Upon the Ceiling ~ Lauri Narem

As long ago as I can remember, my most memorable time during the Christmas season always took place after the Christmas tree was set up and decorated. You see, we had this white feathery angel that topped our artificial Christmas tree. (Mom was allergic to pine). With the colored lights and the angel’s feathers, somehow a picture of Jesus in the manger was shown on the ceiling with a luminous glow. I knew it wasn’t a real image, yet I loved how it made me wonder. My sisters could not understand how I saw that. My mom said, “Sort of”; but I saw it, and would continuously bask in the glow of those lights often while listening to soft, Christmas music in the background on the stereo.
 
My thoughts would reflect on God, my family, and the warmth of a home on those cold, New England, December nights. The precious time and the peace I would sense was somewhat indescribable no matter what was going on in my life. Other than Sunday school stories, I did not really know much about Jesus at the time. Yet, I sensed God was with me.
 
After I was led to Christ during a Young Life retreat in high school, I understood that God somehow used those sweet times of reflection “upon the ceiling” to soften my heart and draw me to Him all those years before. I continued to treasure that time alone with the tree lights creating that image on the ceiling long into my college years.
 
Coming home after a solo venture to the midnight candlelight service, I’d grab a glass of eggnog, and all of my little gifts I still needed to wrap for family and friends. I’d spread them all out on the floor under the tree with that glowing image still there on the ceiling. Funny, the lights had changed to white on the tree by then, and the reflection on the ceiling was not quite the same. But, I still cherished that time in my heart of quiet reflection, the memories, the precious sensing of God’s presence, trusting Him, feeling wrapped in His love. That was what Christmas was about for me. As I reflect now, God knew I needed that time with just Him and me to begin drawing me to Him.
 
I have much to be thankful for during this Advent season of hope, joy, love, and peace: my four children, my granddaughter, my wonderful husband, and parents who are newly trusting in Christ as their Savior. This year was filled with anything but peace with the craziness of covid, civil unrest, and political turmoil…and who knows what’s next?! The memories of those Christmas evenings under the glow of that image on the ceiling and more so in my heart, gives me sweet peace knowing that no matter what is happening, His precious arms are trustworthy to climb into and rest.
John 17:3 (English Standard Version)
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
Abba Father,
We remember this time of year as the time when you gave us the most precious gift…that of yourself…your one and only Son….that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Thank you for loving us that much. Would you give us that same love for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as for those around us who don’t know you. This world is broken more than ever God and in desperate need to know you… who calls us out of darkness into your marvelous light. Give us boldness, love, and a Spirit of power from you that we will point to you, speak about you with as many as are willing to listen. Thank you. It’s in Your name Jesus we pray,
Amen.
 

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