It’s always helpful to be reminded of things I don’t know, don’t fully understand or have perhaps forgotten.

Like the other night when I was talking to my son in Ohio, and I was observing that no one could lose me in my house; all they’d have to do is follow the oxygen tube, because I’d be right there, connected to the end of it. Of course I reminded him of what a pain in the neck it is, getting tangled around my ankles when I turn around, getting caught on the rocker in my bedroom, switching to my portable everywhere I go! And that sometimes I am so tempted to leave it in the car when I’m just running in to a store briefly. I don’t do that; it’s just a measure of my frustration.

At which point he reminded me that when brain cells don’t get enough oxygen, they die. And then he told me something I didn’t know: I’ve been on 02 for years, but only at night; it’s just the last few years that it’s been 24/7. The NEW thing he told me was this: that before that, my kids saw that I was GRADUALLY getting less sharp, but when I went full time, I snapped right back to my normal self! No wonder my daughter is so mindful that I don’t forget to return it to my nose. (Very helpful to live with a nurse; I need every one of those brain cells!) And this explains why it was my daughters, not my doctor, who decided I needed to start using it.

The very positive result of this conversation with my son is that I really will stop whining and take care of myself as best I can, and recognize the FACT that if my heart doesn’t get enough oxygen it might very well quit, sooner than it otherwise might! After beating faithfully for nigh onto ninety years, it certainly behooves me to treat it gently!

Then there is the story of the wooden puppet who wanted to be a real boy, Pinocchio, who had a cricket companion who was kind of his conscience and who constantly urged the puppet to do the right and safe and truthful thing, with varying success. We, too, sometimes need to be pointed in the right direction and encouraged to live well. But we, as believers, do not need a Jiminy Cricket to guide us. We are hugely blessed by God; we have a person, an actual part of God Himself living within us, ever ready to guide us, to give us understanding, to teach us, to remind us of all Jesus said. When Jesus was explaining to his disciples, just before his crucifixion, what would soon follow, he told them that when he was no longer with them, his Father would send them a helper, who would empower them and explain everything they needed to know, and especially remind them of everything he had taught them. What a wonderful gift! And that very same Holy Spirit actually lives inside us, eager to guide us in all we do! Read the Gospel of John, Chapters 14 &15. It’s fascinating to read all that Jesus says the Holy Spirit will do!

The problem with Pinocchio was that he didn’t always follow Jiminy’s advice! The little puppet had a lot of trouble telling the truth, and so every time he lied, his nose grew! Before long, his nose was quite a size! We’re fortunate that we don’t have the same result when we ignore or refuse the guidance of our Holy Spirit! We know very well that our powerful sin nature is still with us, and every day we make choices: whom will we follow? Sometimes we just get lazy, or self-centered, putting our own comfort before the needs of anyone else. We just neglect to do the thing that God has prodded us to do --- sometimes as simple as making that phone call or caring for someone who needs a little help. We just ignore the promptings of the Spirit.

And sometimes God sends us a human person, who tells us what we needed to hear. We need to listen.

So I pray that you and I, each of us, find sure peace in the joy of following God’s direction always. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die, to save us!  And as this Christmas season fades into the new year, do join me in determining to make every decision, every thought, every action one that will bring glory to our wonderful Father!

Norma Stockton