by Nan Jones @NanJonesAuthor
This is a Christmas story.
Actually it’s a story of an amazing, resilient family glued together by God’s love.
Several years ago our family suffered enormous loss and upheaval. With Christmas approaching apprehension filled my heart. How could we possibly celebrate? How could we find joy and laughter when our hearts lay tattered and torn at our feet? Even purchasing gifts for my three adult children and young grandson seemed impossible.
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But God had a plan.
And His grace definitely proved to be sufficient.
Christmas morning came and the kids with their significant others arrived, each a little more solemn than usual. Hugs lasted a bit longer. “Merry Christmas” was spoken in quiet whispers.
We gathered in the living room. I served coffee and hot chocolate as my grandson began passing out gifts.
Out of the corner of my eye I watched. And waited.
And then the laughter erupted.
“Oh man! I got trail mix!”
“What? Homemade macaroni and cheese? My favorite! Thanks, Mom.”
Chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and kettle-cooked potato chips were among the Christmas gifts I purchased with emergency food stamps. Rather than being appalled, the kids thought it was hysterical, taking turns trying to guess what the next package held.
We laughed until our faces hurt.
It was so good to laugh again.
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I thought that was our Christmas fun, but God wasn’t finished …
The girls and I headed for the kitchen to finish up Christmas dinner. We heard whispers coming from the men, their footsteps on the stairs.
A few moments later a full-out nerf-gun war broke out. The guys were whooping and hollering as foam “bullets” whizzed through the house. Grown men raced to hide behind doors only to peek out to take a shot at their opponent.
My grandson ambushed me from behind when I bent over to check the ham in the oven.
Yes! He did.
You would have thought my home was a fort for an army of ten-year-olds, instead of a Christmas haven with grown men! All the stress the boys had carried the past several months slid off them like a snake shedding its skin. They were free. They were happy.
And they were having crazy fun!
I’m sure their whoops could be heard throughout our mountain hollar.
I believe the ruckus was heard in the throne room of our Heavenly Father, too.
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And I believed He smiled.
Life’s expectations go unmet sometimes and sometimes we spiral into a deep, dark pit of despair. But, you know what?
Nothing separates us from our Father’s love and His tender watchcare. No thing.
He delights in our laughter.
He restores what the enemy has stolen
And He lets us be kids again when the strains from a fallen world get to be too much.
No family is perfect — we all have our quirks and idiosyncrasies. We all have unpleasant issues from time to time, but family is forever — an eternal gift from the Lord.
Not to mention, a great source of laughter.
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