By Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist
As newlyweds we thought we lived in a mansion.
Our first home, called “Vetville,” consisted of rows of army barracks converted to apartments. They housed World War II veterans at
Eastern New Mexico University for $25 a month. Everyone seemed to be in the same boat … going to school on the G.I. Bill.
I remember the huge, wood-burning stove that had been converted to gas. It seemed to take hours to heat water or even a can of soup. (That was all I knew about cooking anyway.)
On one snowy winter day, I hand washed some towels in the sink that was at least 24 inches deep. After my husband, Emmitt, had gone to class, I decided to hang my laundry on our flimsy clothesline. I put my coat on over my pajamas and went outside in the freezing cold. I left the kitchen door ajar I thought, but the fierce wind blew the door shut and it locked. I walked two blocks in the snow to the manager’s office to borrow a key. I came home sopping wet in tears.
We had nothing materially, but had everything in riches. Being so in love and having each other made us millionaires.
We searched and searched for a Christmas tree that year, one we could afford.
Finally we came home with our little $3 tree. We wrote love notes and wrapped them in shiny paper with pretty ribbons and hung them on the tree. Our budget didn’t allow decorations. To us, our “tree ornaments” looked beautiful. We vowed not to read the notes until Christmas Day. How well I remember one in particular. Every Christmas I read it again:
“My darling, I love you more than life itself. You are the best wife I ever had.” (I was and am the only wife he ever had.)
Many years have come and gone since our first little love nest. Emmitt has given me enough love to last a lifetime. He is the most wonderful gift I could ever receive for Christmas or any other time. I truly believe he is God’s gift to me.
Vetville is gone now. Giant brick university buildings have replaced it. That’s progress, but in my heart I see apartment No. 21 with that tall, dark and handsome man whispering, “I love you.”
I am reminded of another man who loves me. He has written me the greatest love letter of all times and it is written in red. His sacrifice for me can never be equaled. Because of him I will never be alone. His love for me cannot be measured. I am precious in his sight.
What an awesome, beautiful lord. He is my savior, redeemer, healer, counselor, and the almighty everlasting God. The beauty of his holiness surrounds me and I rest in his amazing love.
This wonderful time of the year brings loving memories. Many years have come and gone since our “newlywed” Christmas, yet one is embedded in my heart forever:
“For unto us a Child is born; unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. These will be his royal titles:
‘Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The prince of Peace.’” (Isaiah 9:6 NCV)