Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)
TITLE: From Mania to a Manger
By Coleene VanTilburg
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November, 2003…the year of the fires; devastating the hillsides all around us and the adjoining counties. Ash darkened the sky thickly coating our cars. Thankful we did not live near the hills; the fires were other people’s tragedies. Until one morning, two days before Thanksgiving, other people’s tragedies did become ours as well. Up in smoke and melted were many plastic boxes and crates of Christmas, stored in the garage. (The garage, two bedrooms, partial living room and my roof were gone too.) I would later sift through the rubble to salvage a few items, in unbelief at what was barely recognizable.
Restoration was a long process which involved many moves and many tears. God showed me through his merciful patience, that my priorities and relationship with Him is what really needed to be restored. Four years later, we faced another Christmas where what is in our heart becomes so much more significant than what we may see. We had lost our oldest son earlier in the year after a battle with an illness he acquired when he was four years of age. He was twenty-six when he passed on. As the holidays approached, all that decorating now came down to a few salvaged items and very few replaced. None of it really seemed important except for one thing. How it survived…well, God only knows. A simple wooden cut out sleigh, glued together in a cub scout meeting, painted as an eight year old would do with holly and berries and a jute twine hanger; was this Christmas’s most precious possession. My son’s chunky-cheeked face in his scout uniform posed in front of a Christmas tree, framed with matting that was singed on one side, was glued to the front. The keepsake gift need only to stand alone next to my mother’s Bible opened to the 23rd Psalm. Christmas will always be simpler now, and what better way to truly worship and focus on the Lord’s gift to us, both the tangible and the spiritual promise of eternal life.
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