A “Little Grace” in a Big World

Riding home from the hospital after visiting her new baby brother, Grace was so excited, she couldn’t quit talking! She would have a new baby at her house for Christmas! He was so little and she wanted to be a good big sister. She missed mommy and daddy but she knew they had to stay at the hospital. Aunt Laney was fun though and she let Grace eat cookies and drink hot chocolate and took her to see Santa!
She looked out the window as her aunt drove her home, and was wide eyed to see snowflakes barely coming down in the cold December air. She loved snow. Maybe Aunt Laney would let her play in it! There were sparkly lights on all the houses she passed and cars filling the store parking lots.
As her aunt passed a church, Grace saw a Nativity scene with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. Aunt Laney could tell she was about to get hit with another “four year old” question as she looked in the rear view mirror to see Grace’s forehead crease in thought as she pursed her lips.
“Aunt Laney?” Grace asked.
“Yes, Grace?” Laney replied.
“Where’s the Line to see Jesus?” Grace asked with all the seriousness a four year old can muster.
“What sweetie?” Laney thought she had misunderstood.
“Where’s the line to see Jesus?”
“Don’t you mean Santa?”
“No, Santa is at the store where all those cars are parked, but Jesus is outside in that manger and there’s no line to see him. Isn’t Christmastime His birthday?”
“Well, yes sweetie, but…”
“Well, there’s no line and he looked cold. Can I take him my blanket?”
As tears trickled down her face, Laney cleared her throat so she could speak.
“You know Grace, you’re right. There should be a line. Are you sure you want to give him your favorite blanket?”
“Aunt Laney, mommy told me Jesus was born for me and came so I could have life in Heaven one day if I believe in Him …and he’s a King, so don’t you think he needs a special blanket?”
Laney couldn’t help but smile at the wisdom of this child. “I sure do, Grace!” she said.
As they drove in to the lot of the church, Laney put on Grace’s little coat. She climbed out of her car seat and tugged her blankie out behind her. Aunt Laney grabbed her hand and they walked over to the live nativity scene.
Laney talked to “Mary” who smiled as she looked down at Grace. She knelt down to Grace’s level and helped Grace wrap her blanket around “Baby Jesus”.
By this time, onlookers from the main road were starting to pull in and get out of their cars. Small children with their parents, teenagers out on the town, college students back home for Christmas, even grandparents came to see what was happening at this church on this cold winter night.
Before they knew it, a line had formed and they were standing there praising and worshipping their King.
“Aunt Laney?” Grace asked as she tugged her aunt’s arm.
“Yes, sweetie?” said Laney.
“Now there’s a line to see Jesus!” Grace exclaimed.
“There sure is sweetheart!” Laney smiled.
“Aunt Laney?” Grace asked sweetly.
“Yes, Grace?” Laney replied.
“I liked sitting on Santa’s lap but this is even better!” Grace whispered in her aunt’s ear.
Laney smiled as she wiped her eyes, “I think so too Grace!”
As she looked around at the faces of young and old, many with tears flowing, she realized the difference one person can make.
One four year old who had a heart for Jesus, brought a community together and made them stop to realize what was truly important.
“Where is the line to see Jesus?”
Where will we make it this year?
Will they line up behind you? Will you be at the front?
Look what a difference even a “little Grace” can make in a big world!
Merry Christmas!!!



How God Provides When We Least Expect It

I was rolling along the Interstate going as fast as the law would allow when all of a sudden, traffic came to a dead stop. I look ahead and it is at a standstill. Great! Somebody was texting when they should have been looking. I strain to see if I can find out the cause of the trouble because I need someone to blame. I have somewhere to be and this was not on my agenda for the day. There is a Sherriff’s SUV a couple of cars in front of me. Maybe he can get this traffic moving again.

Suddenly I see someone running with an urgency I can’t explain up to the Sherriff’s car. He and his partner get out and run ahead to a van loaded down with luggage. I guess someone’s vacation is being delayed. Another man in a suit gets out of a different car and also approaches the passengers of the van, except for one. He has been laid on a backseat and someone is performing CPR. All of a sudden, I feel a need to pray. I feel an urgency for someone to intervene on this man’s behalf.

The next thing I know, the Sherriff and his deputy are racing back to their car and an ambulance is coming on the side of the Interstate. They load the man from the back of the car to the ambulance, and the Sherriff provides an escort for the ambulance to help clear the way and get to an exit.

As the man in the suit goes to climb back in his car, I roll down my window to ask if everything is ok.

The man in the suit introduced himself as the pastor of a local church who had gotten out to see if he could be of assistance to the family.  He said the man in the ambulance was a husband and father of two girls who was driving his family on a vacation. Up ahead , beyond where I could see, there was a truck that had forgotten to tie down a load and it caused several cars to swerve, including an 18 wheeler to jackknife. Luckily, no one was hurt, but this man in the van experienced a heart attack while sitting at the standstill. Wow, if he had been going 75 miles or more an hour, he could have been killed or could have killed someone else.

The pastor said, “Thank goodness for the standstill. There’s no telling how many lives were saved because no one was moving”. He gave me his card that had a website on the back, http://www.howgodprovides.com/. He said this site  was always helpful to him in his profession to provide others he encountered on a daily basis with inspirational bible verses and meaningful quotes to get them through a tough time.

As other rescue personnel started to arrive and traffic started moving again , I noticed  my right front tire was barely limping. I had blown a tire. What if I had been going as fast as I had been before the standstill? Suddenly, I was not even looking for who to blame. I was thanking God for providing me a safety net when I didn’t know I needed one. Thank you God for engineering everything that happens for a reason even when we can’t see it. I think while I wait on the roadside service to come change my tire, I will check out the website from the pastor’s card. Maybe next time something unexpected happens, I may be able to provide someone else with some inspirational words to help them through.

Sometimes, things happen that take us from our normal routine and shake things up a bit. Sometimes it may be an inconvenience. Sometimes, we can’t see what may be happening around the bend.  When we have an unexpected delay, when we have an illness we can’t explain, when we have a problem we can’t fix, it is amazing to see how God provides, even when we least expect it!