I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving <3! We had a truly wonderful one. As I shared in my post that day, things didn't go perfectly... but it was full of more blessings and reminders of the gifts I've been given than I could have asked for <3. It was a wonderful day.
The time since has been busy and happy as well. I've had sales going on in my Etsy shop, and been making gifts and cleaning and planning Christmas. We had Mama's family over last night; Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt Tessa, Aunt Amber & Uncle Jason and little James, who isn't nearly as little as he was last time I saw him!
We had a pizza party and exchanged gifts, and we went to the Lights Before Christmas display at the zoo. It was so fun to spend that time with them! Josiah's favorite light display was this 3D zebra... he had to make sure Daddy saw it, and when Daddy let him know that "Yeah, that's cool!", Josiah let him know "But it's not real." We can't let that be confused ;)... And we think maybe they forgot to turn off the Boo at the Zoo recordings. We've never been, so we can't say for sure... but we hit the end of the "cave" exhibit, and SOMETHING started screaming (Daddy and Grandpa stuck around and determined it wasn't the lemurs as Mama thought originally), and most of us just ran for it. I knew it was completely ridiculous, because you could "tell" everything was fine, but I seriously was envisioning part of the wall falling, it was so loud and unexpected, and I was pretty sure it wasn't lemurs, ha! That was more than enough excitement for us ;).
Grandma commented a couple of times on the fact that one thing has changed dramatically since last year... over half of us are now at about the same height. It was sooooooo confusing. In all the past years (well, since Andrew was born, anyway) we've had a bunch of little people in the group. This year, although there are still quite a few little ones, even Andrew has almost hit our average height, and I was NOT finding enough small people when I would try to make sure we had everybody! That's one I'd really not thought of until it happened...
I was reading John 11 recently, with the story about the death and resurrection of Lazarus. I have heard someone say once that there must have been something about that family that we don't think about when we read about them. That even though Martha was so "cumbered with much care" and had deep doubt seated in her heart; even though Mary was a follower to the point of questioning Jesus as Martha did, though she had sat at His feet so intently when things were going well; even though it is questionable that Lazarus was the real leader of the home in more than just social status, since he isn't mentioned in the most talked about story of the two sisters, and it is Martha who invites the Savior to the home; there must have been something about them, that the Lord loved them so much and loved their home out of all the ones in the area.
John 11:5... "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus". And John 11:3... "So the sisters sent to Jesus, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." John (the "disciple whom Jesus loved") and, as we learn from the narrative, Mary and Martha, were confident that Jesus loved this family. There was no question about this. But I don't think it was because this family had any better qualities than we see.
They believed in Christ and loved Him. Mary hung on his word; the sisters knew he was their only hope when they faced the fear of losing the loved brother who was their only means of support. But we get that from the story.
They were generous and hospitable. We see Jesus staying at their home in the story of Martha and Mary's choice of what to do with the time they were given, and we see him staying at their house during the passover in chapter 12, and I imagine they gave him a room when he came to raise Lazarus. They were kind and their door was open... but that is in the story, too.
So we see all that. You could say that maybe those qualities out weighted their shortcomings. Or you could say that maybe they did things that maybe we don't see in the story. Or you could say that it wasn't anything that they did at all.
It was simply the grace of God. He opened their hearts to His word, and he loved them as His children, for that's what they were... from no deed of their own, but just because of the grace and the love of our glorious Redeemer.
The same grace that is given to you and to me. The same grace that is the only means of our hope.
How thankful I am for this grace... and for that love.
Rejoicing in Hope,