When I was a kid Christmas was a magical time.  Every family has their own set of things that create specialness at the holidays.  For me, it was that palpable sense on Christmas morning of anticipation - food being prepared, a trip to grandmas awaited, presents being opened, Christmas music, goodies eaten only once a year, a different spirit-feel-tempo, a deep river of contentment overflowing its banks.  On Christmas morning the year I was seven, magic indeed happened.  Snow blanketed the ground that year and cold wrapped its strong grip in the air.  My mom, two sisters and I were warm in the house on Christmas morn.  Mom was readying for the day in the kitchen and we as kids were, well brimming with excitement not even remotely containable.  My dad had gone out to either hunt or attend to some chores.  As he walked in the kitchen from the wintry cold, he called us to him, "Girls!  Girls!  Come here.  I have something to show you!", he said with excitement.  We came running to find our dad holding a beautiful small dove he had somehow caught.  It was magnificent - a dove bird on Christmas morning in our house.  Christmas music was playing, the smells of delicious foods filled the air, the flocked Christmas tree stood twinkling and a Christmas bird rested in my father's hands.  We oohed and aahed over it, gently touching it as it tried to do what any bird wants to do by design of its creator - fly.  In the flurry of excitement the bird flew loose of my father's hands and began a full and harried flight through the house frantically attempting to find sky and trees.  My mother's screams echoed as that beautiful Christmas bird went nuts being boundaried and not free to be itself in its natural world - in the design its maker had purposed for it.  The bird was finally captured and it was released back outside where it immediately flew away - free to be a wild bird.  Watching television recently I was listening to a preacher who shared from the text of Exodus 35:35 - the scripture where it talks about all the craftsman who used their talents to build the tabernacle during Moses' era.  He talked that morning of God's design for us - to operate fully in our creativeness, in the way He purposed us to flourish and find fulfillment.  How often I get frustrated - you get frustrated - when we can't operate in that design, can't figure it out, don't think we are allowed, can't walk by faith in what it takes to perform or function at our highest capacity - our God given design.  We are like that bird sometimes - baffled, beat down, not fully understanding God's great desire for us to know His heart's design for us, by expectations of others or responsibilities - unable or unwilling to be wide open to operate fully in the design of our maker.  When that bird got free to flourish in its God-given design, it flew, it soared.  The blueprint and intention of God is for us to know fully and thrive in His unique architecture for each of us.  Fly by design.

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