Monday, December 25, 2006

From Our House to Yours . . .

. . . we wish you a Merry Christmas. We are having another "white Christmas" Florida-style. (See this post for my description of last year's white Christmas.) I'm a little nervous tonight about leaving the outside lights on with all the wet, drippy snow (rain). The temperature is supposed to get up to a chilly 71 degrees. And it'll be rainy, so it will feel much hotter. I'm sweating already! (Maybe it's the fleece pj's the kids got me!) Of course, it'll be cold the day after Christmas. (OK, 60 degrees, but to us, that's cold!) Ah, well . . . at least there's the snow. (I'm turning green thinking of those of you in snowy places up north right now!)

Each year, it astonishes me that as I read the Christmas story yet again, I see something new. It is truly evidence that the Word of God is alive and relavent. It always moves me to spend time thanking God for the rich blessing of His only Son who took on flesh to become a living sacrifice for me (and you too!). The cost of this sacrifice is beyond my comprehension. I can't imagine choosing to live outside my middle class American suburb for longer than a few years (with furloughs to bring me home), much less leaving the glory of heaven and leaving behind the glory of being God to live 33 years with mostly ungrateful mere humans. Without forgetting this incredible gift, every year I ask God to make me aware of other little gifts that He gives to me. Since I don't have parents or a husband to spoil me, I turn to God to be better than either of those, and to show me the richness of His gifts.

This year I planned our Advent season well, but failed to follow through with my plan. I got lost in the trip to South Carolina that the younger boys and I took, in enjoying my time off from school a little too much, and in the busy-but-unproductive activities of the season. I neglected my First Love. But in His sweetness, He used some hard things this last week to draw me back to Himself. In an e-mail newsletter yesterday He reminded me that He is Prince of Peace. He came to restore peace between God and man, between man and man, and within each man. He came to restore peace in my soul. Today, the noise and clamor that I have felt for weeks now inside are gone, and as I surrender again to the Prince of Peace, I find peace. What a great gift!

So it is in the rememberance of this lesson that I wish you peace this Christmas. If you do not know what it is like to belong to the one, true Living God, and to enjoy a friendship with Him that brings hope and peace, I invite you to read the book of John in the Bible and to decide who this Jesus is. If you are one who believes that He is the Son of God, but you are feeling discouraged, hopeless, or like a failure, I urge you to ask Him to make Himself real to you and to draw you back into His love. I have yet to see Him not answer this prayer for me, and I love the fact that we celebrate the remembering of Christ's coming just before He gives us a fresh new start in the new year. With Him there are always new beginnings, and over time there is always productive change. May you and your family delight in Him this Christmas, and I am praying that He blessses you beyond your wildest dreams!

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