What’s in God’s Backpack for You?

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As a child I was devoted to Santa Claus, especially each December, when my hometown hosted a special Christmas event. Kids could see a free movie at the Rex Theater the Saturday before Christmas. Afterward, we’d mill around the snowy street waiting for Santa. The adults were shopping, going in and out of the stores, such as Rickford’s department store, Gabe’s Grocery and LaMoure Drug. The loudspeakers that blared Christmas songs would crackle to a halt so the winner of the free frozen turkey could be announced. Somehow, it seemed like the same person got it every year.

There were no scoffers when Santa arrived in the back of a pickup truck. From the tiniest child to the biggest bully, we crowded around to receive a gift from him. Generally, the brown paper bags he handed out were filled with curly candy, assorted nuts, a candy cane and an orange or apple. When he shouted, “Ho-ho-ho!” he sounded a lot like the fellow who delivered fuel oil.

Today, the picture we have of Santa dressed in a red suit with a full white beard, black boots and a pack bulging with gifts is mostly derived from the 1823 poem, “The Night Before Christmas.” The poem mentions St. Nicholas, who was a bishop of the early Christian church located in Asia Minor, which is now Turkey. He was known to be kind and generous, and there are many stories about the miracles he performed.

Both Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas represent God’s giving, loving, and generous nature. Did you know God has a backpack bulging with gifts for his children? Here are just a few gifts God has for you:

  1. A locket. If He wore a locket, it would have your picture in it.
  2. An eraser. He forgives our sins and erases them forever.
  3. Heavenly bubble bath. He gives freedom from shame.
  4. An electric train. The journey through life with Him is wonderful.
  5. A dollhouse. He has a mansion waiting for us in heaven.
  6. A flashlight. He lights the way we should go.
  7. A blanket. God gives us safety and security forever.
  8. A diamond. The hope He gives is as strong, beautiful and enduring as the Hope Diamond.
  9. Adoption papers. God chooses to bring us into His family.
  10. The Hallelujah Chorus. He puts a song in our hearts.

Today, Christmas is clearly out of control. Stores stock red and green items six months in advance of the holiday. Halloween and Christmas items share the same shelves. Thanksgiving is all but forgotten.

Still, people around the world celebrate Christmas, which comes fully loaded with promises of peace on earth and the joy of giving. In Christmas, hope is found in the silent night of winter.


Writing Update

This year saw so many wonder-filled events. Having Amber’s Choice published is not something I take for granted. Many pieces and many people had to come into place for it to happen. I’m deeply in debt to those who encouraged me, who prayed, who edited and proofed the manuscript. Others who invited me to speak or sign books at an event are equally appreciated. It’s very humbling to have someone call and say that something you wrote impacted their lives, or started a family conversation, or in some other way touched them. Through it all I gained a new writers group and a special writing friend–my grandson!

 My last book signing is tomorrow, or rather today, as I’m writing this after midnight. It’s at the Prairie Creek gift shop in Gateway Mall. They have been long time supporters of local writers, artists and artisans.

A Christmas card with a calm winter scene and the words, “Be Still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10″ have hung on the bulletin board above my desk for a couple years. They still draw me to the deeper, silent life where my relationship with the Lord takes place.

May you be blessed with moments of stillness, where His voice will speak to you in a whisper or through the laughter of a friend or in an artsy sunset.

Invite your friends to read the Prairie Lighthouse Blog.