Our Savior

Our Savior
The beauty of nature is medicine to the soul

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Story of Santa and Sarah....grab the kleenex!

Merry Christmas everyone! I do hope that your Christmas was filled with the company of family and lots of good cheer and food too.  I had a very blessed Christmas with some of my family, but it just wasn't the same without all my children and grandchildren here.  My oldest son Ken and family were not here, but I will hopefully see them this week before they journey to Virginia.  See, my son has retired from the Navy and has received an amazing job doing what he loves to do - fly!  Anyway, please keep them in your prayers as the weather is not the greatest this time of year back east.  But for those who did come, my son Jason and wife Mandy and my daughter Michelle, plus grandkids Kenny, Blake, Macie and Wade, thank you for making it a nice Christmas and for all the blessing they brought to me and Larry. 

I wanted to share this very touching story with you, I actually read it to my family on Christmas eve since it over whelms you with sadness and joy all at the same time.  God is amazing and I hope you get to read it and are blessed by it!

Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at the McAllister Mall in Saint John . The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl.    Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling. "Your friend?   "Yes, Santa,' he replied."My sister, Sarah, who is very sick," he said sadly.

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue. "She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!" the child exclaimed. "She misses you," he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.   When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

 "What is it?" Santa asked warmly.

"Well, I know it's really too much to ask you, Santa, but.." the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.    "The girl in the photograph... my granddaughter well, you see ... she has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even through the holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes. "Is there any way, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa."

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon.  He knew what he had to do. "What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "This is the least I can do."

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to the Hospital.  "Why?" Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.  Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier that day.  "C'mon.....I'll take you there." Rick said softly. Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa.

They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said, he would wait out in the hall.   Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah in the bed.

The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, Ho, Ho!"    "Santa!" shrieked little Sarah, weakly as she tried to escape her bed to run to him IV tubes intact.

Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug.  A child the tender age of his own son -- 9 years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But, all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of, huge blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering "Thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good girl that year.

As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands. Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.    "Oh, yes, Santa... I do!" she exclaimed.

"Well, I'm going to ask angels watch over you." he said.  Laying one hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that, God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, softly, "Silent Night, Holy Night....all is calm, all is bright."  The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.

When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah's frail, small hands in his own.  "Now, Sarah," he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at McAllister Mall this time next year!"    He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE.

"Yes, Santa!" Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright.    He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.   Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.   Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank him.    "My only child is the same age as Sarah," he explained quietly. "This is the least I could do." They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

 One year later, Santa was again back on the set in Saint John for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.

"Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"   "Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a "good" Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the "only" child in the world at that moment.  "You came to see me in the hospital last year!"

Santa's jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.  "Sarah!" he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.   He had witnessed --and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, "Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Forgiveness.....how sweet the sound!!!

Forgiveness is the focus of my post today because many of God's children are walking around in life either needing to forgive, or to be forgiven.  They have issues they can't let go of regarding another individual or regarding themselves.  Bitterness has set in and it's really tough to let go of the issues involved, whatever they maybe.

Well I am here to tell you that Jesus has freely forgiven us, so we need to do the same.  Holding back forgiveness only places a heavier burden in our hearts that gets heavier and heavier to bear.  When you forgive someone of things they have said or done to you, you are freeing two people, the other person and YOUSELF!!!

I encourage all of you today to get free from this burden and make it right with that person if you can, and with God.  This decision can bring much welcome peace and joy into your life and to the other person.

But remember that sometimes forgiving ourselves is the hardest of all, so be sure to do that as well and you will truly be free!


Monday, December 3, 2012

God's Mercy is new every single day.........

I want to share this awesome story with you today.  It touched my heart deeply and hope that you will also see the resemblance between this little boy and all of us, and what Jesus truly did for us on the cross.

The story goes like this:  There was once a classroom of unruly kids in the Chicago slums area, the south side. Every teacher who had tried to teach this class had failed and was instantly booted out by these disobedient and rebellious kids.  These kids had a group leader who went by the name "Big Tom", because he was big, very tall and was bigger than the others.

One day this young teacher, who was in his late 20's decided he wanted to teach this class, he saw it as a challenge and he wanted to win.  The principal warned him of course, but he still wanted to do it, so the principal agreed and let him take the class.

The very first day of class, when the teacher arrived all the kids were talking and carrying on like he wasn't even there.  Finally Big Tom volunteered to his classmates, "this one is mine.  I will take him out before this class is over".  When Big Tom approached the teacher's desk, the teacher said "I'm new and I would like to ask your help in establishing some class rules, can you help me with that".  "Sure" said Big Tom.  So the teacher asked, "what will be our first rule"?  Big Tom replied, "no stealing", "good" said the teacher, then a shout came from the classroom, "no being late" someone said.  Great, and they went on and on until they had 10 classroom rules, their (10 commandments of the classroom) they called it.  After they were done the teacher asked the class, "now that we have the rules we need a punishment if they are broken".  So Big Tom yelled out "10 lashes with your belt that should be the punishment", and the class agreed.  The teacher reluctantly agreed, thinking that was a bit harsh even for him.

So when lunchtime rolled around Big Tom went to get his lunch and much to his surprise it was gone.  "Who stole my lunch", he said.  In a small voice way in the back of the classroom you could barely hear his voice, Little Bobbie said "I stole your lunch cause I was really hungry, I am sorry".  So Big Tom rushed to the back and brought Little Bobbie up to the front of the class, "ok teacher he needs to be punished".  As the teacher glared at this frail little boy, he thought to himself, "I will never be able to do this".  So the teacher asked Little Bobbie to take his coat off, and much to his surprise he only had suspenders and no shirt.  "Where is your shirt" asked the teacher.  Little Bobbie's reply was "See teacher we are very poor, I don't have a daddy and my mom tries really hard.  I only have one shirt and today is the day my mom washes it.  But I will have it tomorrow".  Just then you could feel the tension in the room and the eyes beginning to water in most of the children.  The teacher could hardly contain himself enough to administer this dreadful punishment to this precious little boy.  But rules are rules, so he told him to turn around.  Just then Big Tom got in front of Little Bobbie and told the teacher "No don't punish him, someone has to take those beatings, give them to me".  Little Bobbie was elated and grabbed Big Tom by the neck, hugged him hard and said "Thank you so much - I love you for doing this for me".  Everyone in the room began to sob, including the teacher.

That's exactly what Jesus did for us, we deserved punishment for all our sins, but he said "I'll take that punishment for you".  All we have to do it believe in him, ask for forgiveness and we will go free.  So he took our beating on the cross for all time.  His Mercy is new each and every day!