Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. I love the spicy smells, sweet treats, and familiar carols. But most of all, I love the time I get to spend with my family.
When I was younger, our family had special traditions for the holiday. We’d unwrap one present on Christmas Eve—although we already knew what it would be: cozy, new pajamas. We’d put them on, then gather in the living room to listen as my mother read our favorite Christmas stories. When story time was over, the lights were turned out and we sat admiring the glow of the lights on the tree. A feeling of peace descended over us.
One year, however, my dad had a new idea. He hitched a large inflatable raft to the back of his pickup truck with a long tow rope. “Let’s go sledding!” he invited. We quickly changed into our snowsuits and waddled outside. Flopping down in the raft, we grabbed the handles and hung on tightly. Dad revved the engine and away we flew, plowing through the drifts on our quiet country road.
On our last turn my dad decided to take a shortcut through a cornfield. We slid happily along until a sharp piece of cornstalk stabbed through the bottom of the raft, slowly deflating it. We were unaware of this until exclamations of “Ow!” and “Ouch!” rang out. Our shrinking “sled” hit every bump in the field. We all screamed for Dad to stop. It took a little while, but he finally heard us and stopped. We folded the raft, climbed into the pickup and headed home, laughing and rubbing our sore spots. Years have passed and now I have children of my own. I don’t always get to spend Christmas with my parents. But I do cherish the times we get to visit together.
I can’t help thinking that Jesus feels the same way. It’s been such a long time since He’s seen His family. He can’t wait to share heaven and eternity with us! Paul, the apostle, wrote: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him,” (2 Cor. 2:9, NLT). I’m planning to be there. . . are you?
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