Mary Manners is an award-winning author of inspirational romance who lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband and daughter. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers.
In her free time, she likes to garden, take long walks with her husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees.
Guest Blog Post
You are my lamp, oh Lord, the Lord that turns my darkness into light.
~2 Samuel 22:29(NIV)
Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
When the subject of Christmas gifts comes up, most people think of packages wrapped in colorful paper and shimmery bows, sitting under the Christmas tree, just waiting to be opened.
When I think of Christmas gifts, I think of my dad, who passed away ten years ago this holiday season. He was a man of many gifts, including the joy he shared for the traditions of Christmas.
Dad loved light—especially the light that brightened a fresh-cut pine tree in honor of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Each December first, like clockwork, Dad piled his family—all seven of us—into our Chevy station wagon and drove us to the tree lot where, shivering in the Chicago-winter cold, we oohed and aahed over each and every tree until we found the perfect one.
Once home, with the tree safely arranged in a metal stand and watered, Dad climbed the ladder to our attic (a mysterious place, indeed) where the Christmas lights were stored. He’d lower the battered cardboard box (re-used, season after season) to the floor below and dust it off.
Then my brother and sisters—five of us—gathered ’round him in the living room and waited, eyes huge with wonder, as he carefully unraveled the strands of lights and tested each one. No matter how stubborn the bulbs, dad always managed to get them working.
Beautiful, vibrant colors turned the room to a kaleidoscope, dancing over walls and windows with the feel of winter magic. One by one, my siblings and I each took the place of honor beside Dad, helping him to adorn the tree with light. Pine sap clung to our tiny fingers, but we didn’t care. All the while, our hearts soared with happiness and child-like wonder.
Finally, Dad gently gathered the Christmas star from the box. Hushed with awe, we waited while Dad chose one of us to hoist to his shoulders for the greatest thrill—placing the treasured beacon of light—the Baby Jesus Star—atop the highest limb. Somehow, Dad always sensed who needed that extra touch of attention, and there was never any argument.
With the lights in place (just in time for nightfall—always) we circled the tree and held hands to sing Silent Night. In the earliest years, the tune didn’t always carry and the words were sometimes off, but Dad didn’t mind. He knew we understood what the tree—and especially the lights—symbolized…the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. The most wonderful gift of all!
REFLECT & PRAY:
It’s sometimes easy to get lost in the tangle of this world—the troubles and stresses that everyday life presents. Sometimes we feel as if the darkness will consume us. During these most trying times, we must move toward the light, and the Father who loves and guides us. He will remove the darkness and fill us with His holy light.
I pray you take the darkness and fill me with light. I ask to be a beacon to others, that they may know Your goodness and the hope You bring. Please guide and keep me. Amen
Additional Scripture Passage:
No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. ~Luke 11:33-35
Carin O’Malley is dealing with the death of her brother and a new job as an English teacher at East Ridge Middle School where Corey Samuels reigns as King of Chaos. The last thing she needs is to fall in love…especially with a handsome and complicated preacher like Corey’s brother Jake.
But when Corey’s antics toss Carin and Jake together, the two must draw from God’s wisdom to find refuge in His perfect plan.
Paperback: 228 pages
- Publisher: White Rose Publishing (October 5, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1611161665
- ISBN-13: 978-1611161663
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Tree-Mary-Manners/dp/1611161665/ref=la_B004AL16YY_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342045954&sr=1-1