Anna’s Candles: Love Warms You Through


 
Potato peels sat in the sink. A big silver pot brimming with water and already sliced potatoes bubbled on the stove. The earthly starches filled the kitchen with warming comfort.

SCReeeeetch! BAM! Thud…thud…thud…

SCReeeetch! BAM! Thud…thud…thud…

Mama stilled her hand, the blade of the knife she held barely sinking underneath the brown skin of another potato.

“What on earth?”

Mama had sent Anna up for her afternoon nap. The child was clearly not asleep…

SCReeeeetch! BAM! Thud…thud…thud…

Mama wiped her hands on a dish towel as she traversed the stairs and came to the threshold of her daughter’s door. The door swung easily on squeaky hinges as Mama pushed her way in peering at the site beneath its frame in wonder.

“Anna Marie Sullivan, what do you think you are doing?”

The child didn’t even flinch in fear, but kept her persistent tugging on the beautiful two storied dollhouse her Grandfather had made for her. Red faced and sweating, with her eyes scrunched as her tiny muscles strained, “I…am…trying to…move my…dollhouse, Mama!”

“Why, may I ask are you doing this when you should be sleeping?”

Anna stopped her tugging and looked at her Mama. Tears spilled over speckled cheeks as her lip trembled. The tears and tremors soon became wails and uncontrollable sobs.

Mama walked over and scooped Anna in her arms soothing the child with a back rub and feathered kisses along her sweaty brow. She sat on the edge of the bed cradling the child, rocking her back and forth and humming. Anna quieted and Mama pulled her back so that she could look into her eyes.

“Anna, why were you trying to move your dollhouse?”

“Mama, do you remember what Papa said at advent the other night?’

“What did he say, Anna?”

“Papa said, love is action, if you love someone you show it by what you do?”

“This doesn’t explain you moving your dollhouse when you should be taking a nap.”

“Mama, I tried to sleep, but Marie, Annabeth, and Charlie were trying to sleep too. I checked on them and it felt so cold by the window. They were cold Mama. I was just trying to move them closer to the heater so they would be warm. I wanted them warm because I love them. I don’t want them to be cold.”

“So, you were trying to make the dollhouse warmer for the dolls that you love and care for?”

“Yes Mama!”

“Anna, I don’t like that you disobeyed by getting out of bed, but I am happy that you were trying to show love to your dolls. How about I help you move your dollhouse closer to the heater so Marie, Annabeth, and Charlie will be warm? Then, you come downstairs on the couch and I will snuggle you in a blanket with some books and hot chocolate. You still need rest, even if you are not going to sleep”, Mama’s face held a look of mischief and understanding.

Anna wrapped her arms around her Mama’s neck and kissed both her cheeks, “thank you Mama for understanding!”

Mama and Anna heaved the dollhouse closer to the heat. Anna wrapped her dolls in warm blankets and kissed each one before she laid them in their beds. Mama helped Anna find three books. They walked down the stairs, and Anna plopped on the couch while Mama got her favorite ‘fuzzy’ blanket. Snuggling her tight and giving her Eskimo kisses…

…Mama, hot chocolate in hand, watched Anna asleep under the blanket warm. The rise and fall of her chest as she slept, head tucked under praying hands, caused tears to fill Mama’s eyes.

“Oh Jesus, thank you for this love! This child! She warms me through. Thank you for holding her, forming her. Thank you for love so great that you put on flesh and bone. You are with us. Great love. Abiding love. My heart does tremble at the thought of Jesus. You loved me so much that you gave your one and only son. If I would but believe in your outstretched love…love outstretched on crossbeam…crimson love flowing over, making me snow white. I will live far beyond this moment into eternity – with You. Thank you Jesus for this love that warms through to the heart of You!”


This week of advent we acknowledge Christ’s coming into the world. The second purple candle is often called the Bethlehem or Love Candle.

I know what earthly love looks like with its conditions and boundaries. I strive to live love unbounded, but it hurts deep at times. There are wounds, scars, and battlements erected in the wake of my heart being ravaged. Yet, I still seek it. I try not to place conditions on it.

Then I think about Jesus. I think about God telling His love story for us. How he paid the ransom for our hard hearts and set to softening them, wooing us oh so tenderly. I wrote an allegory many years ago. At the time I was adrift. I was finding solace in Hosea 2, the book Hinds Feet on High Places, and the book series Chronicles of Narnia. I thought I would share the store here: A Walk.

I keep walking the sod of Bethlehem, placing my heart in that space. A moment so beautifully orchestrated that the heavens aligned that night. A journey that began at “In the Beginning…” A love story to rival all love stories met with danger, betrayal, grace, and a Kinsman Redeemer.

Oh the Great Love He has for Us!!

“And the Word became flesh & dwelt among us, & we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, fill of grace & truth.” – John 1:14
Since I have been sick I cannot sing, but this week let's have a prayer instead:
 

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