Prayer for the Season

(borrowed from Karen Edmisten)

Dear Lord,

When I become harried and impatient, when I think I have too much to do
and not enough time, when I feel burdened by obligations, responsibilities, activities and busy-ness, please, Lord, give me the grace to remember, always to remember, that my obligations, responsibilities, activities and busy-ness
spring from an abundance of blessings. Enormous, ineffable blessings.

Help me to see my busy days and busy ways as the privilege and the gift  that they are.

Help me to remember, pray for, and tangibly support those who are not “burdened” by too much to eat, too much to bake, too much to decorate,
too many books to read.

Help me, Lord, to see the Advent of Your birth as a time to remember all of these things, to drop to my knees and thank You, always to thank You, for so much undeserved Love.

AMEN

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I’m not sure who wrote this so I cannot give adequate credit. However, it is the kind of story of which we all need to be reminded.

As we move more fully into this holiday season, remember that not everyone is filled with joy. There are many hurting people, folk hiding their pain behind a smile. I know this full well because for many years I was that person. Please, take a few moments to look more closely at the people you know. Take an extra moment to notice those with whom you work and even those that live in your house. Ask God to allow you to see beyond the smiles and to give you a heart to respond to the needs you discover.

This is the true meaning of Christmas. God looked at a fallen humanity that could not save itself. And God gave the greatest gift of all, a savior that would be God WITH us. You may very well be the tool that God wants to use to show a discouraged, hopeless world that there is one who offers genuine hope.

Now the story……

In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds. He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either.

If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it. I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job. The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town.

No luck.

The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince who ever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job. Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop.
It was called the Big Wheel.An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night.

I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night.She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal. That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel. When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money–fully half of what I averaged every night.

As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home. One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires.

Had angels taken up residence in Indiana? I wondered.

I made a deal with the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a l ot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires. I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn’t enough.

Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids…
I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boy s pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.

On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. There were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe. A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.
When it was time for me to go home at seven o’clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes.

I quickly opened the driver’s side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat. Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was full ofshirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.

As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.

Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop….

THE POWER OF PRAYER. I believe that God only gives three answers to prayer:

1. ‘Yes!’
2. ‘Not yet.’
3. ‘I have something better in mind..’

God still sits on the throne.

You may be going through a tough time right now but God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above anything you can even hope or think! This is not just a promise for the privileged few. This is God’s desire for you!

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