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A Christmas Tale...

Posted by donna on December 2, 2011

Like so many of you all, I was raised in a rural setting. Those formative years shaped me and gave me a deep appreciation for life at many levels. Even before I was following Christ closely, I was never unaware of His work in my life. Mostly, God spoke to me by positive interactions with godly people who cared for me but also cared for others. They were people who lived their Christianity in very tangible ways.

Life in rural Canada mixes work with celebrations as farm work never stops. There were a few Christmas' in my teen years when I experienced significant heart changing pivotal events that have stayed as wonderful memories of a time long ago.

Christmas Eve was often spent frantically getting the last chores finished so that the high moments of Christmas could begin. My memory includes crisp cold moonlit evenings. Besides working with my father in his nurseries and greenhouses, I spent a great deal of time working for local farmers. Several Christmas' as we were finishing up, Marie, the neighbour farmers wife would ask for my help. Together, we would load the truck with the baskets of food and gifts that she had been busy preparing. We never saw her preparing these gifts but we knew she was. Once packed, we would drive quickly to several smaller farms or homes. We all knew something about these families. For a variety of reasons, that Marie always seemed to know, these homes were facing Christmas with less than warranted provisions. Life had a way of ensuring that some of our neighbours every year faced Christmas with some distress. As we approached these homes, the routine was always the same -- lights off, stopping well back so as to not alarm anyone or let them know who was out in the darkness. These baskets were left on front porches with a quick knock and an even quicker run back out of sight. As quietly as we arrived we would leave without waiting to see the look on the faces of these grateful neighbours. The run complete we would start our own celebration of God’s great gift to us.

I never heard Marie talk about her Christmas gifts of love and care for those less fortunate. The Christmas Eve gift run was completed in silence and without fanfare -- much like the arrival of the Lord Jesus. For Marie, it was always enough that Jesus knew all about her labour of love. I knew and was always blessed.

At this Christmas time, may we also find ways of secretly honouring God by our giving.

Blessings to you and your family,

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Comme plusieurs d’entre vous, j’ai grandi dans un milieu rural. Ce chapitre de mon enfance m’a formé et m’a donné une profonde appréciation sous plusieurs aspects. Même avant que j’ai pris la décision de suivre Christ étroitement, j’ai toujours été conscient de Son travail dans ma vie. La plupart du temps, Dieu m’a parlé par des interactions positives avec des gens qui marchaient avec Dieu et qui se souciaient de moi mais aussi des autres. Ces gens-là vivaient leur Chrétienté de façon très tangible.

La vie dans la campagne Canadienne unit le travail et les célébrations alors que le travail sur la ferme n’a pas de fin. Je me souviens d’événements dominants de quelques Noël de mon adolescence qui m’ont considérablement transformés le cœur et que j’ai gardés comme souvenirs de ce temps d'autrefois.

Nous passions la Veille de Noël à s’affairer frénétiquement aux derniers préparatifs pour que les moments tant attendus de Noël puissent commencer. J’ai gardé en mémoire des souvenirs de clairs de lune de soirées glaciales. En plus de travailler avec mon père dans ses serres et ses pépinières, j’ai passé beaucoup de temps à travailler avec les fermiers des environs. Pendant plusieurs Noël alors que nous terminions, Marie, l’épouse du fermier voisin me demandait de l’aider. Ensemble, nous chargions le camion de paniers de nourriture et de cadeaux qu’elle s’était occupée de préparer. Nous ne l’avons jamais vu préparer ces cadeaux mais nous savions qu’elle le faisait. Une fois tout chargé, nous allions rapidement chez plusieurs petits fermiers ou des maisons. On connaissait tous un petit quelque chose de ces familles. Pour toutes sortes de raisons, cette Marie-là semblait savoir que ces maisons passaient Noël avec moins de provisions que prévues. La vie a une façon de s’assurer chaque année qu’il y aura des voisins qui passeront Noël dans la misère. Alors que nous nous approchions de ces maisons, nous avions toujours la même routine – éteindre les phares, arrêter plus loin pour ne pas alarmer personne ou les laisser douter que quelqu’un est là dans l’obscurité. Ces paniers étaient laissés sur les balcons avant et après avoir rapidement frappé un coup sur la porte nous courions à toute vitesse pour disparaître. Nous étions arrivés tout doucement et nous quittions sans attendre de voir l’étonnement sur les visages de nos voisins reconnaissants. Une fois ce parcours terminé nous pouvions commencer notre propre célébration du merveilleux don de Dieu pour nous.

Je n’ai jamais entendu Marie parler de ses dons d’amour et de soin pour les moins bien nantis. Le parcours des dons de la Veille de Noël se faisait toujours sans fanfare ni trompette -- pas mal comme la venue du Seigneur Jésus. Pour Marie, c’était toujours assez que Jésus connaissait le travail d’amour qu’elle faisait. Je le savais aussi et j’en étais béni.

En cette saison des Fêtes, puissions-nous trouver des façons de secrètement honorer Dieu par nos dons.

Bénédictions à vous et vos familles,

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