Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - On the Eighth Day - Unexpected Blessings

God's Gift of Unexpected Blessings

by Angela Hunt

The arrival of our daughter from South Korea wasn’t exactly unexpected—we’d spent years longing for her, and then months praying for that little baby’s safe arrival in our arms.

And as I look back over the experience, I can’t help thinking of Mary, who must have had such mixed feelings when she held the infant Jesus in her arms. Great joy, for the promised child had arrived. Great responsibility for the fragile life in her care. And great dread for the difficulties and sorrows that would arise.

As a young mother, I knew there would be tough times, and I haven’t been disappointed. But through bad times and good, through loving moments and less-than-loving moments, I can see the hand of God’s sovereignty molding me, my husband, and my children into the people he intends us to be.

Christmas shines brightest in the eyes of children. But it resonates most deeply in the hearts of those who love them.

Angela Hunt

Angela Hunt is the author of Doesn't She Look Natural? (Tyndale Publishers). For more information visit

Kelly's Blessed Christmas Moments with and without Children....

I can't compete with Angela's eloquence so I'll just share some of my favorite in-living-color dysfunctional parenting Christmas moments with you.

One of my all-time favorite pictures of my two oldest children is actually a short series of pictures. In them, the four-year-old attempts to take something from the one-year-old's clenched fist. Both children begin upright with expressions of sheer determination. The last picture shows no faces, just the adorable backsides of a victory in progress. I suppose, in hindsight, I could've put down the camera and intervened. But, alas, I did not. I chose to snap the wrestling-under-the-Christmas-tree-struggle, frame it and continue to laugh about it twenty years later.

Today, a friend forwarded an e-mail full of pictures with Santas holding crying children. I forwarded to all the slightly twisted people I know. I don't know why I find that hysterical. Could it be that I identify with the mystified and discombobulated Santa? (Oooh, another story idea. I'll have to share before Christmas. ; )

Another favorite picture...when our oldest was two. We went to visit Grandma and Grandpa who had a perfect toddler - sized wooden reindeer that was intended to hold magazines. It didn't hold a single magazine the entire time we were there. Jordan was on that thing every time we turned around. It eventually occurred to me that I needed to snap a picture since it'd make a great Christmas card. Being a toddler, he was not interested in posing when I requested that he do so. Since I towered over him at the point in life, he sat. But he was not amused.

Good news, there is hope for me. Favorite picture number three has no weeping! None. Just four smiling faces and a huge hole in the wall. Rob (Have I mentioned that we've been remodeling something for the past twenty-six years? ) decided to replace two living room windows with one big door. On a warm and sunny (Iowa warm and sunny, which is still real cold for anyone further south) December afternoon, he cut a six foot "mouth" in the side of house. The kids were fascinated, the dog was fascinated and I had several sets of felt antlers and a desire to send out pictures with our Christmas cards. Voila!

Finally, I have no picture for this memory, but it is burned forever on my brain. If you are a big PETA supporter, you may not want to read it as it does involve something worse that felt antlers on an animal's head....

We used to travel to my parents for Christmas Eve. On the way home one year, with kids dozing in the back seat already dreaming about sugar plums (Are those any good? Are they edible?) Rob and I watched the bright moon illuminate miles of virgin snow. The world was covered in diamond dust. Large, fluffy flakes fell out of the sky. The crunch of snow, the rhythmic breathing of sleeping children, and instrumental Christmas carols the only sounds that touched the silent blanket of beauty.

As we passed a field, on an expanse of untouched, moon-kissed glitter against an indigo back drop, there stood a massive white-tailed buck deer. Tears sprung into my eyes as I took in the awesome 3-D Christmas card photo in front of me. I silently thanked God for His artistic heart.

"Whoa!" I heard rumbled from the driver's seat. I turned to smile at my husband, to share a connection over our Christmas gift from God.

My husband, eyes glued on the deer, simply said. "Wow! I wish I had my gun. That rack has to be at least ten points."

Alrighty then.

I hope your Christmas season is full of lasting, picturesque memories.