Away in a Manger and The US Air Force

It was ten years ago today that my mama won her fight against cancer when she went to her real home in Heaven. She was married to my daddy for 61 years and raised four children, the last one being me who rolled into the picture quite unexpectedly 13 years after the one who previously held the title of “baby of the family.” For 41 years, she had at least one child in the house to take care of but she kept us fed and dressed and in line (mostly). She sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, and washed the grape juice out of the communion cups on Lord’s Supper Sundays because we used the real glass communion cups. There were lots of responsibilities being a preacher’s wife and a mother of four kids and she handled it all with grace.

We didn’t have a radio in the house until sometime after I started 1st grade except for a big ol’ console stereo with a record player that didn’t work and the only time I remember it being turned on was when daddy would listen to Alabama basketball or football games. There was always music in the house, though, because she sang hymns all the time. I remember sitting on the stairs that led to the basement soon after we moved to Holtville in the summer of 1975 and her teaching me the words to Away in a Manger. She loved to sing. She also taught me the words to The US Air Force which she had presumably learned to impress my father who served in the Air Force shortly after WW2 ended. I can still sing the first verse, by the way.

Anyway, I miss her.

I said all that to say this, though: We didn’t grieve without hope when she left this world in 2011 and we don’t miss her without hope today because in addition to all the proverbial hats she wore for so many years, she was also a lover and follower of Jesus and I have no doubt that the moment she breathed her last breath here, she was with Him. I have always taken immense comfort in knowing that and I know that my sisters and the rest of our family have too. I know we’ll see her again one day and show her proper gratitude for how she loved us and that, as I always say, will be a great day!

“For we know that if our earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands.

So we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. In fact, we are confident, and we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to him.”
~2 Corinthians 5:1‭, ‬6‭-‬9

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