Somehow the draw of the cold, early morning winters are such a delight to me. Layering my clothes, I don my very old down “puffer” black full length coat that I can’t bear to give up due to its extreme warmth. It lacks total shape or form. At 50, I am beyond caring that I look like a black Stay Puft marshmallow topped with my bomber hat which keeps my head and ears toasty so early in the morning. I have entered “practical” vs “fashionable” at least for outdoor wear. People are heading to school, jobs, and the monotony of a workday starts for them. For me, I head to my mountain with my dog Sheba, anticipating a “word” from the Lord. My pace quickens. The entrance to the cemetery is clogged with a thigh-high plow shaped mound of hardened snow. The earlier storm long over, above freezing temperatures during the day created an icy layer on top that crunches so loudly in the quiet of the early morning climb.
My first thought,”I will never see a deer with this noise.” Yet, I dismiss the thought and replace it with, “God can do anything.” Hope returns. I realize as we head up the first hill, that I am ill -equipped with my sneakers. (I had forgotten that they don’t plow the cemetery in winter). I make a mental note to wear boots next time. The climb is icy at spots and in others, I sink ankle deep in cold moist snow, but my thoughts turn to “Seek me with all your heart, and you will find Me.” It also returns to the “Christmas season”, “Traditions of men”, and Christmas trees. The Lord has been destroying my “Christian ” foundation quite steadily over the last year. When He reveals something, a fallacy or twist of His truth, it is usually a BIG one that rocks my world for weeks on end. The latest has been Christmas, as well as other “Christian” holidays. (warning…..this will probably offend those who are not ready for truth. Read at your own risk.) Two days ago, I saw a post on the history of the Christmas tree, its pagan roots and our adoption. (There are tons of YouTube videos on Christmas origins) The woman speaking denotes a passage in Jeremiah. Stunned, I turn to Jeremiah 10:2-4 (KJV) and read:
Thus saith the LORD, Lean not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain, for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold, they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it not move.
WHAT?? Really??? God warns about “customs of people” (Traditions of men) which are not His ways. (Some argue it means wooden idols but what are idols but symbols of who or what we worship) It still rings true. This has really been another eye-opener. Consequently, I shared the verse and post with a friend who drives the Amish. She asked the Amish if they celebrate Christmas? They said they gathered together. She also asked if they had Christmas trees. Their response was: “No, the book of Jeremiah forbids it.” Wow! So the Amish know what the bible says. Now the rest of the story……. (Yes, I used to listen to Paul Harvey!)
God, true to His nature, allowed Sheba and myself to see the three deer in the field but because of the major crunching noise, they did not stick around long. However, as we traversed the front of the mountain to make our circuitous route back down, I again was thinking about, “Seek me with all your heart….” I look up and did a “double-take” . There up ahead, SITTING under a perfectly formed, huge fir tree was a deer. It was not fleeing, my dog did not sense it. I stopped and tried to grab my cell phone camera. I finally found it but with some difficulty because I had huge mittens that barely fit into my pocket. I finally turned it on and looked up, the deer was standing now. Looking straight at me, ears pricked. I then saw another behind it, white tail up. They were now on alert. The picture you see below shows the standoff. As I stood motionless, even Sheba stood still (only God). The picture of the prone position of the deer under a perfect fir tree surrounded in snow, impacted me greatly. God is everywhere but this is where He showed Himself to me, out in creation, in the cold wintry morning. It was my third message. Jesus was born simply, in a manger. With no fanfare, no holiday celebrations, no glitz, just quietly out with the animals, with his family. Man has made his own traditions. Nowhere in the Bible, does it say to celebrate Jesus birthday. He came in humbly (not at the height of pagan holidays). This is a hard one for me but I cannot deny what He showed me over the last few days. I leave you with two pictures. Which one speaks of the character of God and His word?