The first year God inspired me to design our family’s Christmas card was over twenty years ago. I was sitting at a stoplight waiting for a “Go.” Out of nowhere, in my mind, the picture of baby Jesus appeared, silhouetted against a white backdrop. I had mere seconds to sketch it out on a napkin I retrieved from the glove box. By the time I got home, I knew God wanted me to design a Christmas card. A few days later God birthed a verse: Sweet and simple the Christ child came; the heavens proclaimed His holy name.
I never dreamed that a Christmas tradition was in the making with that first homemade card. Each year, I sketch out the design for the front of the card on mylar or thick paper. I cut a stencil. I use only 3 colors; gold, pine green and brick red. I paint on white card stock. I handwrite each verse. It brings me such joy to know that our family and friends receive such a precious gift from God through me. It’s way bigger than anything I could have dreamed up on my own. It’s a ministry. When an unsaved friend of ours tells me every year how much he looks forward to our Christmas card and that it’s the nicest he receives I realize God has a purpose that reaches far beyond my human creativity. Our unsaved friend has heard the gospel message more than once through these cards.
God has inspired these cards in some very unique ways. Sometimes the picture appears first. Sometimes the verse. I’ve been awakened in the middle of the night with inspiration and I’ve been inspired by a pastor’s sermon. (I had to doodle that one on my bulletin.) One time I sat in my grandmother’s rocker for three hours…waiting…doing absolutely nothing…before God spoke a word. That’s what you call being still and quiet before the Lord.
And sometimes I’m even cleaning house. That’s how the story of Ignatious came to be. Proof that God works in mysterious ways. “Ignatious the Star” ranks as the most beloved and the most unusual of all my cards.
It was August and I was vacuuming, not one of my favorite house cleaning chores. As I pushed and pulled that heavy upright a phrase began to resound in my ears, “There once was a star named Ignatious, who dreamed of being so spacious….”
I stopped vacuuming and actually laughed out loud. What would you have done?! I had no idea what it meant, but over the next few months I would hear this same phrase over and over again while I washed dishes, pulled weeds in the flower beds, painted walls, shopped for groceries. At one point, I started rapping it as I dusted furniture, “There once was a star named Ignatious–boom boom–who dreamed of being so spacious–boom boom.” And I danced a little with every swipe of the dust cloth. Holy Mackerel, I thought I’d gone mental.
Usually around Thanksgiving I start thinking about my Christmas card. I tell God I’m ready and ask Him to speak to me. Wouldn’t you know? The minute I asked God to inspire me I heard that familiar phrase. I stopped. I actually took a seat. I stared off into space and with tears of gratitude that I’d not lost my mind after all I received the rest of the story:
There once was a star named Ignatious, who dreamed of being so spacious;
Though smallest of all he still shown with awe, forever humble and gracious.
He hovered and twinkled and sparkled and sprinkled his light through the darkest of night;
So happy to stand and be part of God’s plan, he was such a glorious sight.
One day he asked God to give him a job, to prove himself to be helpful;
God said, “I’ll give you a task far more than you ask, but only because you’ve been faithful.
Today My child will be born reconciled to bring others to eternal joy;
The light from your heart will shine from the start bringing others to My baby boy.”
Ignatious grew grand and began to expand, his heart overflowing with love;
God’s gift though small was given to all and His light shone down from above.
I’ve had a few friends tell me this would make a great children’s book, but I don’t know. Somehow I think God had a message here just for me. God reminded me through the story of Ignatious that He’ll use anyone with a heart that’s willing and obedient. Sometimes our tasks seem small and insignificant, but God doesn’t see it that way. He gives us small jobs to test our faithfulness and we learn humility in the little things. When we prove ourselves worthy He knows He can trust us with more. No matter how small or how big the task, we have the responsibility to shine…to hover and twinkle and sparkle and sprinkle wherever God sets our feet…to be happy just to stand and be part of God’s plan.
We’re all called to shine the light of Jesus. To point the way to the Savior. We’re walking Christmas cards and who says the spirit of Christmas is only for the month of December? What a wonderful thing to receive inspiration from God while sitting at a stoplight or in the heat of a summer month or while cleaning house! Small things. Mundane tasks. Dreaded Chores. Hovering in one spot. Lighting just one room. It’s all important to God. It’s all part of God’s plan because…
a small thing can turn into a big deed…
a mundane task can turn into an extraordinary work…
a dreaded chore can turn into an anticipated event…
one spot can become many places and one room can become a mansion. My name may not be Ignatious, but I can still be a star.
“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” Daniel 12:3
So, I think I’ll ask God to give me a job and see how helpful I can be. Who knows? Maybe if you look into the nighttime sky this Christmas season you’ll see a star with my name on it. I would love to see you hovering beside me.
Shine on, dear friends, shine on.