Kari Lee Fournier
"A cozy Christmas story"
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By Kari Lee Fournier
December 20, 2018

The flurry of another Christmas season descends upon us, with all of the fast-paced frenzy that we've come to expect this time of year. And, yet, we who have the story of the baby Jesus and the manger steadfastly sewn into our hearts have a very cozy and warm haven to which we can escape.

Our outer world unfolds, with all of the Christmas shopping, gift wrapping, decorating and delicious holiday meals. Not to mention the much-anticipated cakes and cookies and other sweet delights. And all of it carefully intertwined with our other daily duties.

Meantime, we find ways to revolve our inner world around the glorious story of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ – the Son of God, who died for our sins and then rose again. As our eyes capture the little moments around us, we grow adept at transforming these various Christmas pictures in our mind's eye into the inviting Christmas story, told to us lo those many years ago.

When our eyes alight upon the star affixed atop the Christmas tree, our minds fade to the bright star in the east that the Magi followed, which led them to the Baby Jesus. We marvel at how the God of the universe decided to have His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, take on human flesh in the form of a vulnerable and tiny little baby. An infant who would grow to one day spread God's Holy Word, who would one day serve as our Savior and take the sins of the entire world upon His loving and humble shoulders. The single greatest act of love ever performed, so that He could spend eternity with us.

As we come upon the Santas in the stores, we realize that the material gifts attributed to this jolly old man mean absolutely nothing compared to the real gifts offered by Jesus to those who believe on Him. Gifts of unconditional love and forgiveness and joy. Gifts of complete peace and security. And then the most wonderful gift of all: Jesus' righteousness in exchange for our sins, truly "The Great Exchange."

We tremble as we realize what Jesus saved us from, the dark and evil and horrific nightmare of sin. And once again, our minds revert back to the welcoming curve of God's arms, arms that provide the calm tranquility and peace of mind that is truly priceless, the treasure of all treasures.

Those same arms of God also continually beckon us toward the best Christmas present ever imagined: heaven. Our Lord's description of the beauty and sounds and dimensions that await us in this, our eternal home, are simply too vast for our minds to grasp.

God describes an abundance of gold in heaven, even streets of pure gold, as pure as transparent glass. A foundation of precious stones, a river as clear as crystal running through the city, no sun or moon, but merely the intense and brilliantly radiating light of God and Jesus throughout, absolute magnificence in every aspect at every moment.

No movie production on earth can match this splendor. Nor can the sinister villains or monsters that adorn the silver screen ever compete with the worst evil entity that Jesus came to earth to vanquish. That would be Satan himself, the perpetrator of death and disease – two most horrific and nightmarish images.

We see these images clearly in the disturbing Christmas story of "Tiny Tim," his memory summed up in a lone chair and crutch sitting forlornly in the corner of the room. Sadly, death and disease invade even the most unsuspecting of families, and those two heartbreaking entities are by far the most difficult of life's tragedies – almost too painful to bear.

Quickly scurrying away from those pictures of despair, our minds once again float back to the Christmas story, where our Lord and savior defeats Satan, who one day will be vanquished into the lake of fire. No more death and disease or anything remotely despairing or destructive.

As we are assured of this certainty, we pull ourselves from any distressing thoughts and once again recede back into our warm and cozy cocoon, safe and well protected in God's capable hands. We realize that nothing can really touch our spirit, that part of us that will one day reside safely with our Lord.

And that realization on these cold winter nights causes us to burrow into our bed quilts even deeper, delightfully tossing aside the visions of sugarplums. Instead, we visualize the golden streets and streams of living water promised to us in Heaven, the utter peace and joy. This as the strains of the last verse of "Silent Night" coax us ever so gently into a blissfully serene and contented slumber, the well-remembered lyrics of that dearly loved song playing softly in our minds, "Sleep in Heavenly Peace."

(Originally published December 22, 2016 in USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

© Kari Lee Fournier

 

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Kari Lee Fournier

Kari Lee Fournier is a Christian conservative freelance writer. Recently retired after 38 years with her City Water Utility, Kari likes to say that she's still in the water business – although her work now involves the 'Living Water,' represented by the Holy Spirit, which is freely given by Jesus Christ to those who believe that He is their Savior who died and rose again for their sins. In her writings, she primarily attempts to relay the message of the Holy Bible in a simple way, so that those who read her work can immediately apply the Bible's teachings to their own personal life's journeys and trials. Kari's columns have appeared in the Faith Perspectives section of Gannett Company newspapers throughout northeastern Wisconsin.

Contact Kari at wolfgang4234@hotmail.com.

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