“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” Psalm 71:18
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7
I always smile when I read Psalm 71:18. I turned grey (or “pewter” as one of my sons-in-love is fond of saying) when I was in my early 40’s, long before I considered myself “old.” I did, however, intentionally decide to embrace the beauty of aging gracefully, and with a cute haircut and some lipstick I tossed my “pewter” head and celebrated. Today I continue to declare the beauty in each passing year, although the “pewter” is more a silvery white now, and I still don’t feel “old.” Each hair on my head, each line in my face is a testimony to God’s faithfulness in my life, day by day and year by year. He has never forsaken me, and He never will, and that is always something to declare joyfully.
One of the advantages of aging is the privilege of sharing our faith stories with the younger generations, and Christmas is a perfect opportunity to do that. We have a tradition in our family of reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 on Christmas morning before a single present is opened. I have pictures of my daughters gathered around their Daddy, everyone in their jammies, with his Bible open. As our daughters established homes of their own, the yearly picture included grandchildren, still in their jammies, sitting on his lap or clustered around his feet. From year to year the expressions of rapt attention never varied as he read the beautiful message of the birth of Jesus Christ and then opened our festivities with prayer. The last Christmas he celebrated with us on earth, my husband’s brain tumor had significantly impacted his ability to recognize words, but still he was determined to read these treasured verses. Our oldest granddaughter snuggled next to him and helped him with the words he stumbled over. But oh, when he prayed, not only that day but throughout the progression of his disease, he never missed a word, he never stumbled or faltered. His speech was clear and strong and beautiful each time he communicated with His Savior.
When I read Isaiah 52:7 this morning, I immediately thought of my husband. The annual picture of him with his Bible open on his lap and children of all ages gathered around him on Christmas morning is a treasure to all of us. Each one is a defining portrait of his life. In small ways and big ways, my husband loved to declare the power and goodness of Jesus, and nothing made him happier than seeing the generations in our family come to personal faith in Christ. Sharing stories of God’s faithfulness in his life, through hard times and good time, he encouraged his daughters and his grandchildren to keep walking with Jesus. As he read the Christmas story each year, he brought Good News and proclaimed tidings of Great Joy to our home and our family.
This year will be his third year to celebrate Christmas in heaven. His joy is complete, his hope a reality, and he will be declaring with all the angelic choir, “Our God reigns!” We will gather again as a family Christmas morning, and the Christmas story from Luke 2 will be read to five generations in their jammies before a single present is opened. And we will remember with thanksgiving those who have gone before who faithfully declared God’s power and salvation to us. We will give glory to God in the Highest, knowing by faith, as my husband now knows by sight, that Christmas is heaven’s declaration that our God reigns, now and forever and ever! Amen!
Father, make us mindful of the blessings and responsibilities of each passing year in our lives. Help us faithfully make known to the next generation and those that follow Your faithfulness and Your goodness. Help us boldly proclaim peace, good tidings, and salvation. Make our feet beautiful on Your mountain, Lord, and let this Christmas be marked for Your glory in our lives and in our homes. ©