The Ultimate Gift

December 24th..

The most amazing day of the year in my childlike heart.

Christmas Eve would not come soon enough. The weeks leading up to this moment in the year were filled with times of experience in the magic as I would call it. Red, blue, green, and yellow Christmas lights we’re hung by my grandpa dressed in very clean gray thin striped coveralls accompanied by rubber boots, balancing with much assurance on a frosty metal silver folding ladder, each light placed with perfection on the 1960s farmhouse. The colors in the crisp white snow danced as though it were a wonderful piece of art on display.

The perfectly shoveled path led to the front door where all the wonders of Christmas continued behind it as I stepped through it, smelling of all the goodness of Christmas as I remembered it.

White Grandma cookies with marshmallow topping toasted with coconut, cottage cheese fruit salad, colorful broken glass cake, among many other mouthwatering Christmas aromas blanketed the house everywhere my young self moved.

Rounding the corner into the living room of the farm bungalow, I’d enter to the Christmas sounds of Jack Benny and Doris day, Anne Murray, Heinche, John Denver and many many other over the course of the holiday season.

The artificial Blue Spruce Christmas tree sparkling with strands of evenly placed multi-colored lights and shining teardrop and round decorations wrapped in silver tinsel and garland, painted a postcard picture of Christmas like I’d seen in the five cent to Dollar Store on our frequent visits there.

The tree was perfectly placed in front of the wooden living room door. The gifts placed under the branches were wrapped in the gold, silver, reds, and blues tied with shiny ribbons. No name tags would grace the presents, only strategically placed initials placed by grandma that not even she could find at times.

Family would slowly trickle into the door after the Christmas Eve program had ended in our local hometown Church.

The excitement in my heart would continue with anticipation.

The time had come I had waited for all year… The whole family was home.

Some found spots on the blue 1960’s couch draped with a blanket graced with a family of deer. Others, on the moss green sculpted rug. The corner golden yellow rocker was always reserved for Grandpa as grandma didn’t need a chair as she was running around more often than not making sure everything was taken care of.

The tradition of gift-giving for all young or old, was a process that took well into the night and was a thrill to my young heart as I experienced the warmth and love each gift came with.

This beautiful time would sometimes continue until 4am dotted with Christmas snack breaks at the family table that had been beautifully decorated with its candles, chocolate, ripple chips, french onion soup dip and Pepsi along with the traditional halva..my favourite.

The sights.. the sounds… the laughter… The Joy… the family…

A gift infinitely bigger than all the gifts under the tree even then in my young child’s heart.

I cannot imagine having had to stand outside the living room window in the cold of winter looking in… how sad I would have been not to be able to enjoy this intimate experience in all its fullness.

It reminds me of my relationship with my God. For many years I stayed on the outside of that “living room window” out in the cold only catching a glimpse of the Majestic wonder of the experience I was missing out on.

The Ultimate Gift.

The intimate personal relationship and experience with my God…now finding it on ” the bench”.

The beautiful gifts under the tree where the blessings sitting and waiting for me to come in and open them, the Abundant Life and all his promises beckoning me from the Christmas family table he so wanted me to have and enjoy.

He was longing for this intimate relationship…always inviting me like the gentleman He is.

How sad to have left those gifts unopened.

Many years later, many Christmases later, being graced with being a grandma already, I still look forward with anticipation to passing on pieces of those early majestic Christmas memories to my children grandchildren’s hearts.

But in all of this my heart’s biggest prayer is that they will find The Ultimate Gift.

The blessings, Abundant Life, the promises. But most of all the gift of Him who came from above and the personal relationship that they are invited to experience inside the “living room window” ..

The Ultimate Gift♥️♥️

What a Day That Will Be

Summer could not come soon enough for my child heart. It meant holidays at grandma and grandpa’s house on the farm.

It was a place my childhood was transformed from everyday life to something special everytime I rounded the corner on the long winding gravel road.

The hand painted yellow hip roof barn with vintage green perfectly placed shingles loomed in my sights as I continued to round the corner to grandma and grandpa’s house.

As the driveway continued on branching to the right, three old farm buildings with dirt floors which had seen many a generation of farm calves stood stoically as they came into view. Grandpa’s tool shed was next, framed with old windows and a squeeky wooden rustic door that opened to many silent stories of generations past.

The summer kitchen as it was called in days of old was last in the row of nastalga. Many a time tested farm meal had been prepared with much love within those walls in the heat of the summers.

As I would strain my neck trying to peer over the dashboard and out the windshield of the chariot …possibly my dad’s light blue ’66 Merc as my dad would call it, or my grandpa’s trusty cherry red truck with grandma and grandpa’s name and address painted on the side door…my heart would leap with excitement as my eyes would fall on the rest of the yard that had been mowed and tended to so meticulously by my grandpa, grass hand trimmed around the house and barn with a hand scissor.

The perfectly whitewashed farm fence created a perfect boundary for grandpa’s healthy herd of black and white Holsteins dotted with a few brown Jersey cows, grazing in the beautiful meadow, tails whistfully swatting at the summertime flies landing on their glistening hides in the heat of the season…. my heart’s picture continued to grow.

This white fence had also served as a perch for the vintage green kitchen glasses that were filled with a choice of sparking mountain Dew or Pepsie poured out of glass bottles at breaktime for the bailing crew( and little me..grandma’s orders:) on those hot summer days…

I can still taste it.

Coming up to the ’60’s bungalow( with grandma’s large beautiful farm garden sitting in the distance), meticulously painted blue and white by my grandpa, my eyes would fall on one of my favourite places to sit…the neatly swept cement porch framed by black rod iron railing on either side.

The shade from the towering neatly planted oak trees planted by great grandma and grandpa in generations past, created a majestic cool place of protection from the hot summer sun as the cool breeze wound it’s way through.

I could hardly wait.

The farmyard was nestled neatly between two gravel roads on either side on which I took many a summer walk or bike ride on my trusty cherry red banana seat bike. One of grandma’s pale yellow or green icecream pails accompanied me at times to help collect the juicy ripe choke cherries and Saskatoon berries hanging high and low on the bushes running along side the road.

My grandma was my partner between farm duties on some days…

Those were the best times.

As my ride would finally come to a halt, my little chubby tanned legs would skip down the paving stone path up to the side porch past grandma’s neatly planted colorful petunias.

I knew for even just a few days..I would be more than content…

It was my heaven on earth.

As I let my mind go back to those beautiful childhood memories, I can’t help but think what Heaven will be like.

Someday, I, like everyone else on this planet, will have a date with my destiny and I’ll round that corner at the end of my life’s journey and soak in Heaven and all its beauty that has been prepared for me and all who take the invitation to live there forevermore.

The gravel road will be replaced with streets of gold and the berry bushes with the Tree of Life.

As promised, as the Bible tells me, I will have my very own mansion prepared just for me by the One who loves me more than anyone ever could.

And just as I longed for the summer days spending time with my grandma and grandpa on the farm, in my Heaven on earth….I will long to spend time with my Jesus …in a favourite cool shade spot no doubt…perhaps that ultimate “spot on the bench” in that moment.

Walking in the gardens of plenty among the towering trees with the one who created me.

And just as my childlike heart longed to spend time with my grandma and grandpa on this earth…

I long for the time I will round that corner…in that moment…and see their smiling faces again…arms open wide….not just for a summer…but forever.

What a day that will be♥️♥️