Thursday, December 27, 2007

Away in a Manger

"Away In A Manger" was one of the first Christmas carols I learned as a young child. Little was I to know how significant it would become to me.
This story starts in August 2003. Dad had been declining steadily due to the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease. He still lived on the family farm with Mom and one of my brothers. Our family prayed to know when the time was right for him to live in the nursing home and that time had come. It was clear. Still, it broke my heart the day Mom and I took him to live at "The Manor".

That night, I never slept. I prayed, I read, I lay in the bed hoping for sleep. I was so worried that Dad would be frightened and think we had abandoned him. I wanted God to comfort Dad so he would not feel alone. Late in the night, I had run out of words to pray. As I lay there, the words of the 3rd verse of "Away in a Manger" came to my mind, so I prayed them for Dad:

"Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay,
Close by me forever and watch me I pray;
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven to live with Thee there."

The night wore on until there was light in the eastern sky. I got out of bed and went outdoors where I photographed the new day.

A couple weeks later, we took Dad out for a picnic. After eating, I took him over to the playground equipment to be near his grandkids. Dad loved music and one of the blessings of his illness was he would break out in singing or humming very often. His favorite was "How Great Thou Art." I noticed he was humming as we went to the swings, but it wasn't his usual tune. Suddenly it dawned on me that he was humming "Away in a Manger". Oh, my! My heart rejoiced and was glad - my prayer had not only been heard, but God was confirming it to me for which I will always be grateful.

Dad went Home in late November 2006. I miss him so much, but I will always be grateful for all the blessings he brought into our lives.
(The art I posted is a scan of a linoleum block print I made a few years ago. I was inspired while hubby & I were touring a millenium-old church in Hildesheim, Germany with our dear friend, Jutta.)

1 comment:

Joan said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post.

We always know it is God because He does things in a way far more perfect than anything we could ever imagine.
Thank you for sharing this Regina, the memory of your Father, the raw tender feel of your heart, and a God that truly never will forsake you.
Our God is an awesome God...

much love,