Saturday, December 28, 2019

Remembering and Anticipating

Photo by Richard Collett 2019
As I walked around our tree this Christmas Eve, eagerly awaiting the arrival of our son, daughter-in-law, and dog, I enjoyed reminiscing of Christmases past and looking forward to future celebrations. The brilliant light radiating from the tree invited me to pause for a moment and reflect in the beauty and special meaning of its ornaments.

The angel atop the tree, proclaiming the Good News of the Saviour’s birth (Luke 2:10-11). Mary, Joseph, and the Holy Child in the manger (Luke 2:12-16), because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7). May the room of my heart always be open and welcoming to receive Him. The miniature Bible, for Jesus is the Word Who became flesh (John 1:1-14). 

The cake inscribed with “Happy Birthday Jesus,” reminding us that He is the reason for the season. The cross, because He was born to die, to be the perfect sacrifice to save us from our sins (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 7:27; 9:26). And, praise God, the empty tomb! He rose from the dead, proving He was the Son of God, to give all who trust Him eternal life! (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 3:16).

Yet the ornaments also reminded me that He came to give us not only eternal life, but abundant life here and now (John 10:10), from the moment we are born again (John 3:3-8). Every ornament that caught my gaze reminded me of a special, unique blessing. Those given to me long ago call to mind the love, thoughtfulness and generosity of the givers – my mother, and many others no longer with us. Many left this earth long before I was saved, so I don’t know whether they knew Christ, but I hope they did so that we will meet again in Heaven. 

A porcelain medallion, “Our First Christmas Together,” for the year God brought my husband and me together, and a key chain from San Juan, Puerto Rico, where we met. That year completely changed my life from bleak hopelessness to the thrill of new love and anticipation for a bright future. 

A silly felt Rudolph reindeer we picked up at a McDonald’s pit stop as Richard drove me and all my belongings from New York to Florida to begin a new life here with him.  Rudolph sat on the dashboard throughout the trip like a protective watchdog, guarding us through getting lost in Newark, snow storms, engine trouble, and finally having the trailer containing all my furniture stolen. It was decades before either of us would be saved, but still that reindeer reminds me of God’s provision (Psalm 37:25, Matthew 6:8) protection (Psalm 91:10-12), and perfect plan (Jeremiah 29:11), working all things together for good for those foreknown to be His children (Romans 8:28). 

Photo ornaments capturing our son as a toddler; our dance performance in Russia in 1992 as the only amateurs on a professional cultural exchange tour sharing American style dance with thousands of Russians; our audition for Silver Stars in 2014 that resulted in a solo performance at the Grand Old Opry. 

Mementos of our son as he grew from a precocious child to a Godly young man: first the curious infant bouncing and exploring on his walker. Then a felt London bobby, to commemorate our Christmas shopping trip to the toy department at Harrod’s when he was four. A wooden piano and guitar inscribed with his name, for God blessed him with musical gifts from an early age. Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, representing a dance my son and I performed when he was only six years old. 

The ornaments he made us of popsicle sticks painstakingly glued together and painted as a snowflake, and a felt mitten proclaiming Psalm 103:5: He fills my life with good things. How very fitting! Later an eagle that he traced on metal and inscribed with “On Eagle’s Wings,” (Isaiah 40:31) to commemorate our Theatre Arts dance to that song. 

A porcelain ornament of a front door, with the address and date of his first apartment, painted in gold. And now he has embarked on a successful career, has his own house, and is married, but praise God, he and his lovely bride still spend quality family time with us, including our joyous Christmas celebration this year! 
Ornaments symbolizing our dance ministry to glorify God: a Nativity and star for “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night.” A heart bursting with flames, and an ice crystal in blue glass, for “Fire of the Spirit” (“melts the heart of ice”). A butterfly for “Transformed,” representing the change in every believer who becomes a new creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). 

A graceful ballerina and toy soldier, reminding us of “Christmas Toys Come Alive,” portraying the change from being dead in sin to having new life in Christ (Romans 6:11). And ornaments from places we have been blessed to visit across the globe, whether performing in Japan, Hong Kong, and Italy; hiking through national parks in Utah; or sightseeing in Ireland, France and Switzerland. 

Truly God has given us richly all things to enjoy! (1 Timothy 6:17) He has entrusted us with many treasures here on earth (James 1:17), but these are only temporary. May we store up treasures in Heaven to enjoy throughout eternity, and may our heart be in heavenly places until then (Matthew 6:19-21). 

My stroll around the Christmas tree and down Memory Lane brought to mind a much earlier time -- the evening before our son was born. I walked around the nursery, which we had lovingly prepared and decorated, and I sat in the rocker where I would cradle him in my arms. As I checked all the drawers I had filled with baby clothes, diapers, and other necessities, I imagined what life would be like once he was actually here. 

What glorious anticipation! And yet, there is an even more momentous event I am awaiting – the return of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to call up His children at the Rapture to meet with Him in the air! (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) Then in a moment we shall all be changed, given glorified bodies that will never age, weep, feel pain, or die (1 Corinthians 15:51-54). Then we shall rule and reign with Him and our loved ones in Him throughout eternity! 

Come quickly, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20) And while we await your return, may we remember your faithfulness (1 Samuel 7:12; Psalm 30:4; 102:12; John 14:26), abundant blessings, and freely given gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). May we live each day as if it were our last, doing all to your glory!

Wishing a Happy New Year to all! May we thank Him daily for all His blessings, looking forward to seeing His perfect plan unfold!

© 2016 Laurie Collett
Edited and reposted from the archives

children's ministry blogs


Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
An excellent blog as you reminisce on Christmas past. But as you say, getting lost in Newark, snow storms, engine trouble and having your truck with all your livelihood stolen, reminds me that unless there are valleys in life, there can't be any hills either.
I firmly believe that from eternity past God had first foreknew, then predestined us to conform to his Son. My childhood was a tough one, as at school, I was not that popular in the classroom and furthermore, I was rejected by all team sport captains.
Looking back, I have wondered whether the adversary had suspicions about God's predestination, and in addition, he tried to convince me that he didn't exist.
I wish both your husband and you a very happy and prosperous New Year. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Thank you for your encouraging comment, and for sharing your childhood experience. In elementary and high school, I was a year younger than my classmates, unpopular and terrible at sports -- always the last to be chosen when the captains selected their teammates. But God had a plan involving that and all other hardships, and worked all things together for my good and His glory.
Happy New Year and all blessings to you and Alex for 2020 and beyond!

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
I enjoyed reading your post and your memories of all the good things in your life, and the way everything in your room as you celebrate the true reason for this season speaks of our Lord. I also agree with Frank where he uses a very good simile about there not being any mountains without there being valleys. Time on earth is like a puff of smoke and it is very important that we share as much as we are able to of the gospel of Salvation through our Lord Jesus. God bless you and your husband and have a very blessed time with your family celebrating the coming of a very Happy new year.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda, I am blessed to hear that you enjoyed the post! So true, that our time here is very short, and what matters is what we are able to do for His kingdom, with the right motive. God bless you and your lovely ministry and Happy New Year to you and yours,