The Write Place- Curtis Bruce Kessler

May 8, 2012

A Golden Afternoon

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Imagine plump blackberries as big as the end of your thumb, their natural sweetness and flavor oozing forth with an unsurpassed richness, and the sensational aroma causes your mouth to water with anticipation.  This was what I remembered one golden afternoon at age eight.  My dad had come home from work and we went outside to play around for awhile.  In the lane just behind our house dad noticed some blackberry bushes loaded down with huge berries.

He turned and kneeled down to me, “Hey, want to make a blackberry pie?  I bet we can make the best pie ever!  What do you think?”

Of course, I was ready to just eat those blackberries right then and there, forget the pie man!  However, I wanted to help dad and be close to him more than I wanted to eat those berries so we began to pick them for the pie. By the time we picked all those blackberries I was sick with hunger.   They were so plump, wonderful, and tempting as we cleaned them carefully with running cold water.

A few times I would surreptitiously pluck one in my mouth thinking I had fooled dad. But to my amazement he had done the same thing!

In the kitchen we prepared the dough, working with our hands, rolling it out on baking sheets sprinkled with flour. Next we carefully formed the dough around the pie pan.  We then prepared the blackberries with a mixture of sugar and other ingredients I cannot (won’t) name and threw that mix in the pan. Finally, we used the remaining dough for a topping then using a fork we made two imprints in the middle so that the pie could breath.

Dad placed the pie in the preheated oven and we waited.

I never knew baking could be such torture.  The wait was excruciating!  Once the aroma filled our little home (no air-condition until I was thirteen years old) I was besieged with pangs of hunger.  I had to leave the house and climb my favorite tree just to get some relief.  Finally dad announced that the pie was done but that another fifteen minutes of cool down time was necessary.

Oh the bitter agony.  What abuse!

Then the moment of truth arrived.  Dad had remodeled a round wooden pedestal table and that was where we sat to eat our blackberry pie.  He placed a piece of the pie for me and one for him.  Then we gave thanks.  Thank goodness his prayer was short and sweet.  I don’t think I could have resisted the aroma any longer. Oh, the blackberry pie was magical, heavenly, and unbelievably good.

It was in every way a masterpiece.

My dad had bet that we could make the best pie ever but what we experienced in the process went far beyond the makings of an awesome dessert. Here we were as father and son offering up a sacrifice of sorts- a sacrifice of time, of togetherness, of tenderness, and of love.  The aroma of this sacrifice reached well beyond the natural senses and to the very depth of our souls.  The bond of love between us was strengthened. By faith I believe that this unique connection was orchestrated by God. A golden afternoon with enormous eternal consequences and one forever treasured in my heart.

Always value the time spent with your loved one.  It is never too late. A golden afternoon awaits you today.

Yours, Bruce

May 1, 2012

Pot Pie

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 4:40 pm
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I was about ten years old when my dad taught me how to cook and fend for myself during the summer days I was out of school. He had been raising me on his own for several years by that time. I learned how to cook spaghetti and ravioli real well.

Special thanks to Chef Boyardee.

I also learned how to fry eggs and bacon. Sometimes I liked to fry some ham and make a ham sandwich with mustard on toast. Dad was superb at cooking a roast but that was way too complicated for me at the time. For some reason dad went hog wild over those pre-fabricated pot pies. Two to three times a week he threw them in the oven. I despised those things. They were weird tasting plus I believed something lived in them that was nasty and mean. A pot pie night was the worse. The vision I had during those nights was chunking the pot pie in the air and blasting it to bits with dad’s shotgun.


The annihilation of all pot pies had begun. I could even visualize the robot from Lost in Space wiggling his tiny mechanical arms in panic shouting, “Danger Will Robinson, Danger!” To this day I simply cannot bring myself to eat a pot pie. Something comes over me.

A pot pie in and of itself is an innocent creation. There was no hidden agenda behind the designers. This wasn’t a cruel joke perpetrated by goblins. This wasn’t cooked up by a secret Government organization deep in the mountains of Colorado to turn people into zombies. This wasn’t the recipe of a legion of grinning demons. The real fact is a pot pie was brought together with the best intentions and nobility of human ingenuity. Yet, for me, even the best intentions are sometimes ill advised and untimely.

The scriptures say that everything God created was good. This is true until man decides to tinker with it. There are a few of God’s marvelous creation in the world of cooking that mankind has simply fouled up. Take liver for instance. Who was the first deranged person to decide to thrust that foul meat on a grill or on a frying pan? My poor dear stepmom was determined to teach me to eat that fiendish organ. She failed miserably. Who was the mad genius to decide that chocolate ice cream mixed with nuts and cappuccino would be a delightful desert? It tastes like turpentine for goodness sake!

Here’s the thing. No matter how much I distaste these foods I should always be thankful. Someone out there loves the very foods I despise.

We live in this fantastic world where God had granted us the privilege to develop and eat foods in a variety of ways. We all may have different tastes but all of us are blessed. Listen, “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14:17)


Are you thankful? Do you praise God only when your belly is filled? Does food control you? “For God’s kingdom does not consist of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy produced by the Holy Spirit.” (Ro.14:17). Only when you taste the Bread of Life (Jesus Christ) from above will you ever be truly satisfied and have the endurance to run the race to the end. “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” (John 6:27).

Yours, Bruce

April 25, 2012

Telling the Truth

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 4:56 pm
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The day had come for report cards to be handed out.  This was the day I was dreading.

I knew that I had some bad grades and just couldn’t face my dad. He was working so hard and I didn’t want to see the disappointment on his face. So, I decided to take matters into my own hand.  I went home and practiced signing his signature.  Yep, I practiced and practiced. Soon, I had his signature down pat.  The next morning I hurriedly signed on the line for parents and put the report card in my coat pocket.  I tried to convince myself that everything was cool but the card was a heavy reminder beating slowly against my chest.  I stopped to eat breakfast at my Aunt’s house before heading to school.  While sitting at the table the card somehow tumbled out of my pocket and before I could do anything she snatched it up. To my embarrassment she read my grades.  I tried to become invisible. Then she noticed the signature.  Where was Houdini when you needed him!  With a twinkle in her eye said, “Good job with the signature honey but there is one wee problem.  You signed your name and not your dad’s!”  Dad had to come over and boy telling him the truth was really difficult.  But, what a relief once I did.

Telling the truth should be the high standard every day, right? Well, not so fast. All around us we witness politicians, entertainers, talk show hosts, athletes, news broadcasters, reporters, and spouses fail miserably with this principle. Truth telling has become our preverbal thorn-in-the-flesh.  We seem to think that the whole truth will hurt too much.  Our tendency in those moments of anxiety is to tell half the truth or gloss over it just a bit.  We want to give truth a make over. Our desire is to smooth what we may feel is truth’s sharp potentially hurtful edge.  Instead of a square pill we want to turn truth into an oval shaped pill that way we or the person we are talking to can swallow it easier.

Everywhere and everyday we expect people to tell the truth.

We demand truth from our congressmen, our president, our news media, our co-workers, our supervisors, our CEO’s, our teachers, our doctors, our policemen, our neighbors, our spouses, and our children.   Yet, the highest and greatest emphasis for telling the truth is the church.  The world should be able to look to Christians for stability in this area. As the church we are the light of the world and salt of the earth (Mt.5:13-14).

Yet, sadly, the church that the world sees more times than not are people just like them, cowering, rationalizing, and many times withholding truth selfishly. In fact by refusing to tell the truth, by watering down truth, by avoiding telling the truth, the salt that once had great influence is slowly becoming less potent and effective.  Why should the world be moved by people who will not even tell the truth to each other or confess to one another their faults?  Why would our communities be swayed by a standard we refuse to practice or aspire to live among ourselves?

Christ preached truth and said that his truth will set us free (Jn.8:32).  The standard is set before us in Eph.4:25 “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” When an offense has occurred among church members then Christ compels believers to act in love and confess their faults to each other.  

When you tell the truth in this way Christ will tear down walls (strongholds) of bitterness, anger, frustration, doubt, sin, fear, anxiety, prejudice, faulty ideas, and stinking thinking.  When you have these barriers removed then real meaningful relationships can occur. Jesus promises that in these moments “where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I among them.” (Mt.18:20). This is real freedom and genuine fellowship.

If you desire this then a good place to start is by telling the truth.  It could be revolutionary.


April 5, 2012

Every Second Counts

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 5:46 pm
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The elderly women are excited about the planned lunch party.  All their church friends will be there.  Good food, good companions, along with some great conversations; what more could a person ask for?

Eagerly they pile in their car and head strait way to the restaurant.  On the trip over they are all just having the best time in the world- laughing, singing, and teasing.  All are celebrating and enjoying the golden years of their life.  Life couldn’t be better.

The restaurant is now just around the corner.  You could smell the wonderful food from this point.  Pulling into the left turning lane they wait with anticipation as two tractor trailers pass by.  Delighted they turn to cross the highway.

Their true story ends in tragedy. They pull right in the path of an on-coming vehicle.  Within seconds two of the women died. One was ejected from the vehicle and the other received massive head injuries.  The other passengers suffered devastating injuries. Even more heart-breaking was the fact that no one had their seat-belts on.What would have taken just a few seconds to click was disregarded or through the excitement was put off.

I want you to imagine with me for a moment.  Instead of the ‘elderly women’ I want you to pretend that this is your family getting ready for a fast trip to the restaurant.  Yes, a fun filled glorious day out with the family.  This occasion is even more special because time is short, life is busy, and these are the quality times we live for.  We are all in the car now; everyone is giggling, laughing, and singing all the lame songs we always love to sing.  Excited and filled with anticipation we make the turn to cross the highway to enter the parking lot of our favorite restaurant.


Unbelievably, as time moves in slow-motion, we remember too late that our seatbelts are not on and that the children are not properly fastened. Oh, how we wish we could have those precious seconds back! Disaster, tragedy ensues. We failed to fully protect our family.

True, having your seatbelt on carries no guarantee that you will survive every wreck.  You won’t find that kind of assurance anywhere.  What we do have however are hard facts, real evidence, and common sense.  Seatbelts do save.  What will you do for your family, for your friends, or for yourself?  Every second reveals the intent of your heart. 

Let’s apply this spiritually.

These Biblical facts cry out for our attention:

a. We will all die and then face the judgment. Hebrew 9:27

b. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:24

c. Christ is the only name by which we can be saved. Acts 4:12

d. We must take care of every living moment and live wisely.  Ephesians 5:15-16

e. We must obey the laws of the Government. Romans 13:1-2

f. Christ is the only one that offers complete assurance. 1 John 5:13

g. Through baptism we put on Christ. Galatians 3:27

Putting on Christ is like the seatbelt- every second reveals the intentions of your heart. Christ is our seatbelt of security and full assurance.  In our spiritual journey we will be facing demonic assaults and dangers from every angle.  Are you fastened securely in His Grace or are you driving down that highway of life without protection?  What will you do for your family, for your friends, or for yourself?  Have you put on Christ? Every second counts.

Humbly, Bruce

March 1, 2012

The Dark Shadows (by Bruce Kessler)

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 12:16 pm

Chapter 1
Something in the Shadows

In the dark shadows something waited silently, hungrily, expectantly. The little boy could hardly describe what he felt and certainly could not articulate verbally what he knew to be true in his soul. His sister would call him a baby and his dad, well; his dad would simply think he was letting his imaginations get the best of him. Yet, this was no imagination. Now, he knew what imaginations were. They were like dreams but different in that you could think of fantastic adventures in your brain while awake. You can imagine anytime which was cool but this was not a dream, not an imagination, and anything but cool. So, he lay listening under the safety net of his covers. It’s a universal truth. Every kid on the planet is naturally given this ‘safety under the covers’ knowledge hence every evil lurking thing has to respect that once the child is under the covers there are certain rules of battle to follow. He hoped. Now, under his Fort Knox cover, he was trying not to freak out and start raving like a lunatic. His sister had told him all about lunatics and how they would go super nova all of a sudden; then, people in white coats would drive up in a white van to take them away forever. He certainly didn’t want that white van with the weird white coated strangers to come and take him away! But, he decided that his sister was really lame when it came to lunatics. He never met a raving lunatic before but he thought that perhaps what caused them to go super nova was something they had seen in the dark shadows. He knew. To Kess his little heart was pounding loud enough to peel the paint off the walls but not so loud to not sense furtive movement in the far corner of his bedroom.

February 24, 2012

It Might Save Your Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 6:20 pm
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I have been reading with great sadness the news reports these past few weeks of people being ejected from their vehicle after a crash.  One driver has died recently and another driver is clinging to life. The police press report shared by Joel Pruett in the Norman Transcript 2/24/2012 noted that this was the second major accident in which a driver was ejected for not wearing a seat belt. The quote that caught my eye stated “Take a few seconds; put on your seatbelt. It just might save your life.”  Oh how this statement hits home!  I wonder, what is the value I place on life with the precious seconds I’ve been granted?

Many times we just do things off the cuff.  Without any real reason or thought we just act and never contemplate the likelihood of disaster that is waiting around the corner.  Life is that precarious and indeed life is that precious.  How easy it is to forget that the little details in our lives has as much to do with cause and effect as the major decisions we place so much attention to.  It’s the little things that count someone once said.  But, truly, those little details (those little things) are absolutely critical.

“It might save your life” is a truism. But, this is a true cautionary statement about life. Yes, putting on your seatbelt may indeed save your life but there is no such thing as a guarantee. No one can say that by putting on your seatbelt your life and survival is a certainty.  This is why every second counts. The seconds you take in putting on your seatbelt, the seconds you take in telling someone you love them, the seconds you take to hug your dad or mom, the seconds you take to praise your children, the seconds you take to hold someone’s hand in prayer, or the seconds it takes to simply say please forgive me are seconds that life is made of.

You see, this is not about the seatbelt per se but is and always will be about those precious seconds, those seconds that many of us wish we could have back.

Man in serious condition after crash


February 16, 2012

The Secret Places of the Stairs

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 4:28 pm
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I like to exercise, so, at work every day I climb the stairs. During our break I traverse the six floors of our building twice. Most of the time the stairway is clear and this affords me the opportunity to meditate about the Words of God and Jesus, pray, dream, ponder the days decisions, think about home, think about family and friends, argue with myself, fuss about the politics of our day, and imagine. While climbing these stairs I can hear voices well before I actually see the person or persons, I can hear footsteps, I can hear activities taking place outside the walls of the stairwell, I hear doors opening and closing, I can sense the temperature change and the environment subtly effected by the upper roof door opening, I can hear my own movements and breathing, I know when folks come in and when they leave. What I thought would be routine and dull has truly become inspiring. To be certain these stairs have proven to be a world of wonder and a treasure cove of spiritual enlightenment. I now find myself looking forward to climbing these stairs with anticipation and expectation for incredibly this is like a journey filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, carefully stepping here and there, yet with the knowledge that the goal I’ve entered is destined to be completed.

Such is the nature and beauty of our journey and prayer-life in Christ. Along this journey there are opportunities for personal enlightenment. These spiritual treasures are hidden and waiting to be discovered through prayer. Peter refers to the hidden man of the heart (1 Peter 3:4) and that is the secret place where you and God are the most intimate. It is there in prayer, in that secret place; you open yourself fully and completely to God. Like in the privacy of the stairwell you enter that unique secret chamber to speak openly with God. About this Jesus said in Matthew 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Here in this stairwell of prayer we open our hearts freely and without reservation, we listen intently to His words, we know Him and walk with Him, we call out to Him, talk with Him, rejoice with Him, and move to the next level by His presence and powerful hand.

Are you and I really willing to enter that chamber? Are you and I truly willing to expose our hearts in prayer? Are we truly willing to open up our lives wholly in prayer in which by doing so we call on His name, hear His voice clearly, and so dramatically we are privileged to experience a level of unparalleled spirituality and inspiration. If we do then Jesus promises something quite amazing and remarkable- He will reward us openly. My friend, pray thus so, pray thus so. 14”O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” (Song of Solomon 2, KJV)


January 27, 2012

Revolution Monday

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 11:35 am
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Monday’s are so hard, right? Ever felt the ‘Monday morning blues’? Many a song has been written about this challenging day. Who can forget the melodious voice of Karen Carpenter singing “Hangin’ around, nothing to do but frown; rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” I bet many of you are singing that tune right now. For others, Manic Monday, made famous by the Bangles, typifies their feelings about Monday as the song bemoans, “Just another manic Monday, Wish it was Sunday, Cause that’s my fun day, My I don’t have to run day, Just another Manic Monday.” One of the favorite comments from around the coffee pot in the office on Monday morning is, “We should just skip Monday and go right to Friday”. Most likely all of us at one point wished away a blue Monday. But, what if I told you that Monday is the most pivotal and revolutionary day of your life? Let me explain.

Sometime between Wednesday and Saturday Jesus was found guilty, crucified, and was buried. Matthew 12:40 “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Then, on Sunday, Jesus was resurrected! He has risen! Mark 16:9 Jesus rose from death early on the first day of the week. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. Fifty days later on the first day of the week, Sunday, the church/kingdom was established in Acts 2 as Jesus promised. A great revival was held on that Sunday! But, what happened next? Ever wondered what happened on Monday? Well, plenty!

Acts 2: 42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. All the Lord’s followers often met together, and they shared everything they had. 45They would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever needed it. 46Day after day they met together in the temple. They broke bread together in different homes and shared their food happily and freely, 47while praising God. Everyone liked them, and each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved.” What happened on Monday was revolutionary; a revolution Monday. But what started this revolution? Listen!

Romans 6: 5 “If we shared in Jesus’ death by being baptized, we will be raised to life with him. 6We know that the persons we used to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus. This was done, so that our sinful bodies would no longer be the slaves of sin. 8As surely as we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him. 10When Christ died, he died for sin once and for all. But now he is alive, and he lives only for God. 11In the same way, you must think of yourselves as dead to the power of sin. But Christ Jesus has given life to you, and you live for God.”

The day the early believers accepted Jesus as their Savior, when they were buried with him and resurrected with him in baptism, this was the day of purpose and meaning. Now, what truly mattered was what they did next. For the early church the next day, Monday, was truly a pivotal day. Would they go back to their tired lives? Would they go back to their same habits? Would they just fade away? That is why I call that day the revolutionary Monday. That was the day when purpose and meaning was put into action. They changed the world! I want to join that revolution!

Are you making a real difference? Are you part of this radical organic church described in Acts 2:42-47? Are you living the revolution Monday life?

Bruce Kessler

January 17, 2012

The Sinai Skunk

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 10:14 pm

The Sinai Skunk

There was once a skunk who lived near the Mountain of Sinai.

He always wanted to climb to the top but never would try.

He heard of the One there who dealt swiftly with those who tried,

So, he would meander close then look to the top and simply sigh.

The skunk wondered every day as he passed,‘Do I try, Do I,Do I?’

But the fear of the One was just too real, ‘Why should I die oh why,oh why?’

But one day he thought as he passed by ,“Today I won’t be denied, denied!”

So, he scampered along with feverous delight, determined to climb or die,

Towards the mountain he hurried full of grit and then charged with this cry

“I‘ll die to reach the top and to meet the One who rules the sky,the sky!”

Suddenly the earth shook, thunder crashed, and a trumpet blew from on high.

The skunk turned trembling with fear & awe for the One had spoken why.

Thus the skunk lived joyfully on, knowing the One was up there, ruling, keeping an eye.


December 1, 2011

The Fallen Christmas Tree

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 11:25 am
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Holiday memories are special and powerful. When you are from a broken home, a family separated by divorce, these memories cut through like a razor and leave a permanent image on your soul. I had come from a broken home myself. Many folks accept divorce today as inevitable, the norm, or an alternative but studies show that divorce leaves a “forever” scar on the children, even if the divorce is justified. I know I speak for many children who were raised by their single divorced parent, the memories of Christmas holidays are both wonderful and sad. I say sad in the since that as a child you know something is terribly wrong with your dad or mom but you don’t know how to fix it. You want to help them so bad but it’s just beyond your reach. Instead, you love them wholly, unconditionally through and through. Because of this dynamic love special times like Christmas are deeply treasured. One such special memory for me happened one Christmas Eve night when I was 8 years old. My dad had the titanic responsibility of raising a wiry skinny little boy (me) on his own and did so for eight challenging heroic years. However, he did have great support from his 14 brothers and sisters. Of course this was both a blessing and a curse for me! But I digress.

Christmas was even more special that particular year. My dad and I had gone through a lot. The road had been difficult. Well, actually he had gone through a lot. I was grateful to stand tall beside my wonderful dad. He had to work extra jobs along with working the grave-yard shift just to get by week to week, that, and constantly chasing after me. While I didn’t understand the complexities of life I somehow sensed that dad was deeply troubled, that he wasn’t happy, and was working extremely hard to hide his pain. His efforts to put on a different mask around me didn’t work one wit and I was determined to heal him of his ills and raise his spirits. Soon, I found the means to heal his sickness. A Christmas tree!

My plan was unbelievably simple. Daddy had to work Christmas Eve and would come home late that night. He had purchased a live tree the day before but had forgotten to purchase any ornaments for decorations. So, Christmas Eve, while dad was working I excitedly put my plan into motion. I scurried from one Aunt/Uncle’s house to another getting my hands on every ornament they were willing to let go. Soon I had a treasure cove of Christmas ornaments. What an amazing collection; an assortment of blue and red glass balls, dangling bells, glass snowflakes, Nutcracker soldiers, a Star of Bethlehem tree topper, gold and silver tinsels, and lights to finish the tree. I worked steadily, carefully and tenderly placing each ornament on the tree. Truly, my decoration represented a puzzle; each piece had to be placed perfectly. This would be the complete cure for my dad. Finally, the work was done. I stood back and smiled at the most spectacularly decorated Christmas tree in the entire world. I then slid the tree carefully behind the front door so dad wouldn’t be able to see my surprise until the right moment.

Life is filled with surprises and God has his way about things. So, not surprisingly things didn’t turn out quite like I had envisioned. As dad pulled in from work I stood with great anticipation. But instead of walking in normally he threw open the door shouting, “Merry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho!” and unbelievably knocked over the tree. All my plans, all my hopes, all of my work to put this puzzle in place to cure my dad came slowly crashing down. The disappointment was just too much and tears fell in droves. I just couldn’t stop. Dad, quickly surmising what had just happened, wrapped his arms around me, shuffling his hand tenderly through my hair, “Son, I am so sorry. The tree is beautiful. But, guess what? I love you! You are what matters to me. We can lift that tree back up and it will look even better. Together we can do anything.” Sure enough, together, we lifted that tree back in place and ornament after ornament the great disappointment was replaced by the love of father and son. In the end decorating the Christmas tree was truly a cleverly designed gift for me. God works that way. I had all the best intentions in the world but God saw differently and used the fallen Christmas tree as a means to bring healing and love to two very needy souls. We both sat on the couch deep into the night watching quietly the lights dancing off the glistening ornaments on the tree. As I slowly drifted into that wonderful place of rapture and tranquility I thought of the baby Jesus, how that he would bring good will and peace to all man. I smiled knowingly as I snuggling closer to dad. Thank you Jesus, thank you.

Remember the power of Christ this holiday. What has fallen can be raised, what is disappointing can be turned into God’s advantage, His love can be experienced, and His peace passes all understanding.


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