25 Dec A Song, A Sunset, and the Whooping Cranes
Through the guiding of the Holy Spirit, we spent Christmas a little differently this year, taking time to reflect upon the voice of the Lord and His intended purpose for this season.
We believe that God creates special moments in time for us all, and today held a few of those special moments.
Christmas Day was a moment in time when the glory of the Lord’s presence stood still, shaping the scenes that surrounded us and stirring emotions within. A gift of light in darkness was presented to us, and we thank God for it.
In the early evening, the Lord allowed us to spend some time visiting the gravesite where my husband’s mother is buried. While there, he asked me to sing Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, one of the songs she loved to hear me sing. At the conclusion of my first time singing the song, he asked me to sing it again. Each time brought about a different experience.
As I sang the song the first time, time suddenly seemed to stop, and the presence of the Holy Spirit stood still in the cool evening breeze that circled all around us. It felt like a whisper and the voice of the Lord.
As I sang the song the second time, the sun set so beautifully against the horizon before us, and we stood among the cool evening air to experience the calming presence of the Lord that stayed all around us.
I closed my eyes for a few moments as the song came to a close, opening them upon my husband’s tapping me to show me the perfect formation of whooping cranes set against the horizon backdrop.
It is in these special moments that the Holy Spirit is revealed, giving us strength for tomorrow and comfort for today.
The Lord wants to experience special moments with you, too! Lend your ear towards Him, and let His Holy Spirit guide you to share in new experiences with Him.
— Seneca’s Reflections
The griever must find comfort in the beauty that surrounds them. You don’t stop worrying about nor do you stop caring for your loved ones once they have departed from the earth. You worry on the cold nights; you worry when it rains; and you worry when it is extremely hot. Some of these concerns have truly been on my mind as I grieve, but God gave me the gift of assurance on Christmas Day.
One of the things I asked the Lord to do before my mom departed was to take care of her. It has almost been a year since she’s been gone, and I still have been praying this prayer. Yesterday, He assured me that He has, and that He will continue to do so.
A great deal of peace came over me as I watched the whooping cranes fly away into the sunset, because I know that my mom is in a better place. I don’t have to worry about the rain, the weather, or the hot summer days, because she’s not there; her body may be, but her soul is with the Lord. He assured me of this yesterday, and I want to assure you.
O soul are you weary and troubled? / No light in the darkness you see? / There’s light for a look at the Savior, / And life more abundantly.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, / Look full in His wonderful face, / And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, / In the light of His glory and grace.
I’m praying for your grieving heart, and I pray that His strength and comfort will continue to guide you on your journey of grief.
Blessings and favor,
Pastor Seneca Howard
Experiencing the Lord differently in this season has been a wonderful thing. Each day has brought about new experiences and new ways to know more about Him.
In the same way, Christmas Day brought about new moments to experience with Him, and as my husband and I walked through the day with each other, we experienced it all, taking in each moment that the Lord shared with us.
We began the day talking together and writing, and of course coffee, one of my favorites from Ethiopia, warmed my belly as we talked about the gift of the Lord Jesus, our Savior, being given in a manger. I’d intended to start the day with a coffee and pancake experience, but our talks together became worship to the Lord, and I was really quite delighted.
As the day went on, the Lord’s peace abode, and I took some time to watch a home renovation show on HGTV, read some of my book The Secret Garden, and begin dinner prep for the day – a meal that we both had excitement about.
The Lord’s presence and peace accompanied us as we drove to the gravesite where my husband’s mother is buried, and as we made our way back home, we witnessed the beautiful sombré of the evening sky laced with oranges and whites to the west where the sun had taken its setting and soft blues, pinks, and purples to the east where night had begun to fall.
Our dinner meal came together so perfectly: a Surf~N~Turf medley of steak and seared shrimp accompanied with some of our own likes of wild rice, collard greens with portions of our sweet honey ham preserved from our Thanksgiving Day meal, cheesy mac-n-cheese, and a little white wine for me, a special allowance by the Lord in this season. We shared the last two sugar cookies that I’d recently baked, and we laughed together and said, “No more sweets!”
We finished the day with my husband submitting his blog post, Take Possession of God’s Gift, and Bring What You Own to the Manger, and afterwards watched a series of Christmas movies, experiencing the joy and laughter God brought with it.
The Lord’s blessing resonated through the gift of each other and the beautiful sunset on Christmas Day – special moments and perfect gifts truly given by Him.
Blessings and favor,
Written by Pastor Seneca Howard and Karen Howard