‘ ….. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God’ Luke 1: 35.
No Room, the Innkeeper could only offer a lowly, humble manger of hay for the birth of God’s Perfect Gift, Jesus, the Saviour of the World, the Lord, the King of Glory.  Immanuel (God with us). The Christmas Story speaks of faith, hope, love, light, joy, worship.   Angels singing ‘Glory to God in the highest’; Shepherds falling down in worship; The Star in the East going before the Wise Men who offered  gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. As we focus our hearts this blessed season, let us make room, take time to bow down and worship the Rose of Bethlehem whose fragrance and beauty fills our heart.
My friend Ann shared this beautiful hymn by William W. How, (1823 – 1897).
We give Thee but Thine own,
What e’er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord,  from Thee.
 Christmas Morning, the most important day in the life of a child, waking to the pealing of resounding bells, the singing of Christmas Carols, special gifts wrapped with love ….. Christmas Remembrances (for me) – Mr Robin Red Breast hopping on a snowy covered window sill and watching the little sparrows find their twigs even though the strong mature boughs of the trees were bending beneath the weight of the newly formed snowflakes, the falling Pine Cones….The  day of ‘Thanksgiving’ is soon passed, friends and family are long gone, the table once spread with the Goodness of His Bounty, a constant reminder that He is ‘Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace …..’   the true message of Christmas ‘Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given’.  Greater love hath no man than this.
 A New Year is fast approaching, many hearts filled with memories of the changing scenes of life, challenge for another year ahead, I am reminded of the words of Charles Stanley: ‘Our willingness to wait, reveals the value we place on the object we’re waiting for’.  May my quiet hours sense an awareness of His presence, His nearness, His interest in the ‘all things’ of life.  I pray for wisdom, I ask for grace to love Him more; humility to serve Him more effectively in reaching Even One.  ‘Am I my brother’s keeper’? ‘Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness‘ (Charles Stanley)
2017 has brought me face to face with the reality of physical weakness, heartache, lonesomeness, the flawed of humanity, the outcast.  I can choose to ignore or I can make the choice to ask for continued compassion in my service to others. When you have been torn inside, how can you banish such realities from your heart?  The Word of God teaches that we can excel in our servanthood once we learn to value others higher than ourselves. How do I see my level of care, my attitude, my witness in showing the same love to others I have been shown? My love MUST penetrate the hardened heart, the closed door, the wall of insecurity.  In the midst of all the suffering, my trust is steadfast in the Lord as I commit: Baby Florin, Andrada, Kevin, Dora, Denisa, Diana, David, Alex, Brother Joseph, Sister Magdelina, Sister Emese….. into His care, the list is endless.  I think of the empty chair, the unoccupied corner, the humble gypsy home without heat, light, water, food,  yet this is ‘Home’.  Let’s ‘Come Home’ for Christmas and gather together in thanksgiving for all His blessings.  Whether rich or poor we are family, we are one ‘In Him’. Let us expand our horizon together.  ‘We can trust an unknown future to a known God. (Corrie Ten Boom).  Only eternity will reveal the rewards from following the Lord with unwavering and unfailing faith.
 ‘John 13: 35 tells us ‘By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’.  Since my visit to Cighid, I have come to recognise that emotional pain is very real and that together we can demonstrate God’s Love to these traumatised, damaged adult orphans.  We serve a God who will enable us to build a wall of security, form a deep and lasting relationship, reach the hidden depths of despair.  The Lord already knows what is needed, we have proved His faithfulness throughout 2017.  Food, necessities of life are important but love is the essence of real importance.  Through your dedication and commitment, we will ‘Follow Our Heart’ in 2018, feeding the hungry, dying, orphan, disabled and abandoned children. He is the Giver of Life.  Thank you for answering God’s call.

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