“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him.” Isaiah 30:18
As the Christmas season beckoned at my door, I could not help but reminisce about the memories of Christmas past. A lot of my flashbacks revolve around running to abuse shelters from my stepfather who was physically abusive. Even when things seemed calm on my home front, I could always count on the never-ending drama within my family to spice up the holiday season. Holiday drama and my family seem to go together like macaroni and cheese. While the majority of my early memories could put anyone in therapy, I did think about one Christmas that still puts a smile on my face even to this day.
It was the Christmas that my aunt, uncle, and cousins drove 12 plus hours in the sleet and snow to be with us during the holidays. I was in sixth grade and I still remember the smell of burning wood in the fireplace and the amazing meals my mom prepared. But, the best part of that Christmas was a present I received. To the outward eye it appeared that my aunt gave me a game, “Stop Thief” by Parker Brothers, but it was much more than that.
You see, that evening my family gathered around the dining room table and played until the wee hours in the morning. The entire room was filled with laughter as we chased the fictitious thief all over the game board. As an abused child who later nearly took her life at the age of 15, I held onto the laughter of that night during some of the hardest times in my life. The memory of that Christmas is still with me today. I am not sure when it happened or which state I lived in at the time, but I lost my most prized game, “Stop Thief.”
Now in my thirties, I decided it was time to replace my favorite game. My research uncovered that Parker Brothers no longer makes the game, and to my dismay, “Stop Thief “ is now considered a vintage game! My husband suggested that I attempt to locate the vintage game on E-Bay. I held my breath as I typed in the words “Stop Thief” on the E-Bay website, and there it appeared before my eyes, not only one, but several “Stop Thief” games were being sold that very day. I placed my highest bid, and to my surprise, won the game. I eagerly anticipated its arrival, and just three days later it was placed at my front door in Atlanta, Georgia. I opened the package, pulled out the game and saw my very own handwriting on the front cover that stated, “I love Michael Jackson” in red ink. The memory of using my brand new ink pen with multiple ink colors flooded my mind and I remembered choosing red because Michael Jackson wore a red leather coat in his Thriller video. Tears filled my eyes as I realized that I had not just received any “Stop Thief” game, but my original game from my childhood.
It was a miracle and I knew who had done it for me- my sweet Jesus. I had known of His love for me, but the fact that He found my original game that I had lost a long time ago is beyond amazing. God led a stranger in Illinois to end up with my game, sell it years later on E-Bay, and then have it delivered several states away to my front door. That shows me the restoration power of God! Joel 2:21-26 talks about how God will restore the years the locusts have eaten. I don’t know what you may have lost over the years; maybe the locusts of life have stolen from you as well. I encourage you to ask God to restore unto you things that you have lost. God is able to not only restore former things, but He always brings things back with increase beyond its original state. Jesus truly is the restorer of all things lost. After all, we once were lost, but now we are found.
Lord, I declare that the enemy must give back everything he has stolen from me! I proclaim that 2009 will be a year filled with the restoration power of God. I ask that you restore my body, my mind, my spirit, my relationships, my family, my reputation, my finances and anything else needing the restoration power of God. I love you Jesus and it because of your love that I believe 2009 will be the best year of my life.” Amen.
Tip #2 On how to keep Christ in Christmas: Helping those less fortunate.
TWT Reader, Gracie shares her idea, “my grand daughter wants to give Jesus a present, when my daughter asked me how I thought she should do that, I explained that Jesus would love to use our hearts and hands to do something really nice for someone that has no one. They are taking socks to a nursing home to give to residents. They have decided to “gift” Jesus every year.”