Come December our thoughts turn to Christmas. If you live at the Gates house, we love to celebrate and typically begin Christmas music around Thanksgiving. This year it was a week before...for me anyway. Some, whom I will not name, have been known to have it on in July. Our celebration of the newborn King include decorations, a white Christmas tree which you have to see to believe. The neighbors who drive by and can see it glowing in our picture window have commented it is very pretty. You're welcome to come see for yourself!! I love to bake, mostly to give away to friends and neighbors, and we love to buy gifts for our family. Please stop by and enjoy our tree, there might even be some baked goods waiting for you!!!
The past several years my mind has turned to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Much has been written about her, who she was, why it was prophesied she would be a virgin and how old she might have been and where she gave birth. I was researching her again this year and was reminded how easy it is to become so focused on the minor points of her life and forget the most important point of the Christmas story.
Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became a descendant of Adam so that He could ultimately go to the Cross and die in our place. Now the descendants of Adam can be saved from an eternity of separation from their Creator. God gave His Son to this world, which is the greatest gift that could ever be given. Let us celebrate this truth and tell the world about God's amazing love. Tim Chaffey(Answers in Genesis)
How easy it is to get caught up in the rush of the holidays that I do not take the time to sit down, read the Word of God that was written to me and remember why God gave the Greatest Gift. He gave so I could be rescued from the domain of darkness; apart from Christ I am completely destitute. (Colossians 1:13) If that isn't the best present ever then I don't know what is. God loved me so much He gave, He loved, He loves lavishly. (1 John 3:1)
I also do not want to miss the point of who Mary was. Luke 1:28 says she was "favored by God". The Message says it best
Good morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.
A re-write from previous years.
Twenty-nine years ago this time of year, my dad was not done getting his corn and soybeans out of the field. When Rob and I,(mostly me) suggested November 9 as our wedding day I was sure dad would be done and he wouldn't have to take a day off from farming to walk his firstborn down the aisle. Rob proposed the first week of June and his thought was to be married in the summer.
No...he didn't know it took a few months to plan a wedding, even one in a small country church with the reception in the basement. It wasn't a fancy wedding where thousands upon thousands of dollars were spent. We had humble beginnings.
On Sunday, twenty-nine years ago, I became Mrs. Rob Gates. Almost five years previous I laid eyes on him for the first time. My college days on a small town Bible college campus were full of studies of God's Word, courses in missions and a lot of time spent at the library...not to study but to meet up with the guy who spent most of his time there. We had fun too...didn't have a lot of money to spend on dates, but long talks in the cafeteria kitchen while he washed pots and pans are some of my fondest memories. We did go our separate ways after college graduation, but that story is told in As The Parsonage Turns category.
I can't remember a day I did not want to be married and have kids. There were other choices, but I chose to be a wife, pastor's wife and mother, although I didn't give much thought to being a pastor's wife, that's another post too.
I'm thinking about choices today, because of Hannah choosing to travel across the ocean, of Justin choosing the military many years ago and now choosing to live in Wyoming with his wife. Kelsey's choice to nanny in Italy several years ago. The opportunities available to all of us today are vast, unlimited and far-reaching. I think of two single gals from our church who have been missionaries in Africa and Bolivia, they chose to follow God's leading in their lives.
And what does this have to do with an approaching anniversary?
Twenty-eight nine ago I was losing sleep because I was so excited to spend the rest of my life with the man God had brought into my life. Two more sleeps and a new adventure would begin. Has it been easy? No. But it in a good way, because we have done life together. For richer and poorer, sickness and health we made a promise before God and many witnesses that we would stay together...only because of Christ. He is the glue, sometimes the only glue that has kept us plodding along in this great adventure called marriage. In a conversation this week with one of my kids she was telling me of a good friend whose marriage is failing and how sad she was. She said "it's so unfortunate to see so many marriages failing these days." I know I went into marriage with blinders on, thinking marriage would make me happy. Rob and I have been happy together, but if happiness is the goal of staying married then marriages will fail. Staying married is a choice. A choice to persevere and honor God. (To my divorced friends, this is not a post to make you feel you've failed or make you feel guilty)
Hoards of books have been written on the subject, so I will simply say how thrilled I am to be celebrating our marriage, which I think is the best way to fight same-sex "marriage". Celebrate our lives together, work on our own marriages and honor God in our own lives before we take up the fight.
Today I would choose you, Rob Gates, all over again. No regrets, no wishing I should have chosen another path. Happy to continue plodding with you.