Running Toward Christmas

This year, I’m running toward Christmas . . .

Running like crazy, with joy, as a child would run toward a father or a beloved big brother. Running headlong, arms open, as fast as my little legs will carry me . . .

Into joy

With my eyes focused on the Christ Child.I run to remember Bethlehem one star-strewn night.

To remember a hillside of quiet sheep, resting after a shining day full of grazing.

I run to remember . . .

I settle back in against the hard wood pew, breathing in the light pine scent from fresh wreaths of pine boughs that grace the church as Christmas nears.

I close my eyes for a few seconds, thankful for a good year, anticipating the final two holidays before a brand new year.

Reverend Hatch rises and walks to the pulpit.

Like a silent snow, holy quiet falls over the sanctuary

My back straightens as the Holy Spirit nudges me into deep listening. I pull in a breath.

I’m about to hear something wonderful.

Hatchie, as we lovingly call him, looks out over us and smiles and begins

“When God walked down the stairway of heaven with a tiny Baby in His arms, He came bearing the greatest gift the world has ever been given.”

The words race like a gentle fire into my mind, body, soul, and spirit—into the realm of wonder. Brushstrokes of color flow across my imagination.

From impossible white clouds in a star-pierced violet blue night sky, a figure of brilliant light descends a wide staircase.

Within God’s arms, a small, moving, living Being nestles in a blanket of light.

Above them hovers a transparent Presence, crystal waves of movement aglow with a palpable sense of power and love.

The Holy enters Creation.

Everything in me wants to kneel before the Holy Triumvirate.

I cannot move, captured in breathless awe.

The Gift.

Delivered as I was and you were.

The Holy into humanity. Born to fill the void we came into the world with.

Born to fill the emptiness that nothing—no one but Jesus—can fill.

God is love, but He is just.

Born to save and free us from sin, He, the Lamb of God, came to sacrifice His humanity in our place . . .

and to prepare a place for us in Eternity.

God’s offered Gift.

Is our choice.

Jesus told us “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3 NKJV).

An angel spoke to shepherds and to us “. . . and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'” (Luke 2:9b-11 NKJV).

To the woman at the well “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life’” (John 4:13-14 NKJV).

Will you run in thankfulness toward Christmas? Will you look up in joy and wonder and remember . . . ?

If you have a special Christmas memory I’d love for you to share it in the comments!

And just in case I don’t post again before Christmas, I’ll leave you with this~

A very Merry Christmas full of joy and blessings to you and those you love!

Love,

Sally

Elegant Staircases     #Christmasjoy    #MerryChristmas

A First Christmas

I’m honored to have author, writer, speaker, and consultant, Sharon Brani as my guest. She relates the story of a day remembered, a day just prior to her trip to Russia which began an Unforgettable Christmas Journey.

Here’s Sharon in her own words . . .

It seems like yesterday since I first hung this decoration on my Christmas tree, but it’s been twenty-one years.

I remember the day so vividly.

My mom and I were busy shopping that day, buying cute little outfits for a six month old baby girl who waited in Russia to be adopted.

I had been notified three days earlier to buy my plane ticket to fly to Russia on December 19th.

My feet seemed to walk on air as we pushed the shopping cart around the store.

There was so much still to be done.

Buying gifts to take with me to Russia.

Diapers, bottles, blankets, and clothing for my soon-to-be adopted little baby girl.

Packing, paperwork.

Mom and I chuckled together as we loaded the cart with boxes and boxes of cigarettes (my brother insisted they’d come in handy as peace offerings), perfumes, and various other items.

As I walked around the baby department, my thoughts wandered back to the small photo I had been given of precious baby girl with big, brown, serious eyes.

Lord, she needs to smile.
She needs to know she is loved.
She needs to know about You.

Suddenly my eyes were drawn to a pink baby blanket on display.

I reached out and felt how incredibly soft it was and held it up for my mom to see.

We knew immediately that this was the blanket I would take with me to bring my little girl home.

And along with the blanket, I purchased a small Christmas ornament, Baby’s First Christmas.

I’ll never forget my excitement as we shopped that day.

The pink blanket was packed in my suitcase awaiting the special day,

and the ornament was hung on my tree in hope—

that one day soon, my baby girl would celebrate her first Christmas—at home.

Meet my friend and guest, the author of this beautiful story, Sharon Brani, and daughter, Noelle.

Sharon is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia, a Board Certified Coach, an educator, published freelance writer, and speaker whose life is committed to helping people discover the way life is meant to be. She’s written over 300 articles, stories, and devotionals for a variety of inspirational publications, and has contributed stories to the Chicken Soup series.

Sharon is the mother of two amazing daughters whom she adopted from Russia. As a nurturer she is well equipped to coach parents at every stage of the adoption process.

Here is a link to Sharon’s website, Discover Life, her blog, Shining Moments, and a link to her brand new book,

The Unforgettable Christmas Journey. Sharon Brani's Book The Unforgettable Christmas Journey

Congratulations, Sharon, and thank you, it is a joy to have you share part of your wondrous Christmas Journey with us.

And here’s one more photo of Sharon and (check out that beautiful smile!) Noelle.

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7).

We’re all on this path of life together. Our prayer is that the Lord will blanket you with the beauty of His peace and fill you with His joy this Christmas season.

Where do you hope your journey will take you this in this new year to come? Please share your comments with us.

Love and Merry Christmas!

Sally and Sharon