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November 7th 2003: Once again this is the time of the year when all the department stores will start playing Christmas carols and decorate every nook and cranny with sparkling trees and reminders that we had better get busy doing our holiday gift shopping. As much as I have complained at times that we rush this event too much, yesterday I saw a store in my neighborhood that was all decorated for the blessed holiday and it made me smile. Even though these were the same decorations I had seen the year before, the large red bow on the door and the stuffed toy reindeer with white lights shining from his antlers, I thought what excitement this must bring to the little girl or boy who is noticing this for the first time. Then the little girl in me started to get a bit excited about the season that we are now approaching.

First we have Thanksgiving. Wow, this year I have so much to be thankful for. The Lord has brought so many great blessings into my life and wonderful memories. I have traveled all over and had the honor of meeting new Christian friends. I have gotten to share in testimony and song about the amazing love and joy of knowing the Lord, Jesus. I have also had the privilege of having other's share with me their stories of how the Lord, Jesus is working in their lives. Some of the stories are so uplifting and some of their struggles grieve me to the bone. But the Lord has blessed me by allowing me to share in these moments with them. In His wonderful mercy, He has maliciously placed me in those people's lives for "such a time as this". I've stopped asking Him why, and just started saying, "Father thank you". You see, when I first started going out on the road and singing my "little" songs I never could have guessed or imagined that the love I feel for the people I am singing them to would be so deep. At times when I am singing and giving my testimony of the great comfort and peace He gives, and the saving grace He offers, my heart is flooded with a love that I know can only come from Him. It's a love that is so much bigger than me. I know that it is the sweet Holy Spirit loving them through me. So when I think of all that I have to be thankful forů I have to write that I am so grateful that the Father allows me to be His servant.

As I am reading the Word; now in Romans, I do realize that being His servant isn't all fun and thrills. It isn't all glamorous and pretty. But as I have discovered it is all I need. He is all I need.

So as the Christmas lights go up way before Thanksgiving even rolls around, my prayer is that when those little children see them, someone with the overwhelming love of the Lord, Jesus will explain to them the true meaning of the season. Then I pray that one day they will be sharing their stories with me of what the Lord is doing in their lives. And as "family members" in the body of Christ, we can rejoice in God's greatest gift of all time, our Savior and Lord, Jesus. Together we'll know what we truly have to be thankful for.

Denise


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