world.

One reason for this was the advent of the internet. The owners of websites gave us a game to play: choose your very own password! What a ‘privilege’, especially when we wanted to know our own business! And they didn’t like us using the same gobbledegook concoction of symbols, numbers and letters to pass into every one. No, they had to be different…so ‘they’ said. We must never write them down on a piece of paper, either. So now we old fogies have to use our brains and remember them all!

Paying bills at the post office could soon be a thing of the past and libraries might become a relic of bygone days for our great-grandchildren. I’ve heard that many people miss the familiar faces at the bank when they’re keying in their pin numbers at the machine on the wall outside. Some are in fear of losing their money and believe it or not, their identity. Does that mean we mightn’t know who we are?

It appears that this thing called identity is our most valuable possession. It can even be stolen! Has it always been such a problem for mankind? Cain was worried about the dangers he might be in because he’d murdered his brother Abel, but God promised to put a mark on him so people would know his identity.

These questions made me wonder about the fragility and real meaning of identity, especially my own. Who am I? How do other people see me? Am I unique? Even that capital I makes me special as I’m the only one who can use it for myself. I do see a few lower-case instances of it in emails, but are they intentional, or merely hasty typos?

I have my own birthdate, shared with millions of others, I presume, but not all living at the same time, surely. And there is my peculiar combination of quirks and other subtle differences, including my distinct voice and body language. Yes, my fingerprints and DNA are unique and it might be difficult to replicate my particular mix of parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. So why are people so keen to steal the identities of others?

I wonder if any of you would care to swap identities with me. Or would you prefer to take only a few pieces of my personality, my bank details or a password or two? Maybe I shouldn’t have asked you that question!!

As I pondered this potentially disruptive exercise, I felt a poem coming on – my default response when faced with such a dilemma!

In frustration after gestation

I was left a multitude of facets

skin colour, eyes and hair, personality traits

skills, limits, behaviours, character

unusual ways

facts I can’t deny

can they take these away from me?

                         *

I’m a miracle, integral, special

formed well for the journey

but finally…

what word ensures a joyful passage from this earthly life?

                       *

only one is provided

shared by all, unknown to many

it’s Jesus’ identity formed in me

heaven’s unique password

Lyn Thiele ~ October 2016

 

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Joy at the News!

A few weeks ago our church family received some wonderful news. We’d all watched a video clip of a past segment from the TV show, The Biggest Loser. A participant said that he believed he and his wife would one day have children of their own, in spite of a long wait.

And now, as the picture left the screen, here was Johnee Auvale standing before us announcing that he and his wife, Tenealle, were at last expecting their first child!!

How excited we all were! We gasped, cheered and clapped. Some jumped up from their seats with joy! All of us praised God for his great blessing on this lovely couple.

Baby bibs

Three Baby Bibs

What a desperately long time they’d waited, while dashed hopes alternated with high aspirations for their precious little one. Tenealle already had baby clothes that she’d been saving since her teens: all she’s ever wanted was to be a mother. Now in her quiet way, she joined her husband on the platform. We’d often seen her cuddling a friend’s baby and Johnee had the same habit! ‘Just getting ready’, he’d smile.

Later I thought of another father and his great expectations for the birth of his child. What plans he made! For years he dropped hints that there’d be a special baby…one day! He let many people in on his secret. They recorded his promise and composed songs about it. He hoped everyone would be glad about his baby!

He planned a spectacular drama for the arrival. A full-page newspaper advertisement wouldn’t be enough. This father organised an angel to make the announcement, accompanied by a host of other angels in a splendid tableau out in the fields. He wanted the world to know how important this moment was!

On the other hand, he had an amazing sense of the dramatic. Played out against the wonderful angelic praise and the millenniums-long anticipation, his baby was born in a lowly place. He provided no cot; the child slept in an animal feed-box. There were no fancy garments to wear, only a few spare grave-clothes. The mother was a humble girl and he entrusted his precious baby to her and an ordinary chippie! The first people to pay their respects were the excited shepherds who heard the angel’s message.

The father also made sure there were some rich men following a special star he’d placed in the sky. It would lead them right to the place where the child was. How wonderful that they arrived in perfect time with expensive gifts for the baby and his poor family. They’d soon use them to escape from a cruel, jealous king. It’s hard to understand why everyone wasn’t thrilled to hear about the birth of Jesus, the long-awaited child.

But there were still some people who believed the promises and were hoping to see him. Since the first mention of the father’s promise, a great yearning had risen up in the hearts of the people. When would the saviour come? His father was none other than the living God, and they cried, ‘How long, Lord?’

I know many couples wait with a similar longing. Johnee and Tenealle and lots of others can relate to that heartache. And God really does understand. I have a feeling that he shouts for joy when parents can hold their child in their arms and thank him for his gift. I won’t be surprised in February next year, if Johnee has his guitar out, ready to sing songs for their baby! He and Tenealle will be praising their loving heavenly father!

Posted in Devotions and Reflections, Hope, Life Challenges | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments