From all of us on the "Stitches" blog team to you and yours, we just want to wish you a Very Merry Christmas!
I hope that you all have had an amazing Christmas celebration with loved ones, and have been touched at some point with the true Spirit of Christmas.
My oldest daughter told me that early this Christmas morning (4 a.m., to be exact), she was awakened. She felt like God was speaking to her heart, and the only message was "I Love You!". In that moment, Christmas all fell into place for her. All the carols, all the gifts, all the well-wishes from loved ones, all the nights at our church's live depiction of the life of Christ.. birth through death. It all was summed up by that one message from the Creator of the universe... I LOVE YOU.
I was reminded of the following story I received this week from a friend. My Christmas gift to you, a beautiful illustration of the love God has for us.. for you.
There was once a man who didn't believe in the incarnation of Christ or the spiritual meaning of Christmas, and was skeptical about God.
He and his family lived in a farm community. His wife was a devout believer and diligently raised her children in her faith. He sometimes gave her a hard time about her faith and mocked her observance of Christmas. "It's all nonsense - why would God lower himself and become a human like us?! It's such a ridiculous story!" he said.
One snowy Christmas Eve, she and the children left for church while he stayed home. After they had left, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening.
Then he heard a loud thump, something hitting against the window. And another thump. He looked outside but couldn't see. So he ventured outside to see. In the field near his house he saw, of all the strangest things, a flock of birds! They were apparently flying to look for a warmer area down south, but had been caught in the snow storm.
The storm had become too blinding and violent for the birds to fly or see their way. They were stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter, unable to do more than flutter their wings and fly in aimless circles.
He had compassion for them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself, "The barn would be a great place for them to stay! It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm."
So he opened the barn doors for them. He waited, watching them, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But they didn't notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. He moved closer toward them to get their attention, but they just moved away from him out of fear. He went into the house and came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread trail to the barn. They still didn't catch on.
Starting to get frustrated, he went over and tried to shoo them toward the barn. They panicked and scattered into every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where there was warmth, safety and shelter.
Feeling totally frustrated, he exclaimed, "Why don't they follow me? Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm? How can I possibly get them into the one place to save them?" He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. He said to himself, "How can I possibly save them? The only way would be for me to become a bird. If only I could become like one of them! I could speak their language and they could understand me and trust me. Then I could save them! They would follow me and I would lead them to safety."
At that moment, he stopped and considered what he had just said. The words reverberated in his mind: "If only I could become like one of them - then I could save them." As he pondered those words, the bells from the little church where his family was attending the Christmas Eve Service begin to peal the melody to "Joy to the World". And then, at last, he understood God's heart towards mankind as he fell on his knees in the snow and worshipped Him.