Fireworks in December!

Advent{ures}: Let’s Go to Bethlehem

Light is sown for the righteous,
and gladness for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous;
and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
(Psalm 97:11-12 KJV)

 
 


Today, I am at that place in the journey where I need to get my bearings. I started out on these Advent{ures} headed toward Bethlehem. I gathered my companions (my Bible and the Advent devotions) and I studied the history and famous people of Bethlehem. Each week I lit the candle of remembrance.

Peace. Hope. Joy.

I traded joy for a brief lament with Job in the land of Uz. More on that visit tomorrow, but today I needed to pause.

My mind wandered back to a Friday night earlier in the month. The night my mom, my sister and I took the children to see the Way of Lights at Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois.

It was a balmy, clear night. We arrived with oohs and ahhs.

Look at the lights! There’s one of the wise men! There’s another one! Will we get to ride a camel?

I drove slowly through the lighted scenes of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem and angels proclaiming glad tidings and rivers and fountains and finally the holy family in the creche with the star above.

We park. Go inside where carolers sing, a thousand villages sell gifts and children create pins to commemorate their visit. We see a life size nativity set made of a million legos that rivals the million lights that make up the evening. A few cookies and punch and back to the van. The crankiness sets in. Will we stop at the petting zoo or just go home?

The lights of the way wend through the landscape, we see Mary and Joseph with their donkey again and point at the pasture of angels ahead, when the youngest passenger asks, “Aunt Kel, are we going to stop at the petting zoo?”

I pause. I notice a parking spot nearby, I turn in, we consult. Yes, we will all go to the petting zoo, but no camel rides tonight. We feed and pet the animals: alpaca, goats, sheep with four horns, leaping sheep and the softest baby camels that want to kiss your ears greet us, along with a stately yak. We are glad we visited. We wander back to the van, it’s almost time for the lights to go to bed for the night.

Just as we decided to leave, we heard a squeal and we witnessed lights bursting upon the night sky! My heart leapt! More oohs and ahhs than we ever imagined. Stunned by God’s surprise joys. Fireworks in December!

Fireworks in December happens only once during the Way of Lights season, and we just happened to be there that night. This past summer due to drought our fireworks in July had been cancelled. Fireworks in December filled me with delight. To think that God knew how much I missed the fireworks that He brought them to us in December. (Awe fills my heart even now, if we had hurried home or gave into the crankiness, we would have missed the gift of celebration.)

Fireworks in December! What a wonder filled way to celebrate the birth of Jesus, who grants us the best freedom of all! The freedom to be loved and love. The joy of forgiveness. The hope of a better future. The peace of His presence.

Woohoo! Applause! You out did yourself, God! Hallelujah! Thank You! This is me, jumping up and down in Your presence, God! I love you, O Lord, my strength!

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