"But you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father.'" - Rom. 8:15

People tell me Abba means Daddy. Romans 8:15, translated "Daddy, Father," always brings back memories to me. 

During World War II my father served in the navy. Though he was not stationed overseas like some of my uncles, he was still too far away to come home often. My mother, brother Jimmy, and I lived with our grandparents, Mama and Papa Poole, while Daddy was gone. 

We had hoped he could come home for Christmas 1944, but the situation was looking bleak. With only a short leave, it was doubtful he could make it home by Christmas. We prayed that God would somehow help him to arrive on time, to fulfill his summer promise: "I'll be home for Christmas."

Every day Jimmy and I looked out the window toward the bus station.  We watched soldiers and sailors returning for Christmas, but we never saw Daddy.  One cold day, when I was watching out the window, I saw a man in dark blue bell-bottoms, a peacoat, and a white sailor hat headed toward our house!  Because the wind was blowing, he had his collar turned up around his neck, so I couldn't see his face.  I called Jimmy and Mother. They came running, peering out the window with me.  Imagine our disappointment when he turned at the corner!  It wasn't Daddy. 

My Aunt Clara, who also lived with our grandparents temporarily, tried to cheer us up. "See how happy Tommy and Ricky are," she said.  I knew her toddlers, only one and two years old, didn't even remember their father. I could remember Daddy: the smell of his after-shave lotion, the kindness in his brown eyes, and the sound of his clarinet lullaby at bedtime.  What fun to bounce among the covers as he calmed us with his music! 

Yes, I definitely remembered MY Daddy. And I missed him. So did Mother and Jimmy. We couldn't wait to see him, so we spent many hours watching, waiting.   

On Christmas Eve Aunt Clara gathered Mother, Jimmy, and me in the living room.  "I have a surprise for you," she said. 

"I knew it!"  I said, "Daddy promised he'd be home for Christmas!"  I ran to the door, sensing Daddy was there. On the porch stood Aunt Alice, only Aunt Alice, dragging a Christmas tree!

"This tree's too tall," Aunt Clara said, going to the piano. "While Alice saws the tree, I'm going to play 'Jingle Bells.'  We'll sing while she saws."  With the trunk of the bushy cedar tree over a large bucket, Alice started sawing. I pouted.  "I thought you were Daddy," I said.

I refused to sing, but when I saw mother holding hands with Tommy, Ricky, and Jimmy, marching them around the tree, I joined in. Later Mother said, "Edna, I'm glad you helped the boys march around the tree tonight. As the oldest, you helped them to be happy this Christmas. I know it's hard to wait. I'm waiting, too, but we can be happy together." 

I didn't like waiting, no matter what Mother said, so I went on to bed, falling asleep without saying my prayers.     
   
Awaking on Christmas morning, I began my window vigil. "Why don't you go into the living room. . . see your presents?" Mother said. Jimmy ran quickly.  I dawdled. To tell the truth, I didn't want to enjoy any presents without Daddy.  I was determined to pout all day. His being gone took all the fun out of Christmas. 

In the living room, I saw two small bicycles beside the tree! Forgetting my resolve, I smiled. And then - Daddy stepped out from behind the tree, welcoming us with open arms!  We both cried out at once: "Daaaddy!"  How strong and wonderful his arms were, big enough to hug Jimmy and me and Mother all together. Aunt Clara, Aunt Alice, Tommy, Ricky, and even Mama and Papa Poole then gathered in the group hug!

Of all the wonderful memories of the past, that was the greatest Christmas of all.
 
Advent means "the coming of something momentous." God gave us the greatest momentous gift when He allowed His Son, Jesus, to live on earth as the Incarnate Christ

During this Christmas season, Christians around the world wait, looking upward, ready to welcome God Incarnate, our Abba, into our hearts, recalling memories of past Christmases and the good times. 



The "Guru of Christian Mentoring," Edna Ellison (www.ednaellison.com) is a popular keynote speaker for retreats and women's conferences in the United States and overseas.  Known for her humorous application of deep biblical truth, this widow and mother has a story to tell!  Her life was featured in Focus on the Family magazine, where she has also been published.  She has written over 200 magazine articles and nine books.  Read Woman to Woman: Preparing Yourself to Mentor and Seeking Wisdom: Preparing Yourself to BE Mentored for a complete guide to your church mentoring program - or try her Friend to Friend Bible study books on Ephesians, Philippians, and Hebrews. Discounts available through ednae9@aol.com.