Thursday, December 21, 2006
Memories and Good Gifts
Stepping into the living room this morning I remembered that I had made a bed for Heather by the fire near the tree last night. She wanted to sleep in that cozy place and so I had tucked her in on the floor where she was soon asleep.
But seeing her there this morning (and sneaking this photo of her) reminded me of Christmas eight years ago. Heather was 20 days old on Christmas Eve and she would lie sleeping like a pink gift under the pale lights of our little tree way up in Loita, those distant hills of Kenya.
It had been an unbelievable year in which our team had faced robberies, rape, natural disasters, discouragement and the constant threat of car-jackings and bandits. We were tired beyond belief. All of us.
What I remembered as I watched Heather sleeping by the tree this morning was that our family had been longing for a baby girl. As 1998 had dawned, I had written in my journal in faith, "January 1, 1998, The Year of Our Daughter." On December 4th of that year she was born.
Suzie, our team doctor, finally cleared us to travel the 8-10 hours of indescribable roads home on the 23rd. Dr. Suze was keeping a careful eye on some post-natal high blood pressure I was experiencing and at last it came down. My parents were there in Kenya with us and all we wanted was to get home for Christmas. We had been away for weeks awaiting Heather's birth in Nairobi.
To see that baby sleeping under the tree all those years ago was to realize in tangible form that God gives good gifts. The pain and struggle of the year that was passing faded in the warmth of her small body against my chest.
This morning I looked at Heather Carolyn asleep under the Christmas lights and remembered that our Father is the All-Time Best Giver of Gifts.
My mind took me back through 1998 and then left me in soft, hallowed awe. Funny how much can happen in the early quiet before anyone else is up.