A Month of Miracles: 30 Stories of the Unmistakable Presence of God
A Month of Miracles is a warm and inspiring collection of stories that bear witness to the unmistakable imprint of God’s hand in the average circumstances of life. Written by a diverse group of six women, the stories presented in the 30-day devotional will remind readers that God’s supernatural work happens in the ordinary moments.
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Read Miracle on 50th Street by Joy Clary Brown excerpt here
Christmas with Daddy
by Edna Ellison
But you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
- Romans 8:15 (NIV)
Bible scholars tell us Abba means "Daddy." Every time I read the end of the verse above, translated "Daddy, Father," it brings fresh memories of a time when my daddy was a young man and I was five. That December, God blessed me with a miracle.
During World War II, my father served in the navy. My mother, four-year-old brother Jimmy, and I lived with grandparents while Daddy was gone. We'd hoped he could come home for Christmas 1944, but the situation was looking bleak. With only a short leave, it was doubtful he could make it home by Christmas. Mother explained that we needed to celebrate a good Christmas even though Daddy might not be able to come home, but Jimmy and I had prayed the night before, asking God to send Daddy home, and we knew G0d always answered prayer.
Every day, Jimmy and I looked out the window toward the bus station. We watched soldiers and sailors returning for Christmas, but we didn't see our daddy. One day, a man in bell bottoms, a navyblue peacoat, and a white sailor hat headed toward our house! We knew it must be Daddy. Imagine our disappointment when he turned at the corner and went down another street! It wasn't Daddy.
My Aunt Clara, who also lived with our grandparents temporarily, tried to cheer us up. "See how happy Tommy and Ricky are," she said, laughing. I knew her toddlers didn't even remember their father. I could remember my daddy: the smell of his aftershave lotion, the kindness in his brown eyes, and the sound of his clarinet lullaby at bedtime. What fun to bounce among the covers as he calmed us with music! Jimmy and I often lay down at bedtime and Daddy played "one more son" before we went to sleep. We couldn't wait to see him again! We spent many hours watching the street.
On Christmas Eve, Aunt Clara gathered Mother, Jimmy, and me in the living room. "I have a surprise for you," she said. I ran to the door. there on the porch stood Aunt Alice, only Aunt Alice, dragging a Christmas tree!
"This tree's too tall," Aunt Clara said, going to the piano. "While Alice saws it, I'm going to play 'Jingle Bells.' We'll sing while she saws." With the trunk of the cedar tree over a large bucket, Alice started sawing. I pouted.
"I thought you were Daddy," I said.
I refused to sing, but when I saw Mother holding hands with Tommy, Ricky, and Jimmy, marching them around the tree, I joined in, halfheartedly. Later Mother said, "Edna, I'm glad you helped the boys march around the tree tonight. As the oldest, you helped them be happy this Christmas. i know it's hard to wait. I'm waiting too."
Awaking on Christmas morning, I began my window vigil. "Why don't you go into the living room... see your presents?" Mother said. Jimmy ran quickly. I dawdled. In the living room, I saw two small bicycles beside the tree! And then-Daddy stepped out from behind the tree, welcoming us with open arms! Of many wonderful memories of the past, that was the greatest Christmas of all.
Every Christmas our church celebrates Advent, which means "the coming of something momentous." God gave us the greatest gift when he allowed His Son, Jesus, to live on earth as the Incarnate Christ. His birth was the coming of something momentous-a miracle of God in the flesh, showing us the way to heaven! Life on earth would never be the same; it changed from the moment of His birth. He called all of us to Him as He did other ordinary people: fisherman, tentmakers, tax collectors, and homemakers.
Since Jesus ascended to heaven following the Resurrection, we still wait for Him to return as He promised. Not only at the Advent season, but also all year long, we wait, looking upward, ready to welcome God Incarnate, our Abba, into our hearts.
1. Have you ever had a special surprise for which you had to wait? Explain.
2. Have you ever accepted Jesus into your heart? Are you still waiting, or do you already know the wonderful miracle of a second birth inside your heart, when God comes again to earth, as His Holy Spirit fills your inner spirit with the joy and peace that passes all understanding? If you haven't experienced this miracle, simply follow the steps below.
a. Read Romans 3:23. God is a holy God. Since all people have sinned (committed some form of evil, such as hurting others, breaking promises, or engaging in sinful behavior), your sin separates you from the hold God, who cannot tolerate the presence of evil.
b. Read Romans 6:23a. God is a just God He alone is holy enough to bring perfect justice(which we want, to prevent chaos and anarchy in the world). As a just God, He punishes evil. Since you have sinned, you stand in danger of His punishment: death and eternal separation from Him.
c. Read Romans 6:23b. God is a loving God. he alone is perfect love. Though he is hold and just, He loves you unconditionally. Because He loves you so much, He has a plan for your salvation instead of your punishment: He sent His own Son, Jesus to die in your place. And here's the best news. His costly sacrifice cost you nothing. It's a free gift you simply accept.
3. If you want to be saved, tell God, right now. First tell Him you're sorry for your sin, meanness, and selfishness. Ask God to forgive you. Promise you'll live for Him from now on, not for evil. Then welcome Him into your heart to help you live for Him daily. Rejoice that you are born again!
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