Signs and Wonders
(A Last Days Ministry) Inc. - USA
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A White Rose
by PJ

A few years ago during the holiday season, I was preparing to go home to be with my family. Up to that point, I had never missed this specific time of year with my family. However, something happened that unexpectedly prevented my trip home.

When a person has walked through years of traditions, to have them suddenly ripped away can be quite traumatic. I was somewhatly in shock at the turn of events and there I was with my car loaded with gifts, my suitcase and suddenly I was unloading everything. The stores were closing for Christmas Eve, the grocery stores were also closing and I had not planned on being home for any celebration of any holiday and I had no time to do anything about anything. I was totally unprepared.

I believe it's in times like these that our character is molded. The way we approach what is handed to us in life can either make us as my mom says, "bitter or better and the only difference is the I." I was in this situation. What would I make the situation better or to become bitter?

In my life, material things had been very important. When holidays came, I was the most excited about the gifts. I loved fun surprises. I loved seeing the looks of joy on the faces of my family when I could give them something they desired. I enjoyed the laughter and joy of being with my extended family. I enjoyed the rush and chaos of the family holiday. Suddenly I was faced with the total opposite. No family. No gifts. Nothing joyous at all. In fact...I was faced with quite the opposite.

I remember going to a local International House of Pancakes because it was one of the few restaurants open in Tulsa. Amazingly it was full of people and as I sat there very sad and thinking about my poor, pitiful plight, I began to listen to the people around me talk about theirs. Holidays can be horrible times for some people. Memories, missing loved ones, no place to go, no one to care, all kinds of things can truly make people miserable during the holiday season. As I saw how much pain others were in, mine seemed very little in comparison so I began to ask myself what I could do to make the situation I was in better.

As I looked at my surroundings, I laughed. Jews that follow Yeshua realize that He wasn't born at Christmas. However, December 25th is the day the world and most non-Jews who follow Yeshua celebrate His birth. I don't even think He minds that people celebrate His birth on the wrong day. Actually, EVERY DAY we should celebrate the birth of Yeshua. As I looked around I thought to myself, "I know what I can do! I can go find Yeshua a gift." It was a lot better than sitting around drowning in self-pity.

Have you ever considered what you would present to Yeshua if you had the opportunity to give Him a gift for His birthday? Oh yes, we all know about the heart changes, the vows to follow Him, helping the poor, etc. Hopefully we all do those things. But I am talking about a real gift; a gift like you would present to a member of your family. It was my self challenge this night. It was something I could do for the ONE Who never leaves me.

It came to me that the most perfect thing I could present to His Majesty was a rose, a red rose, a beautiful, red rose. To me, the rose IS His most beautiful and wonderful flower creation. At that particular time we had convenience stores in the Tulsa area that sold flowers and these stores were open 365 days a year, day and night, and I was determined to find the most beautiful red rose in Tulsa for Yeshua!

There was not one red rose anywhere. Not one. Finally, a single, white rose was located. It wasn't what I desired to give Him...far less, but I was so elated to even have a rose, it didn't seem to matter.

Ever had a plan but didn't think it all the way through? I had a rose. I had a gift for Yeshua. But how could I give it to Him? I hadn't thought that far. I believe I learned more about myself and about Yeshua this night than any other in my entire life. This night changed me. This night changed me BIG TIME.

I drove around pondering what to do with that rose. I drove around for hours. As I drove around, I saw all the beautiful holiday lights and people in their beautiful, warm homes with their families having wonderful times. I saw people beautifully dressed carrying beautiful packages. I saw children jumping with excitement in their eyes at the light and glitter of the holiday. I saw people going to Church and leaving Church all dressed up and smiling. I saw people celebrating and so full of joy and cheer. But it was what I didn't see that changed me.

I didn't see anyone notice that under their proverbial noses, out on the streets, in the cold, in the dark, were people hurting, alone, with no one to care and no place to go. And that night, I was one of them. I suddenly understood how Miriam and Yossef felt when there was no room in the inn. I understood not having a place and being a stranger in the night. That night I knew what it was like to have no family, no friends, no place to belong but I had a reason to celebrate. I had a rose to take to Yeshua.

You was a strange night. After not being able to decide where to put that rose...I stopped and laid it at a nativity scene at a Church and as I walked back to my car, it started to snow. I went home afterward knowing that I had left the most precious gift I had that night at that replica of a manger. I had no pride, no great visions of grandeur, just a broken alabaster box releasing the most precious ointment of love from my heart. It was all I really ever had to give Him.

This is not an experience I've wanted to talk about because it was painful and stripped me of arrogance and pride. At first I questioned why I had to experience this event and today I know. It was life-changing. It changed my outlook on holidays, gifts and giving, and the order of importance of things in my life. I wasn't the same person and have never been again. My family will tell you...something in me changed. Something in me died. The things I considered important before all died that night. Yeshua was with me for all that occurred. He was with me for the entire rose search and the entire drive that night. He saw everything I saw. He never left my side. He doesn't leave yours either.

In the not-to-distant future, we are going to find out who really loves Yeshua. A lot of people say they love Yeshua but talk is just that, talk. We are going to find out when only those that love Yeshua are snatched away. The only way to truly measure one's love for Yeshua right now is by self-examination. Only when we are stripped and naked of self motivations can we truly know. I found out that night that I do love Yeshua. In fact, that night made me realize He is all the good in others I love too. It's how I learned to TRULY give to others. It's to Him in them I give gifts now. The perception is clear. It's why I need no thanks for a gift I give and it's why I don't get upset if someone doesn't think about me. When I give to Yeshua in people, He is the only One I see. And you know what? He always says "thank you" and He always remembers me.

About three months later I came home and found on my doorstep a dozen white roses. They obviously had been delivered by some florist but there was no card and I had no idea from where they came. I asked my neighbors but no one had seen a thing. As I sat down that day to read the Word, my Bible opened up to the presentation pages and there was the day's date was my spiritual birthday. It was the month and day I had given my heart to Yeshua and had been born into the Kingdom. Yeshua had made sure a dozen white roses came for MY spiritual birthday.

White roses have become a thing with me and Yeshua. I leave them for Him on holidays and He sends them to me for special occasions. Why? It's relationship. It's the relationship He and I have. It's my way of honoring our relationship and it's my way of acknowledging He's the biggest part of my life. We should include G-d in our daily lives the same way we would any other member of our family. It wasn't the rose that was so meaningful to Yeshua that night, it was the fact that I held our relationship so worthy and He, in turn, held our relationship that worthy too.

This personal relationship with Yeshua is not as hard to find as we might think and there is no mysterious formula for it. It happens as soon as we become children of G-d. Trusting G-d to get us through each day and believing that He is our Sustainer is the way to have a relationship with Him. It takes time to develop any close relationship and a relationship with Yeshua is no exception. I promise if you will be as faithful and diligent in seeking Him as you are with others you love, you will find He's an awesome G-d!

If I could reach out and give every person who reads this article gifts for the holidays, I would give you what I just have, the knowledge that you can have relationship with G-d in a personal way. You are never alone, never without a reason to celebrate, and never without a gift. As you celebrate this joyous season of dedication and light, may G-d rekindle in you the flame of His passion and His love. Happy Chanukkah!

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