I go to a church that has a wonderful women’s ministry. Every year they have a Christmas fellowship for the women of the church. Last year, Mom went with me and we had a wonderful time together. I was always so proud to introduce Mom to others, and she loved meeting and fellowshipping with other Christian women.
This year they had another Christmas party planned, and I knew I could not go by myself. I knew I would be flooded with memories of my mom and I sitting together in the sanctuary. I almost didn’t go at all.
But my sweet sister said she would go with me, and I am so glad she did. We had a wonderful time together. What would I do without her?
The theme for the night was “The Peace of Christmas”.
We ate all the goodies that each of us brought and then gathered in the sanctuary to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Our women’s ministry leader, Judy, opened the service with this verse…
“My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you, let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.” John 14:27
Of ALL the verses in the bible, I couldn’t believe this was the one I was hearing! That verse had been Mom’s “life verse”, and it was definitely the verse that she clung to during her death. I have never known a peace like I saw in my mom’s life as she faced death. It’s a peace that I long for and pray for each day.
As I heard Judy read that verse, I almost smiled. If was as if I could hear Mom saying, “Traci, are you listening? Don’t be afraid, sweetie, don’t be troubled, God is with you. Trust Him.”
And I felt His peace wash over me as I was reminded that He will take care of me.
Our women’s ministry also creates a Devotional Guide for Women that includes a collection of devotionals to help prepare our hearts for Christmas. It is written by the ladies of our church, and I love reading it each year.
This year, Judy asked me to write one of the devotionals for the book, and I said “yes”.
Of course I wrote it about my mom, and I wanted to share it with you. It was titled…
A Midnight Clear Moment
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them…” Luke 2:8,9
Have you ever thought about what it would have been like to be a shepherd on that clear moonlit night? It was a night like any other night. The shepherds were tending to their sheep as usual.
Then something sudden and unexpected happened. Angels appeared announcing the good news of Christ’s birth. Not only were the shepherd terrified; they probably were confused too. They may have wondered why God chose to reveal his amazing plan to them. Shouldn’t He have chosen a group of people more important and influential? It just didn’t make sense.
But then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” The shepherds didn’t need to fear this unexpected news, for it would result in great joy for all people. They heard the good news, trusted God, and traveled to Bethlehem to experience something far greater than they could have ever imagined….the birth of Jesus!
Our lives can be a lot like that of the shepherds. We go about our daily routines doing what we always do, when something totally unexpected happens. And a lot of times it just doesn’t make sense. That’s how I felt when I found out my mom had terminal cancer. Just like the shepherds, I was terrified. Have you ever been there?
But during her illness, Mom told me something that I will never forget. She said, “I may not understand God, but I trust Him.” She was not afraid of dying because she knew the “good news of great joy that will be for all people.” She knew that because of Jesus she would have life everlasting, and she was able to experience a “peace that passes all understanding” even in the darkest of nights.
Dear Jesus, when things happen to us that we don’t expect or understand, I pray that you would help us to trust you—knowing that you will bless our lives in ways that we could never have imagined. Thank you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
To all of my sweet blogging friends, if something unexpected or difficult has come into your life, I pray that you would know that God loves you, He knows what you are going through, and you can trust Him.
Have a blessed day,