Can you imagine what Christmas in heaven is like? I am excited Dad is finding out.
Dad won’t be spending Christmas at home with Mom and the rest of the family this year. God called Dad to be with Him.
Dad’s most beloved attribute was his quick-witted sense of humor. It was a gift. He regularly showed his family and friends how important they were to him with phone calls or visits. He cared about people and they knew it. Our Father in heaven shows those he loves how much he cares about them too.
I can only imagine that when Grandma and Grandpa greeted him into heaven he had some quick-witted remark that had them thinking, “That’s our Jay!”
My grandparents took their nine children to church. Grandma was a woman of true faith. Dad was considered the mischievous child so he would have to sit between my grandparents. I understand Grandpa would put his arm around dad pinching his ear if he acted out. Dad came to view church as a place where he got in trouble and he stopped attending as soon as he could. Perhaps you can relate.
Knowing Grandma’s faith though, I am confident she never ceased praying for any of her children. The Lord promises if we train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) If you are parent still praying for your child, don’t dismay, God is faithful.
Nearly thirty years after Dad had left the church Grandma would see that undoubtedly petitioned prayer for Dad answered. One Sunday, Dad, his brothers, sisters, and their spouses, in honor of Grandma, went to church with her. Dad had thought it may have been after the death of his brother, Doyne. If that was the case Dad would have been 45 years old. The Book of Daniel was being taught. Dad found learning of Christ’s return interesting and he wanted to know more. He wondered how the story would end. So, he went back the next week, and the next.
Weeks later Dad had learned much more of the story. An invitation to accept Christ was given. Dad knew God was calling him to surrender his life to Him, but like many people do, Dad ignored it.
I am so thankful Dad’s story did not end there. He had been running from the Way, Truth and Life his parents had raised him for too long. Later, that very evening, Dad accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
Physically over the years Dad had good days and bad, but overall, he was worn out. He suffered his first heart attack at the age of 50. He later suffered another heart attack plus a couple of strokes. He never expected to live 29 years beyond that first heart attack.
The morning of his death, and the day before, Dad was feeling good. He was being playful and joking with Mom. Along with his good looks, these were the characteristics that had caused her to fall in love with him more than 57 years earlier.
Around noon Mom left to attend a meeting. At 4:00 Dad told my sister in a phone conversation he had a bad headache. Forty minutes later when Mom returned home he told her the same thing. Those were his last words. After speaking them he became unresponsive. He had suffered a brain bleeding stroke and would leave us in a little more than 13 hours.
God tells us that there is a time to be born and a time to die. (Ecclesiastes 3:2) By God’s mercy and grace the final chapter of Dad’s earthly story ended with him entering the happily ever after life – an eternal life with Jesus.
In what I believe was a God-planned engagement, I was going to be sharing the Immanuel Quilt in Fort Wayne that day. I was excited my husband, Tom, was finally getting to attend one of the quilt presentations. I prayed God would send him someone to pray with at the luncheon. I wanted him to experience a blessing. That prayer was answered.
A woman was troubled because her husband did not know the Lord. Little did Tom know when he was praying for her 79 year old husband named Glenn to come to know the Lord, God was preparing to take my 79 year old father, Glenn, home to heaven in just a few short hours. It was an unknown double prayer.
It could very well be Tom’s prayer offered for Glenn at 1:30 p.m., was the time Dad’s threatening headache developed. Dad needed an intercessor and God chose Tom. I believe it was for the purpose to let Dad know he was not alone, and in hindsight, to let us see God had planned it.
Tom and I had just finished a class days earlier that taught how to communicate with the dying. Even though I had sensed an urgency to complete the class, I would not have guessed the urgency would be so I could apply what I had learned in my own father’s final hours. We were able to provide the words that I believe comforted Dad.
Dad has met Jesus face to face. He would want his family and friends to know their life story can have a happy ending. The happy ending is dependent upon accepting the free Gift of God, Jesus Christ.
The greatest Christmas will be our first one spent with Jesus. It is a gift we all have an opportunity to receive and experience now. Won’t you receive it today? Make sure your story has a Happily Ever After Ending.
God’s presence with us is one of His greatest presents to us.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16
“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9
“…you yourselves are God’s temple and God’s Spirit lives within you.” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:16