Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus…

I am grateful for miracles.

I am grateful that I will see Katherine tonight, who was taken to the hospital last night to get some relief from her congestive heart failure. I am grateful for the reminder of what my Mom went through.

I am grateful for a little baby girl who is struggling to breathe and her heart is working so hard to keep her alive in this moment. I am grateful that God can take broken hearts and give us His…

*****

I am grateful that when I was younger, I was a little crafty. I could macrame plant holders, I could cross stitch some fairly difficult designs, I could candlewick pillows.

Garfield cross stitch

Lesson learned: don’t always give your creations away. Save one for yourself.

I am grateful for memories of childhood fun. Angela, do you remember this?

We used to take old candles and melt drip them onto bottles or a stolen orange cone from some highway. Now THAT was a one-of-a-kind awesomeness. What were we thinking. We could’ve burned the house down. Those were the days…

I am grateful for memories of The Emporium in downtown Hutchinson. I loved going there to look at the blacklight posters.

I am grateful for memories of my two little girls singing a song about rocking little baby Jesus, both of them holding their little dolls. All because Grandma requested it.

I am grateful for snow globes.

I am grateful for Johnson Christmas reunions at The Better Book Room.

*****

I am grateful for Christmas programs past, those that I directed. I am grateful for the memory of the year at CBA when we filled the gym with cedar trees for a Christmas tree theme – it smelled so good – and one tree in the middle of the “stage” was pruned into the shape of the cross. I think that was one of my very favorite programs. Another favorite year was at Elyria, when the elementary students filled the balcony all the way around the auditorium, but the junior high and high school began the last song on the stage, with one soloist singing “Go Light Your World,” holding one lighted candle. After the first verse, she lit the next person’s candle and slowly the candles were all lit and the voices joined in the song until there were 200 young voices all around the auditorium singing,

‘Cause we are a family whose hearts are blazing
So let’s raise our candles and light up the sky
Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus
Make us a beacon in darkest times

Carry your candle, and run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, deceived and poor
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world

And finally, I am grateful today for this incredibly thoughtful story by Ann Voskamp. There are many things in my life that I struggle with accepting, so many things that have happened and words that have been said, and my first thoughts are angry, hurt, bitter ones, accompanied by “It’s not fair.” We all experience sadness and regret and hold grudges to a certain extent and find it very difficult to let go and forgive. I love how she reached out today with her words and grabbed me by my heartstrings. Here is an excerpt, followed by the link to the story with pictures. This lesson will linger this month…

Your heart can’t forgive the words that should never have been said, your heart can’t forgive the remark that was more like a blade and left a mark how many years later. Your heart can’t forgive the step-mother, the side joke, the backhand, the over-the-top family that just gets under your skin.

Your heart can’t forgive. That’s why He gave you His.

When you don’t think you can forgive what she’s said about you —-

When you don’t think you can forget what he’s done to you –

When it’s His heart beating in you — you can forgive in a heart beat.

I look up from the sink.

The Christmas tree is there by the fireplace — and it’s right there, what all the hard relationships, gatherings, families need at Christmas:

The Tree is where God’s grace does heart transplants:

God takes broken hearts —- and gives you His.

When your heart hurts for a miracle this Christmas – by Ann Voskamp

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