Have you ever been loved on so much it embarrassed you? By embarrassed I mean you felt awkward, self-conscious, or ashamed. It happened to me, and it made me realize I should feel this way daily.
I have always loved Christmas. The beautiful lights, the decorations, the time with family, the parties, the music, the heart-warming movies, but most of all the wonderful celebration focused on our Savior’s birth. And then came widowhood, when suddenly everything, even Christmas, seemed so different.
My first Christmas without my husband is a blank. I know my family gathered, and we went through the motions, but other than that, I have no memories of the first year.
As the second year approached, I became very anxious about how to make the second Christmas a better one. We were in so much pain, but I desperately wanted there to be some joy. So being pragmatic, I started with the decorations. I thought – well, if I just spruce up the garland it will look more festive and that will help. But I didn’t have the energy or the talent to do the sprucing up. I went to a lady at the church (someone I didn’t know personally) with decorating talent and asked if she would help me spruce up the garland. She graciously accepted, and not only spruced up my garland but she transformed my home into a magical wonderland, worthy of the front cover of the most prestigious decorating magazine. It was breath taking. And a huge sacrifice! She worked in retail, so she was working 60-80 hours a week, six days a week, and then she came over to my house and worked for many hours, every day, for over a week.
It was a magnificent gift, but the story doesn’t end there. The next year God moved me to another city a five-hour drive away. And she drove to my new home and decorated it in the same magnificent fashion for our third Christmas without Dave. She was still working retail, so she would leave work, drive down, decorate non-stop for a day or two, and then drive back just in time to go to work.
This is the fifth year in a row she has done this. She has repeatedly given of her time and talents to the point she doesn’t even decorate her own home. It blows my mind that someone would do this, and it embarrasses me. It is so incredible, so sacrificial…it’s extravagant.
I have learned to recognize this gift for what it is – a powerful example of Christ’s love, which is extravagant beyond comprehension. His love pierces the layers of protective coating I have put around my battered heart and breathes new life into me. It makes me want to shout from the rooftops… God’s love isn’t limited to just what’s practical, it isn’t limited to what we deserve, it isn’t even limited to what we can comprehend, GOD’S LOVE IS EXTRAVAGANT!
God has given us the best example of all time of His extravagant love. It started that very first Christmas.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 ESV
Praying this season you will bask in His extravagant love!
Sheryl Pepple is President, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She lives in Texas with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her grandchildren. She is a seasoned traveler and loves to visit great snorkeling and diving areas. Her husband was killed by a drunk driver in September 2011 and she lost her brother, the victim of an unsolved murder, years ago. Sheryl feels blessed to be able to share how evident God’s grace and faithfulness is in her life.
If you are interested in having Sheryl or another team member speak please contact us via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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