Sunday, December 11, 2005

Rebecca's Journey - 70

Greetings, Friends!

Today we'll take Carolyn out to lunch to say our thank-yous and our good-byes. She will leave for home the day after tomorrow. She has been a wonderful blessing and strength to us all. Stephen arrives a week from today. Other news I'll add at the end.

From Rebecca: 'For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulders. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, PRINCE OF PEACE.'

This morning my nurse and I were talking. She said: 'Honestly, I dread the coming season, with so much to do. I hate the stress and pressure.' As we spoke together I realized that she expressed what many feel as Christmas comes. For years I've seen the dichotomy between what Christmas should be, a celebration of the Prince of peace, and what it has often become, a very hectic time.

In reading the Gospels lately I've been struck with the reality that when Jesus came into a situation, peace was often the first evidence of His presence. As His people, approaching the holiday season, we need His peace to reign in us.

One night last week I got awake in the wee hours of the morning. We've had so much going on with visitors and activities that when I awakened my mind was awhirl. Peace was far from me. (You know how in the night the smallest thing can become a mountain!) As I struggled, I cried out: 'Lord, I need an anchor for my soul.' Then I remembered my scripture from the morning before: 'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.' (Phil. 4: 6-7)

So I began to turn my swirling thoughts into prayers, with thanksgiving. 'Lord, thank You for each situation, and that You will enable me and strengthen me.' As I prayed, it was as if a huge block of peace settled on my soul. It was nothing natural, but supernatural, 'surpassing all understanding.' It was so dramatic that I was shocked. 'O, Lord Jesus, let me live these coming days walking in Your peace. Let Your peace be the guard over my heart and mind.' And what fun it has been!

This morning we were wrapping gifts, finishing decorating the tree, making plans for meals, etc. The house was a mess and I was sitting in my wheelchair in the midst of it all. I realized I had a knot in my stomach. 'O, I've lost my peace. Lord, where did I loose it?' I traced my way back through the events of the last few minutes, and there it was! I saw at what point I had lost my peace.
(This is Paul, clarifying Rebecca's dilemma. This morning, on the computer, I saw some messages in my in-box which I didn't recognize - so I erased them, only later to discover they were gift certificates to Borders Book Store for our boys which Rebecca had had ordered yesterday. Dear Susannah has to trace them now.)
So I went back to the lost gift certificates, and made my request known, with thanksgiving. 'Lord I thank you that they got erased, and I pray you'll help us easily get it figured out. Thank you Lord.' And, O, the peace returned. He is able to bring His presence into the smallest detail.

This year I'm much more involved in the holiday preparation. As we, in our home, prepare to celebrate the joyous event of our Redeemer's birth, we pray that the Prince of peace will reign in your hearts and home today.

Our other significant news is that this Christmas sees the end of the season with Wade and Karen across the street. They will be returning to Washington, DC, early in January. They have been, well, "spectacular" is not to strong a term. And I'm so glad they'll be in DC. That will give me regular opportunity to see them. Also Wade and I will continue to work on projects together.

They have been living in the same home in which Robert and Tracey Vaughan stayed. (Most of you will remember them.) Robert & Tracey will be back in Europe as of June for the next phase of their language training in Albertville, France. (It will be good to have them that close. Tracey visited here a couple of weeks ago.)

So the house across the street has a "For Rent" sign on it, ("a louer" in French). We're praying for the right neighbors - and even for the possibility that God may have someone else to take the home who feels called to be here, help Rebecca, and even been involved in some of our work. We'll see! But please be praying with us regarding this.

Our love to you all, and have a wonderful Advent Season,