Two-hundred-thirty-two years ago this week George Washington was Christmas shopping in New York City, which is not necessarily remarkable. This year thousands of shoppers (even some of you, dear readers) will travel to the Big Apple for the same purpose. Tourists will head straight for Tiffany’s, or the pricier, well-known retailers of Manhattan. The more experienced shoppers will head for Jamaica, Queens to find (so I’m told) great bargains, and unique items. General Washington was in the city waiting to oversee the final removal of British forces from the United States. His plans were to make his way to Annapolis, where he would surrender his commission to congress, and then make his way home to Mount Vernon by Christmas Eve. Because winter travel was slow, and every town on his route planned to fete and celebrate him, his schedule would be tight. Before bidding an emotional farewell to his officer corps at Fraunces Tavern, though, he had items he wanted to pick up, since he was in the city. For His wife he purchased jewelry and a silver tea service. For the grandchildren he purchased games, toys, dolls, and musical instruments.
America’s war of independence was full of unbelievable coincidences: the fog rolling in after the defeat of continental forces at the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, allowing the safe retreat of the army; the arrival on the scene of an entire generation of remarkable heroes at just the right time; the deaths of Adams and Jefferson on the same day – July 4, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, among myriad others. One of these seemingly providential moments occurred at sunset, December 24th, 1783 when George Washington walked through the door of his own home after an absence of 8 years.
Even a casual reading of the history of this period allows one to understand how they saw the hand of Divine Providence in all this. Then again, any of us who actually pay attention to our past year will surely see the hand of God. Thinking back over our year, remembering our lost loved ones, our new brothers and sisters, the weddings and births we have celebrated – we know He has been here with us, and will be, all the way, every step, until the end of the age.
This is the last Manassas Messenger of the year. Lord willing, we will resume publication again the first week of January 2016. We, the office staff of the Manassas Church of Christ would like to thank you all for another year of serving together in the vineyard of the Lord.
Robert Frost once wrote a poem about a guy who wanted to buy his “Christmas trees.” The man wanted to clear away acres of pines, and pay Frost a meagre $30. Frost writes that he wishes he could send a tree to each of his friends. He sends them the poem instead.
We send to you the three eternal themes of Faith, Hope, and Love. Of course God has already given these gifts. We, however, can give you this from the Word.
We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 1.2-3
Grace and Peace.