Jesus is the ReasonHow was your Thanksgiving weekend? I thoroughly enjoyed my week with my family. We held true to some old traditions but started what I believe will be some new ones.

A new tradition we started this year was running the Gobble Jog. It is a 5K road race that benefits MUST Ministries, an organization that ministers to the homeless, providing them food, clothing and a warm place to sleep at night, among other things. They had over 9000 runners/walkers.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving weekend traditions is purchasing and decorating our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. It is a big deal in the Norris household.

We all go together to choose the best Christmas tree on the lot. Then we bring it home and work corporately to get it in the door and in the stand straight. At that point everyone disappears, leaving me to put the lights on the tree (this is one of the few tedious jobs I actually embrace).

When the lights are on the tree, all nine hundred of them, we start decorating. For an ornament to end up on our tree, it has to meet one of four qualifications. It has to be:

  1. From a place we have traveled
  2. From a former student of mine
  3. From a close family friend
  4. An ornament purchased for one of the children

We give the children each a new ornament every year (another tradition). We have them date it so they’ll know which year they received it. Once they have their own home we’ll give them a box full of their special ornaments to start their ornament collection.

One of my favorite Christmas ornaments is a simple one I received from a student the first year I taught school. It’s small and simply declares,

Jesus is the reason for the Season.”

The kindergarten student who gave it to me held a special place in my heart. She didn’t have the best home life growing up and school was a safe and happy place for her. I grew to love that little girl and treasured the ornament. Every Christmas I put the ornament on the tree I said a special prayer for her asking God to watch over her and protect her and to give her the life she deserved.

This past year, she tracked me down on Facebook. She sent me a private message asking me if I was the Miss Coggins who taught kindergarten at Southern Elementary School. You can imagine the great fun we had catching up. She is married now with two children of her own, living in a beautiful home and oh, so happy.

God hears our prayers. He responds to our heart cries. Just because we don’t see the evidence doesn’t mean God isn’t moving behind the scenes, making things happen.

This year when I placed my Jesus is the reason for the Season ornament on my tree, I couldn’t help but smile with joy in my heart and say a prayer of thanksgiving. This precious little five year old found the family she desperately wanted and is living a joy filled, Jesus-filled life.

Is there something you’ve been praying about for a long time? Don’t give up. Be like the persistent widow who continued to go before the judge pleading her case [Luke 18:1-8]. God still answers prayer, even if it takes 24 years for you to see the fruit.