Summary: Sarah was a mother/grandmother/great grandmother who deeply loved her family. The message focuses on her sacrifice and love... and her faith in Christ.

I’m going to something today that I NEVER do. I’m going to modify a passage of Scripture, and I’m hoping God will forgive me for that because this rendering fits my message this morning.

“An excellent (Mother) who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. She does good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands... She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens… With the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong... Her lamp does not go out at night.

She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple...

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:10-31)

OPEN: I have only one grandchild – Benjamin. He’s 2 ½ years old and he and his parents live with me right now. At his age, Christmas has a special meaning for him. We’ve put up the Christmas tree in the front room and sometimes he’ll stand in front of it and stare at the lights for 5 or 10 minutes. He never seems to grow tired of it, and at this rate the tree will probably still up through the middle of July. Every once in awhile Benjamin will come over to me at my computer and say “c‘here” and when your grandson says “c’here” you “c’here.” Then he’ll lead me into the front room and have me sit in the rocking chair while he sits across from me on the sofa with the Christmas tree between us. Then he’ll order me – “SING!” and I’ll sing all kinds of Christmas carols. Benjamin just loves Christmas.

And some of the family told me that was just like Sarah - she loved Christmas. Sarah’s daughter Denise told me her mother “always had to have a LARGE TREE, and she decorated with colored lights. She was particular in how it was decorated so needless to say, we didn't help a lot. But that was ok, our tree was always beautiful. And the outside was decorated as well. I can never remember a Christmas that was ever less than perfect.”

And then there was the music. She’d put Jimmy Dean’s Christmas album on 1st thing in morning and turn it up WAY LOUD so that everyone upstairs could hear and know – it was time for Christmas. And why was Christmas so important to Sarah? My guess it was because Christmas was all about family, she wanted the best for her family. You were the center of her life, and with 9 kids 21 grandchildren 21 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild - it WAS all about family. And you ALL KNEW she loved you and she would do anything for you.

One of the granddaughters told me that at holidays, the whole family got together sat down at the dinner table to eat one of Sarah’s dinners. She said there was enough food to feed a 3rd world country, but she couldn’t remember a time when Sarah sat down to eat the meal with them. Her grandmother was always scurrying about serving the food and making sure everyone had enough.

Sarah loved you, and she tried to keep you safe and give you wisdom that would protect you. Denise shared that her mother would tell her things like “You have to be careful who you hang around with, because if they are doing wrong things and you are with them then people will assume you are too! Birds of a feather flock together.” And “Be thankful for what you have whether you think it to be little or much. And “Be kind to the people, especially those w/ limited abilities. They can’t control how things are.

Sarah preached values to her children. But Sarah also practiced what she preached. Denise told me that “some folks said SHE GAVE TOO MUCH of herself away sometimes.” And that’s alright, because that’s the kind of thing that Jesus admires. Jesus said: whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12). And Jesus also said "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)

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