The Polar Express….

We took my grandson to ride the Polar Express. He was so excited! From the moment he received his golden ticket to boarding the train, his enthusiasm was contagious. He loved the cookies, the hot cocoa, and he loved when Santa made his way down our passenger car. Our seats were the very last ones on the car; so when Santa stepped on board, my grandson stood up on his seat and started yelling, “Hey Santa! I’m right here! I need you!” It was hysterical! His anticipation of the moment that Santa would get to him was palpable. When Santa finally arrived at his seat, my grandson looked at him earnestly and answered all his questions. He even stood up for a picture with him.

The Advent season marks a time of anticipation for us as we wait for the miraculous birth of our Savior Jesus. I wonder if we are excited about this gift or if we have allowed the pressures of the season to distract us? Watching my grandson on the train was such an eye-opening moment! His little mouth cried out his biggest need in that moment. He needed Santa to see him!

I have a big need too, and so do you! We are in desperate need of a Savior! When I really think about it, I want to be just like my grandson this Christmas. standing up on my seat, joining the angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14 NIV) I want to be calling out to Jesus, “Look at me Jesus! Here I am! I need you! I need Your light, Your hope, Your forgiveness, Your grace, Your sacrifice. Your joy!” As I look upon the face of that baby in the manger, I want to be filled with such excitement that I can not sit still. I want to look earnestly at His face and open my heart to His presence.

For me to proclaim my need for a Savior, it means that I have come face to face with my own sin and my inability to save myself. It means that I realize that my only hope is in that baby boy lying in a lowly manger that will grow up, stretch out His hands, and conquer death for me. It means that I am willing to place Him first in my life, trusting in His Sovereign will, his goodness and love, even when I don’t understand the circumstances that I am facing.

Yes, we are all in need of a Savior to see us. We are in need of a Savior to rescue us. We are in need of a Savior to love us without condition. And we receive this precious gift on Christmas. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6 NIV

So, grab some hot cocoa and get on the train. We truly have the one and only golden ticket in Jesus. It’s the only ticket that matters. Happy Birthday Jesus! We need you!

The Big Red Bow…

I’ve mentioned that my daughter is 16 years old. Her 16th birthday was just a couple of weeks ago and my husband and I surprised her on the morning of her birthday with a car. It was one of those rare “movie” moments. She walked out to find a cute, Volkswagen beetle parked in our driveway with a big red bow on top. Her exact words to me were, “are you kidding me”, as the reality of what she was seeing in front of her began to sink in. My husband showed her all the features of her new “ride” and we told her that if she passed her driving test that afternoon that she could drive her car to softball practice. She replied, wide-eyed, “BY MYSELF?” Oh, my husband and I just died laughing. What a great morning! What a great memory! I told my daughter to hold onto this fun memory and lock it in her heart. Yes, it is important to stop and take notice when the big red bow appears in life.

It made me ponder my own big red bow moments. I am enormously lucky to have a mom who provided many of these moments, especially during my childhood. My man has locked a few big red bow moments into my heart as well. But, the sweetest big red bow moments have come from my Father in heaven. The best and most important one being the gift of His Son, my Savior, who sacrificed His life to redeem mine. In fact, when you really think about it, big red bow moments in life are a result of Jesus Christ. His goodness. His love. His grace. His moments to give to you.

Yes, it is important to stop and take notice when the big red bow appears in life. These moments are just around the corner, when you least expect them and often appear when you need them most. They can leave you stunned with joy. They can bring you to your knees in thanksgiving. And they can revive you on a dark day by just conjuring the memory back up. You see, that is just how our God works. He is Hope.

I encourage you to enter into each day looking for the big red bow.  I am convinced that He has one to offer, big or small, when we walk with Him and let Him guide our steps.

By the way, my daughter did drive, “all by herself”, later that day. Actually, she wasn’t all by herself. (None of us ever are.) Her heavenly Father was watching, grinning and enjoying that first ride with her!

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Romans 8:31-32 NLT

Be joyful!