Thursday, December 22, 2011

Keep Your Oil Lamp Filled

     The other night I had a dream about my mother. I don't remember all the specifics. It seems she was visiting with other blind friends. (I recognized them as being people I'd met as a child) Anyway when they left there were a couple of white canes left behind. A white cane is used by a blind person to sweep the area ahead of them to see if there is anything in their path they could stumble on. Mom used hers when she walked alone or with others who weren't experienced sighted guides. I was trained at a young age so she never used her cane when she was with me.
     I don't put much store into dreams. But this one got me wondering. What is a cane used for and how does that apply spiritually? As I said above the cane is used to check for hazards in the path ahead. Looking up stumble in my Strong's Concordance I found references to walking in light and stumbling in darkness. Thinking about light led me to oil lamps. Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (NIV) Oil lamps need to be filled to provide light. I believe we keep our lamps filled by being in the Word and through prayer. 
     In this season that celebrates with light and celebrates The Light I hope you don't get too busy to keep your lamps filled. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Love Gifts at Christmas

      It's that time of year again. The time when we go into the garage or other storage area and pull out the time machine identified as the Christmas Ornament and Decorations box. As ornaments are pulled out I remember when ... fond memories of my children's milestones and when they brought home their handmade ornaments from preschool, kindergarten and Sunday School. My memories hang on the tree as well. There are ornaments that have been on the Burkholder family tree for as long as I remember. One makes me chuckle. It says Merry X-mas and it belonged to my father even though he had written an essay on keeping Christ in Christmas. The irony makes me chuckle.
     The majority of the large decorations are kept in a separate box from the ornaments and don't travel as far back in time. An angel that belonged to my mother given to her in 2006. An angel I won at a charity fund raiser in the early '90's. Memories of being able to surprise my husband with the little village he'd been wanting and when and how we got the different Nativity Scenes emerge as things are put on display. Then I came to a little Styrofoam box. No memory emerged when I opened it.
       Dave didn't know where it came from and I couldn't place it either. It looked like something I would have gotten in a gift exchange at work, a lovely little ceramic candle holder with a Jewish Star, Menorah and Fish symbol on it. I pulled out the candle. Storage had not been kind to it. It was no longer round but flattened a bit and crooked. It no longer fit in the holder. I turned the ceramic piece over and there was a stamp on the bottom. It was smudged but recognizable: TBN. That solved the mystery.
          I remembered it came out of the box under the desk at Mom's house. She had a box of potential gifts in case an occasion would arise where she needed one. She gave regularly to the ministry of the Trinity Broadcasting Network and in return they'd send her something for her love gift. Dave and I used to joke that if we wanted to know what we were getting for Christmas we should watch TBN. They'd announce what they were giving for this month's love gift offering in between shows. Mom hadn't had the chance to give us this gift. I'm pretty sure it was there in the box waiting to be wrapped for Christmas of '07 but she must have forgotten to ask her  caregiver to wrap it.
        We may have joked about it, but to be honest I kind of miss those love gifts at Christmas. Mostly though I miss the gift giver. One day we will be reunited in Heaven and I shall meet The Gift Giver Who sent His Son to be born of a virgin, live a sinless life, and die a criminal's death. He rose on the third day and left this earth to take His place in Heaven. He left behind the greatest gift of all: Salvation.