Candles In My Father’s House On Christmas Eve

A cobblestone pathway, ten to twelve feet in width, wound its way through what appeared to be a plantation of over one million acres in size. With each tree planted in perfect alignment, the garden reminded me of soldiers standing in formation. The foliage on each limb was the deepest green I have ever seen in my life. Some of the trees were in bloom with beautiful buds sporting flowers in an array of colors. The rest of the trees were laden with lush fruit. Clusters of bananas, oranges, apples, pears, rows of grapes and figs, patches of watermelon and cantaloupe, any fruit you could ever imagine was growing in endless supply. The aroma from the various fruits came together in perfect harmony; I paused just to inhale the aromatic fragrance. As I took a deep breath, I thought to myself, “Bath and Body don’t have a fragrance to compete with this!”

As I journey down the cobblestone drive, my eyes caught a glimpse of an enormous white house nestled right in the center of this massive orchard. The design of the home was in the Colonial Williamsburg style and was by far the largest building I’d ever seen. I would later come to understand that this dwelling place is the most expensive and grandest home that has ever been designed in the entire world.

Now just a hundred feet or so from this architectural wonder, I was blown away at the girth of the posts that were needed to support the front porch. Like mighty timbers from the Redwood Forest, each post reached high into the heavens. I’m not sure, but this mansion could have been over a couple of miles wide and maybe even one mile tall. Honestly, even after squinting as hard as I could, my eyes could not make out the corners or the top of this magnificent home.

On the front porch were countless oak rockers. It reminded me of a scene from Cracker Barrel, except for one thing; you could take the rockers from all the Cracker Barrel’s in the world and not have as many rockers as were on this porch. As I drew closer, I noticed that each rocker was occupied. The expression on the faces of those relaxing on the porch was mesmerizing. Each face gleamed with joy and their countenance confirmed the peace that permeated this entire property.

I considered moseying up on the porch to join them, but that notion was soon interrupted as a pearl white H1 Hummer came rolling up the driveway. Tricked out in chrome accents from a custom hood ornament to bumper hooks, it was the most beautiful vehicle I had ever seen. As it passed by me, I notice it had a custom license plate, which read, “Angel1”. I quickly surmised that those inside this vehicle must be of the angelic nature. Then I paused and ask myself, “I wonder if my Heavenly Father knows that the angels are running around in a H1 Hummer?”

The angelic vehicle came to a stop right in front of a set of solid bronze steps. There were seven of them, one step for each day of the week, which led up to the front porch of the mansion. Suddenly, what appeared to be body guards exited the vehicle and made their way to the rear door on the passenger side. My initial hunch about the occupants being angels was confirmed when one of them turned to the other and said, “Go ahead Gabriel, open the door and let him out!”

I wanted to know more about what was going on with these fellows in this vehicle. So, without drawing attention to myself, I made my way closer by moving along the fruit trees that were closest to the cobblestone driveway. I listened intently to the conversation between these two angelic warriors and their passenger.

As the rear door of the Hummer opened, I watched as a man in his early thirties exited the vehicle. The angel who had already been identified as Gabriel, turned to the passenger and asked, “How are you feeling Sam?”

Sam, who appeared to be in his early thirties, replied, “Great now! I guess you guys know, I’ve been sick a long time.”

Gabriel replied, “Oh, we know. We’ve been down to visit you several times!”

I continued to listen to the conversation between Sam and the two angels. I quickly realized their passenger, Sam, was an elderly man who had just died moments ago after an extended illness. Apparently, the angels had been deployed to earth to escort Sam to his Heavenly home.

At first, the details of their conversation did not support what I was seeing with my eyes. After all, it did not appear to me that Sam had been sick a single day of his life. But then it occurred to me,…Sam had been transformed! Sam’s old, sick, mortal body had given way to immortality, as youth and vitality now flowed through his veins like mountain water after a spring rain.
The second angel, who I had since learned was an angel who went by the name of Michael, turned to Sam and asked, “Are you ready to meet him?”

I must admit, a tear or two flowed down my cheek as Michael and Gabriel escorted Sam up the bronze steps and onto the porch. The front door of the mansion opened and immediately I knew that Sam was standing directly in front of His Savior, Jesus.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the words to articulate the serenity or the beauty of this occasion as Sam saw Jesus Christ for the first time. My only thought was that I sure wished Sam’s loved ones, who I suspect are just now hearing of his passing, could see him at this moment. Their outlook and perspective would sure be different if they could see how their loved one was going to spend Christmas in the home of his Heavenly Father!

Then, without announcement, those who had been quietly relaxing on the front porch in the rockers, stood up, and began clapping and shouting, “Welcome Home Sam! Welcome Home! Worthy is the Lamb! Praise to the name of Jesus! For He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!”

As those on the porch continued proclaiming the name of Jesus, the sky was filled with millions upon millions of angels. The angelic horde sang, rejoiced, and celebrated as Sam was escorted inside His Heavenly Father’s home.

Soon, those on the porch went back to relaxing in the rockers and the skies cleared up as the angels ascended high into the stratosphere. I overheard one of those on the porch turn to the other and admit, “I never get tired of doing that!” A smile stretched across my face as I realized that those rocking on the porch probably do that same celebration every time one of God’s children come home!

Gabriel and Michael got back into the pearl white Hummer and headed down the cobblestone driveway. I assumed they were headed to earth to escort another one of God’s children home.

I knew I needed to get back to earth, but I just wanted so desperately to get a quick peek inside. As the front door of the mansion closed, I quietly made my way to one of the trees closest to a front window. I climbed ten or twelve feet into an apple tree and soon was high enough to see what was occurring inside. After passing through the front foyer, I watched as Jesus escorted Sam into the Great Room. This room was enormous and could have easily hosted one thousand or more people.

In the center of the room was a Christmas tree which stood over 100 feet tall. The lights on the tree twinkled in an array of colors. But the moment Jesus entered the room the tree transition to solid white. I can’t explain it, but it was as if the lights on the tree were reflecting or radiating beams of light directly from Master himself.

I nearly fell out of the tree at what happened next. A woman, her face and demeanor very familiar to me, entered the Great Room. I felt as if I knew her, but I could not recall her name or remember how or when we might have met.

This woman walked over and introduced herself to Sam, congratulating him on his arrival home. The moment she spoke it struck me like a thunderbolt in a summer storm; this lady was my mother! Gone were the devastating effects of the cancer which had ravaged her body for years. Erased were the wrinkles brought on by the labor of love of raising us children.

I must admit, my mom was absolutely gorgeous and radiated with such a peaceful countenance. I so desperately wanted to climb down out of this tree, race inside and wrap both arms around her! But I realized my journey on earth was not complete; that tonight was just a special visit, and that I would have to wait a while longer before being eternally reunited with her.

While consumed with every move my mother made, our son, Drew, joined my mom in the Great Room. Then my father-in-law, Robert, walked by the Christmas tree and joined by mom and Drew. Just like my mom, both Drew and Robert appeared to be in their early thirties and in perfect health. The appearance of all three of them was so drastically different than the last time I saw them. I just could not get over the transformation!

Mom, Drew and Robert were soon joined by many others, those who I had known during my life on earth and who had placed their faith in Christ during their earthly journey. My Granny and Papa entered the room; next was my Mema and Pa; then my aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and neighbors, all assembled in a joyous reunion.

As they laughed and talked, I watched as Jesus moved to the center of the room, right beside the Christmas tree. The Heavenly Father smiled, and then announced that He was calling an impromptu meeting. Soon, the Great Room was filled with the residents who called this magnificent place home.

I could not hear everything Jesus had to say, but I soon determined that He had given them a directive. As He finished speaking, they left the Great Room with each resident heading in a different direction.

What happened next was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. In perfect unison, each resident of God’s eternal home lit a candle and placed the candle in the window of their bedroom. Soon, the flicker of each burning candle filled every single window in the home with a warm glow.

Within minutes, the light from the candles blended together to create the most incredible radiant glow—almost as bright as the sun at noonday. The light went as high up into the heavens as I could see and seemed to extend the full width of the horizon. It was simply magnificent!

I don’t know how long I sat up in that apple tree staring at the flickering glow emitted by the candles in the windows. But I knew that my glimpse into my Father’s home on Christmas Eve must come to an end. I knew there was still work left for me to do on earth.

As I climbed down out of the apple tree and headed back down the cobblestone driveway, I realized the candle light beaming from my Father’s home was lighting my way.

Was it ironic that I was walking in the candlelight provided by my Heavenly Father?

I don’t think so.

You see, I believe my Heavenly Father lit the candles in His home tonight just for me! I think He lit the candles to remind me that He is the light. I’m convinced He lit the candles to let me know that there is always room in my Father’s house. I think He wanted me to announce to all the weary travelers that they will always be welcomed at His doorstep. I think He wanted me to know that my loved ones are having the time of their life; and that soon enough I will get to join them. I think He wanted to remind me to keep my eyes focused on the light—for only by following the light will I ever make it home. I think He wanted to confirm to me that His love is so deep and so wide, that until every single one of His children makes it home, He will keep the candles burning brightly in the windows of His Heavenly mansion!

And so tonight, on this Christmas Eve, I light a candle and place it in the window.

Why you ask? Just to remind me of home!

D. Keith Jones

The Dusty Road to Bethlehem

As the dust swirled around her feet, the elaborate wedding Mary dreamed of all her life seemed to be fading like the evening sun. Her parents had listened to her explanation of events with mixed skepticism. Her fiancé, Joseph, after experiencing a visitation by the angel, swallowed his pride and decided to stick it out and see if this relationship could withstand the recent turn of events. And now, if the circumstances of their life were not stressful enough, by orders of the Emperor Caesar, they found themselves journeying by foot to the forsaken little town of Bethlehem to register as part of a mandated census.

Upon arriving in Bethlehem, their struggle intensified as they soon discovered that every single hotel was booked to capacity. Joseph felt ashamed as he walked back to the donkey where Mary was waiting and broke the news that she would be forced to give birth to their baby alongside a herd of dirty livestock.

How and why did this God fearing Jewish couple experience such a dramatic turn of events? After all, Mary was ‘favored’ by God, and Joseph was deemed to be a ‘righteous’ man. Is this how ‘favored’ and ‘righteous’ people are treated. Why us? Why now? Why did the circumstances of their lives take them from the dreams they had planned back in Nazareth to a barn in the obscure little village of Bethlehem?

Do you ever feel like life has taken you to a barn in Bethlehem? Do is ever feel like you’re traveling a dusty road to nowhere? No doubt this is what Mary and Joseph felt as they contemplated what might have been in Nazareth for what was actually unfolding before them in Bethlehem.

But somewhere along the way, Mary and Joseph recalled the truth found in God’s Word. Mary remembered the words of her relative, Elizabeth, who exclaimed, “You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.” Mary realized that the child she carried was the fulfillment to the promise God had made to her people, Israel. And while the wedding she once dreamed of as a child was fading away, the hopes and dreams of the world were forming in her womb. She realized God has something better in mind!

And Joseph, with each step toward Bethlehem recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Look, The Virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel!” He realized that the woman chosen to give birth to the Messiah must be a virgin–and that his wife had been honored by God to be the one who would first hold the Christ child in her arms.

Then Joseph reflected back to the days of his childhood when the elders would read from the prophet, Micah, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah, Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” Joseph realized that their journey to Bethlehem was not the fault of Caesar, it was not bad luck, but rather the fulfillment of divine prophecy!

And in the stillness of that first Christmas night, as they held the baby in their arms, Mary and Joseph realized that a barn in Bethlehem was all part of God’s plan! They were not being punished; they had not been forsaken; and while the amenities of the stable where far short of being ‘five star’, there was a peace that settled over them as they realized they were exactly where God wanted them!

Our lives are no different—we who follow God experience episodes where the circumstances of our lives take us down a path we never envisioned. So if you find yourself traveling down the ‘dusty road to Bethlehem’, I encourage you to trust your Heavenly Father. For in Bethlehem you just might find the beginning of the greatest journey of your life!

Pastor Keith

The Encounter at Rock Pointe goes #1!

I am so excited to announce that Sheriff Adonai, The Encounter at Rock Pointe has gone #1, Best Seller, on Amazon! Thanks to all those who have purchased and supported this book. I pray that God continues to use this story for His glory!

Publicist & Marketing Specialist Joins the Team!

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Denise Cassino, who will immediately begin working on the marketing of “Sheriff Adonai, The Showdown at Rock Pointe”. Denise is recognized as one of the top 100 internet marketers in the country and is an expert in getting books to the Best Seller list on Amazon. Marketing the book to the masses is a critical step in the overall process of moving the written story to the silver screen. I am ecstatic to have Denise on the Sheriff Adonai team!

In addition to Denise joining the project, we’ve had two new investors come on board this week. God is opening doors and answering prayers on a daily basis!  I will continue to provide updates as things continue to unfold!!!

Keith