Every year around Christmas I choose either a word or a scripture verse that I sense God is wanting to speak over myself and my family in the coming year. Last year as 2019 was waning down, I felt no such inclination. I was a little burnt out from another trying year and just didn’t sense that God had a word or message for me. Or maybe, truthfully, I just didn’t care.
As many know, a huge bright spot in my life are my five grandchildren; four grand-daughters and one grandson. Since the twins, Sydney and Sarah, first entered my life at the age of five, when they moved out west with their momma who was marrying our son, they stole my heart, captured my love and brightened my days. In the next few years, three more little bright spots have come along and all are the lights of my life.
So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that it would be through one of those little lights that God would provide me with my ‘word’ for 2020. We had been decorating the Christmas tree that day and I had been handing them the ornaments. When it was done, I noticed that one of the girls had found an old sign that I’d forgotten I had and placed it prominently in the middle of the tree. PEACE, it read.
And there was my word.
I knew it came from God straight through my grandchild’s innocent gesture and so I accepted it as my word for the year. Deep inside though I wished it had been something more exciting, more in line with my need to figure out where I fit in this life of mine that had seemed to stall. So I mulled over ‘why that word?' a little bit, feeling it was somewhat out of step.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. We all know what happened in early 2020. And suddenly, peace, which had never been my strong point, was in even shorter supply in my life. My husband and I both struggled to adjust and figure out what the new restrictions and eventual shut downs meant for us and our family. In a nut shell it meant: extra precautions and restrictions for my husband on the road as he was a semi driver and therefore an essential employee. He would come home mentally exhausted from a week’s worth of dealing with it.
I am one who has some medical vulnerabilities so it took some time to figure out just what risks I should take and which I shouldn’t and also put extra pressure on my husband since he was concerned about not bringing the virus home.
Of course, there were the restrictions of not being able to see those lovely little bright spots in our lives I mentioned earlier including a much anticipated visit from our son and his wife and our little grand-daughter from Ontario.
Summer lifted restrictions somewhat and at times it seemed as things were ‘sort of’ normal. Of course they weren’t though and suddenly we found ourselves in the dreaded state of my husband having to get tested for Covid. Way back in January I had dared to pray that God would give us some extra time together this year, but him staying in his semi and me in the house with only our back yard for visiting and shared meals, all six feet apart, was not exactly what I had ordered!! My birthday, in which I had hoped we would go somewhere interesting, ended up being held on our back deck. But I admit that with the addition of the Creators stars and some fun pictures we took and birthday cake in the dark it turned out kind of charming. Of course the great blessing was that he tested negative and was able to go back to work and that he still had work of any kind to do at all!
We are both a little wearier at the end of this year then when it all began last spring. The most crushing blow has come in the form of realizing we cannot travel to see our son in the military and his family, for Christmas and he deploys overseas for six months in January. It’ll be a long wait to see him now and our daughter-in-law and that precious little two year old, as it’s already been over a year. It crushed my usual Christmas spirit some. I wasn’t even planning on putting up a tree.
But God, in all of His concern for every detail in my life has arranged an unexpected visit from my three grandchildren tomorrow (we are currently allowed five in a household in Sk) and guess who will be helping me decorate that tree?
Peace. It’s such a small little word. But so mighty. When I took the sign off my tree last Christmas I kept it up in my living room all year as a reminder of what God wanted to provide for me. Many times this year I’ve called on Jesus to step out and calm the storm.
“Peace be still,” He said. (Mark 4:39 NIV)
And it is.