The house was garlanded with fresh greenery, and gold decorations hung on the tree with twinkling lights. In the dining room the table was set with fine china, crystal and silver in preparation for the Griffin Family Christmas dinner. My parents, Buck and Donnis Griffin, were the honored guests and nothing delighted them more than being surrounded by their family.
They came by the carloads, and there were hugs all around as we greeted each other, and soon the house was filled with laughter and loud voices. Finally, the last group arrived, and we gathered our little ones near for a time of prayer. The “Amen” was said, and we lined up to fill our plates before sitting down to enjoy the scrumptious meal.
After we ate everyone crowded into the living room to sing Christmas Carols. Gramps read the Christmas story from the book of Luke, and it was Donnis’ delight to welcome any newcomers – babies born during the year and the newlyweds. She shared familiar stories about meeting the Lord, and how God directed her life. We listened with rapt attention to the story of how this family began.
Everything is so beautiful, and I am so thankful that we are here together to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Jesus came to earth to manifest our Heavenly Father’s love, and I want to share with you again how your grandfather and I came to be husband and wife. We have served God all these years and have no greater joy than to know that our children and grandchildren walk in truth. We call your name in prayer every morning and evening – and we pray for future generations.
Believe it or not, at one time I was a teenager with dreams just as you have today. My dad was a farmer, and a young man who lived on the neighboring farm asked me to marry him. He was so good looking, and I was thrilled with the sparkling diamond that he had placed on my finger. I was the envy of every girl in our community.
One day Frank moved to a nearby state to find employment and buy a house for us. While he was away a minister came to preach in our village, and my pastor insisted that I meet him. We began seeing each other. When this itinerate preacher moved on, I never expected to hear from him again. But before long, I was receiving romantic letters, and over the next few months I enjoyed the attention of two men who were declaring their love for me. Yes, your grandfather is a romantic!
Well, one day he came back to preach a revival where I was the church pianist, and we saw each other every night. One moonlit night after church we went to my parents’ home for refreshments. The night was bathed in moonlight and the sweet perfume of gardenias wafted across the porch where we sat gently swinging back and forth.
Of course, you know what happened; he asked me to marry him. Shortly, we said goodnight. Humming a joyful tune I went inside when reality hit. I was engaged to two men! Preparing for bed, I begin praying, “O God, tell me what to do. I’ve known Frank all my life, and Buck only a few months. I have been eagerly awaiting my marriage to Frank. He is buying me a house; Buck doesn’t even own a car. Show me what to do.”
The next morning I heard my mother’s voice saying, “Buck has called you. Now you call him.” Startled, I jumped up and ran to the kitchen. “Mama, why did you say that? What did you mean?” Low and behold, she hadn’t even called me to get up. Then I heard that still small voice that is so precious to me, “Donnis, remember, you prayed.”
Then I knew—I had made my plans—plans that were exciting to me, but God directed my steps. During our years of ministry your grandfather and I walked through the valleys and on mountain peaks, we’ve experienced heartaches and joys, but I’ve never doubted, never questioned God. I’ve lived all these years knowing that I am in the will of God.
The Heavenly Father knew Buck and me before the foundation of the world, and He brought us together as husband and wife for His purposes. Jesus came as a little baby, but he grew up and walked this earth doing what He saw the Father do, and He spoke the words of the Father. The Father will speak to you; He will reveal your life partner, and you will fulfill your destiny. In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9). Truly, the Lord determined our steps, and we pray for you everyday that you will live for the Lord.
This beloved matriarch led us in her favorite Christmas Carol, “Joy to the World.” Gifts were opened, and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye.
At the age of 81 Donnis Brock Griffin went to be with the Lord. Rev. A. H. “Buck” Griffin, 96 years old, resides in a nursing home in Atlanta. One day we will join her and the Heavenly Host in a never-ending celebration praising God throughout eternity. We proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Copyright © Germaine Copeland 2002
Germaine Copeland is the author of the best selling book series, Prayers That Avail Much. She has written scriptural prayers for the family. Read your Bible, pray and attend church where you can soak up the love and faith of God. You will receive emotional healing, experience spiritual growth and become more intimately acquainted with your Heavenly Father, and your relationships will grow stronger.