Today we are celebrating an anniversary at the assisted living facility and nursing home where we do services each week. We are beginning our tenth year there. What a joy it has been to fellowship with the residents, to get to know them and to have them as friends, and worship with them!
As I think about this anniversary it makes me think that there are many different types of anniversaries, the birthday being the most common. Perhaps the wedding anniversary is the second most common.
My husband and I have been married for thirty-three years, but this past January we celebrated our thirty-fifth anniversary.
We were married on December 30th and it was a wonderful time to be married. All month long I received deliveries of packages decorated in white paper and white ribbon – it was as if Christmas day was all month long.
On the 25th we had a nice Christmas, the last one I celebrated in my parent’s home, and five days later we were married. The church was especially beautiful, still being decorated for Christmas.
We had taken special time choosing our wedding cake for that day, it was important to us that it taste as good as it looked. As most newlyweds do, we reserved the top of it to eat on our anniversary. That day was never to come.
Oh, our anniversary came, right on time. But we didn’t have the joy of sharing that delicious cake with our family on our special day. You see, three and a half months before, a terrible visitor tore into our city. On September 12, 1979, Hurricane Frederic devastated our town and the resulting loss of electrical power for two weeks destroyed our wedding cake in my mother’s freezer. We did have a cake that day, though. My husband's cousin kindly went to the bakery and bought us a cake with wedding bells on it so we would have one to share on our anniversary.
We weren’t able to celebrate much on our second anniversary either, since nine days before I had given birth to our first child. These two years seemed to set the pattern for our anniversary being not much of a day for celebration. Once the children came there just didn’t seem to be much revenue left after Christmas for anniversaries.
So we began the tradition of celebrating our anniversary on another anniversary. On January 23, 1977, two friends sat across a table talking. One reached across the table and took her hand in his and she forever fell into his heart. We celebrate that day thirty-five years ago instead of the one we never seem to be able to celebrate. We have made a substitution.
Sometimes in our lives, the Lord closes a door. He makes it appear as if we can’t have or do or be something we really wanted in our lives. But He never leaves us without hope. As the old saying goes, “If the Lord closes a door, He will open a window.” And the marvelous Southern windows down here are so tall; you can step right through them out onto the porch. Sometimes we just have to be willing to do so – to accept the substitution. Sometimes we have to ask the Lord to give us eyes to see that substitute, or to let us see the right day circled on the calendar.
“The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”