This past September I led a breakout session at the Tennessee Baptist Convention’s WMU’s Fall Prayer Retreat in Paris. I am always so excited to be there that I typically do not sleep. As I was watching the sun come up from the balcony of my room at the Paris Landing State park, I heard a fishing boat whizzing across the water. I breathed the fresh air in and thought, “That’s the sound of my father.” My father loved to fish, especially for bass. I grew up camping in the summer months and can remember getting to ride in the boat in lakes and rivers all over West Tennessee. Recently I found some of my dad’s plastic fishing worms in an old tackle box of his and tears started to fall. When this happens though, I have resolved to smile and remember. In my life I have been blessed with wonderful parents. There will always be sounds, objects and images that will take me back to memories of a blessed childhood. I will always hear my mother’s voice giving me advice. I will randomly sing songs, remember bible stories and mission lessons taught to me by my family at Malesus Baptist Church. Because my parents and so many taught me a love for God that was in everything and was everywhere, I hear the sound of my heavenly father’s voice in the wind sweetly blowing, in the chirping of birds in early spring, and in a two year old’s laughter. At Christmastime, this voice is louder.
As my father, my mother and many others taught me to love God, they taught me the path to freedom. Because they taught me of Christ’s love, they taught me how to be free from the worries of this world. One worry I am glad to be free of is the sadness that could go along with memories of Christmases past. I could get bogged down in what will never be again, but I will not. Everything changes the longer we live, and through Christ I can celebrate regardless of my circumstances. I am not chained like a slave to them; I am free to live in the hope of Christ. I am promised that there is a life after this one, one where I will be reunited with those gone before me and a completely healthy dad. This side of heaven I may never walk holding his hand like I did when I was a little girl, but in heaven I believe I will. I will sit at the feet of my Heavenly Father with my mom, dad and all the others who showed me the way to Him. So for me the sound of my earthly and Heavenly Father sounds like freedom. This Christmas as I hear the sounds of Christmas I will celebrate the freedom to be joyful in my circumstances. I will celebrate the season with a wealth of memories, a thankfulness for my Savior, and an anxiousness for celebrations to come.