Monday, December 8, 2008

My Soul Magnifies the Lord

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my savior” – Luke 1:46-47

As the year draws to a close I look back and see all we have come through since this journey began early this year. I’ve been feeling lately like my get up and go has got up and went! The holidays have landed upon us and I watched as the neighborhood started lighting up around us with festive trimmings. I told myself that I might skip all the hoopla this year. I entertained thoughts of throwing a little 3 foot quickie tree on the coffee table and calling it a day. Surely everyone would understand!

Until I talked to my long lost cousin Lydia. She called to see if she and her Hubby Mike, who is my cousin, could make a day trip to visit Johnny just for a few hours this past weekend. Johnny has had it extra rough since his last chemo last Monday. His blood platelets are down, his stomach stays upset and he barely eats each day. And then there is the never ending pain. So they desperately wanted to see him but to not impose.

But the four of us go way back. Lydia was supposed to be my maid of honor at my wedding but Mike got transferred unexpectedly. They ended up in New Mexico for the last decade or two so we had grown apart through time and distance. But they moved back home to Varnville, S.C. last year after my Aunt Ruby died, to take care of Mike’s two adult handicapped brothers left behind. Obviously these two have hearts of gold and love, to uproot their lives and make such a tremendous sacrifice.

I love the people in life who understand you can talk the talk, and you can walk the walk, but its better to walk the talk, then to talk the walk. These two are walkers! So we really looked forward to seeing them. When we talked on the phone Friday we were talking about putting up decorations and dreading it and I told Lydia my plan. She paused and said “Rene, I really think you should decorate - especially this year.”

The beauty of that suggestion was – they were coming in two days so that gave me a short deadline to rally with. I’m an adrenaline junkie that has always put off projects til the last minute and my last minute had arrived to whip the house into a winter wonderland. So Saturday morning I got up and hit the ground running. Lydia had not seem my dream house yet and I was so excited to show her. We had dreamed together by her pool one summer when I went to visit them while in college. So I knew she would love and appreciate everything she saw.

This made me look at our home through fresh eyes. I worked from 10am til 10pm Saturday sprucing up and dragging the tree out of the garage, and the hundreds of ornaments, and yards of lights and bows. I even got fresh hanging pots of red and white impatiens flowers, to adorn the porch and provide more color. Before I knew it Christmas spirit was rushing through my veins. It was contagious. Johnny watched and laughed as I buzzed around whistling and singing carols as I worked.

As I worked I thought about that Christmas in 2004 when it was me laying on the couch-bed where Johnny now lays all day. I’ve come a long way in four years since my Christmas miracle saved me from a life threatening reaction to the chemo, that put me in the hospital that Christmas. I never dreamed I would be nursing Johnny through a Christmas miracle of his own. But here I am waiting to find another light in the darkness.

Because I believe there is a light in the darkness of everybody’s life. No matter how bad things get or how hopeless a situation seems, or how much one may suffer – the light is always there. We are always standing on a threshold of choosing the light or not. Our perspective and choice determines our destiny. Agony or ecstasy. Winning or losing. Happy or sad. Leader or follower.

I think the greatest gift we can give back to our savior this holiday season is to lead souls to Christ by following His light. I heard a great story by Rick Warren of “Purpose Driven Life. He was explaining his family Christmas tradition that dates back to when he was a boy. They honor the baby Jesus with a birthday party complete with cake and ice cream! Then they form a circle and each person gives a “gift of the spirit” to Jesus by telling Him what they will be doing for him in the coming year. Each person has a personal mission.

How great is that for remembering what Christmas is really about? What we can give to Christ rather than what we are getting from Santa? Oh yeah! It’s not all about me!

So my Christmas challenge for each of you is this. At the end of the day every day of the coming year ask yourself “Did I GET more today or did I GIVE more?” I hope you will give more of yourself in small everyday ways to the people in your life that you encounter.

Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us that “it is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself…serve and thou shall be served.”

So how bright is your light this Christmas? Is your Christian character showing? Do they know you’re a Christian by your love? Lead the way and make the first step by example. Remember, you may be the only bible some people ever read. So let your light shine. Let your life shine as bright as the Christmas lights on your tree.

When Mary, the Mother of Jesus found out she would be giving birth and that her life was about to become very unpredictable she didn’t ask how hard it was going to be - she simply said “My soul magnifies the Lord…”

We continue to magnify the Lord with all our hearts and souls around this house. We know God is in control. We feel surrounded by angels and prayers from all corners coming from other hearts everywhere. I know I’ve thanked you all bunches already, but I just can’t thank you enough for continuing to care and keep those cards and letters coming!

Everyday is like Christmas around here each time we go to the mailbox. And isn’t that the way it was meant to be? Johnny sends Christmas greetings. My Christmas wish for you all is, that you will find Christmas in every day also – not just once a year.

Holiday Blessings for a Merry Christmas!



Pro Color Painting & Home Repair said...

Christmas greetings....God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Bless you both! I get so much inspiration to be a better person from your posts. What a Godly example you are to your daughter and what an amazing wife you are to your husband! Thank you for sharing with us in blogland!

Merry Christmas!

Rene Williams said...

Thanks to all of you who care enough to share our journey. You lift us up like angels do "lest our foot dash the stone."

Beautiful Christmas Blessings,


Heather Thorne said...

Rene and Johnny, just wanted to tell you that you continue to be in my prayers. I've so enjoyed getting to know Scarlett and her sweet spirit. I feel like I've known her forever and wish we didn't live so far away from each other.

Thanks for your inspiration and encouragement. You are not alone in your journey!

Merry Christmas and God bless you!