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"This is my best Christmas" said a little girl

Despite the black eye in M2's first words, " This is my best Christmas"

..My girls love my parents' nativity set.  Whenever we are there during the Christmas season, M1 & M2 run up to Mary & Joseph, the wise men and the Baby Jesus and hug and kiss them all Goodnight before we leave...and as I pull out of the driveway they all yell loudly "Goodnight Baby Jesus!" as we get swallowed up in Winter night....

Last week though the temperature called for a "campout" (the campout was for less than an hour) Its been a rather warm December, almost balmy....some days teetering over 65...
On one of these warm nights last week two little girls sat outside with their grandma star gazing on the grass...
....What an unexpected gift....blankets spread out on brown winter grass...warmth in December...

 In the glow of the lit Nativity, musing on stars and God...my Madelyn said that she needed to "Ask Jesus into her heart."  
You see last year about this time her sister did, but this year was her year and she said she never had.  She told my mom that she wanted to talk with my husband.
The next day those were the first words that I woke up to.  Golden head with the deep green and blue bruises of her first black eye greeted me with the words, " Last night I asked Jesus into my heart."  
She in her four year old tongue, full of faith and joy...wanting to share...
We decided we had to talk to daddy, and late that afternoon Daddy talked with our little middle girl.  He wanted to be sure that she really believed and that she understood.  
"What did Jesus do for us, Madelyn?"  "He died for our sins" she said in barely a whisper.
"What did Jesus do after He was in the grave?" "He rose from the grave" she softly said.
"Madelyn, do you want to follow Jesus?" I asked her....
"Yes." 
Daddy kneeled down beside Madelyn and she folded her hands...both like little kids kneeling in the grace of their Father....
....They prayed simple words of childlike faith...and Madelyn's heart has been filled with Jesus' love this Christmas.  
The one Christmas Carol that the girls have learned this year is Joy to the World...
She was singing it because she is our singer...and I told her the news, "Madelyn you made room in your heart for Jesus this year."  
She smiled, despite her slightly swollen eye all colored with bruise.  

She's bruised because she fell last week walking out the door, literally blown over by a wind gust to her slight frame....
Despite the tenderness and the ugliness of a bruise and all the comments from everyone...a week that could have been ruined by an accident was transfigured by childlike faith...
Last Thursday Madelyn looked at the manger glowing out in the dark yard and believed in the One who makes all of our bruises and pain better, who transfigures them all with the Gift of Himself...
We are all bruised on the outside and we all have been blown over by our own circumstances and personal pain and failures, but if we can like a little child accept the Gift of Christ...we can say like Madelyn said in the aftermath of her decision to make room in her heart for His love...
She bruised and all said..."This is my best Christmas"...
...you see there are no "good lists" for grown ups or littles...only "Grace lists"
.....and to get on the Grace List you just come as You are and really believe in His love...
....Its funny, Madelyn is my kid who doesn't want anything to do with Santa...she won't let me play Santa music...she only wants Jesus...She knows that Jesus' gifts are the real stuff of life...and what is more magical and hopeful than a Christmas when the gift you've received is the Hope of Eternal Life...

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