It’s hard when you can’t get home to be with family for Christmas.
Jesus’ birthday was coming up. Christmas was just around the corner. “What should I give Him?” I wondered. I thought about flowers and suddenly that triggered a vivid memory of a meeting in Singapore, where a veteran missionary had shared an experience on the mission field. It was to do with trying to get home, not for Christmas, but for his mother’s 90th birthday. Because of a crisis, and the primitive circumstances in which he worked (he had a leadership role in the mission) it was impossible to get away. It broke his heart.
“That must have hurt,” I pondered as I listened to him. How difficult both for him and his mother. It hurts so badly when those we love can’t get home for the holidays. Well, I thought, at least Jesus will be home for Christmas this year! He wasn’t always able to make it. For 33 years it was impossible. He had a leadership role in a mission!
The missionary told us how he had the idea of sending his mother ten roses each hour of her birthday till she had received all 90. A “thank you” note was tied to each rose, and a card sent with the first batch of ten. It said: “How do I love you, let me count the ways.” Then he thought of 90 ways he loved his mother and attached a different thank you to every rose!
“I’ll do that, “I decided. So I bought a big bunch of roses, went to the Deep Place where nobody goes and sat down on the steps. If I stayed still enough I could hear angels singing carols – practicing. Pretty.
I jumped. “Oh! Hello, I thought I’d get ahead of the rush.”
He looked at the roses in my hands and I resisted the urge to give Him the whole bunch at once and return to the mall to continue my shopping.
I began taking the roses one by one and, carefully attaching a message to each, I said loudly, so He could hear me: “How do I love Thee, let me count the ways,” and then I began to count them. I wanted above all to thank Him for being willing “not” to get home for Christmas for 33 years.
He sat there – relaxed and He looked serious and focused. He accepted each offering into His hands – I tried not to look at the scars. (I hate that.)
“I love you for sitting on the steps with me in the Deep Place where nobody goes,” I began, handing Him a flower. “And I love it that you always follow me up the steps and remind me you are there in the shallow places where everyone lives – even though I forget you’re there in all the commotion.
“And I love you for coming to earth and walking straight into my heart – and making this woman yours forever. And oh how I love you for becoming poor so I could become rich beyond measure. Yes, yes, Lord, that I through your poverty could become rich! I love you, I love you, I love you!”
Rose by rose I thanked Him, telling Him all the ways I loved Him, and then the bunch of flowers was in His hands and mine were empty. I cried – happy grateful tears, and watched in amazement as each tear became a rose petal strewn at His feet.
He bent down, holding my roses carefully, gathering my flowers of love and thankfulness into His scarred hands, saying quietly, “Not one of these shall fall to the ground.” Then He looked at me with eyes so full of love I thought I would die. Then He was gone.
I heard the church bells ringing then, and knew I had to return to the shallow places where everyone lives. I did so reluctantly, knowing the party was about to begin. Christmas was coming!
This Christmas season why don’t you think about what bouquet of roses you can bring to your Savior?!
In His Joy,
Just Between Us Magazine