As I think about this Christmas season and all that it means I am reminded that often there are those to whom this is a very difficult time of year. Maybe this is your first Christmas without one of your parents. Maybe it’s a first without the one you have loved and shared your life with for so many years. Possibly you lost a child or your much loved child has gone a direction that you don’t agree with. So many ways that this time of year brings sadness and hurt. So many times when the family gets together we are just reminded of past hurts our current differences. How do we cope? How can this year be an improvement on the Christmases that have past?
I have found personally that when I am down or regretting the times together that the best way for me to overcome this attitude is to give myself to others. Rather than to look at what I am missing out on I try to focus more on what I have been given. The list is long and when we focus on the things we have to be thankful for we should be overwhelmed at the extent of our many blessings. Spend a week in Ethiopia and you will return with a new look at your life.
Here are just a few of the significant things I would like to share with you and maybe this will encourage you to be more thankful this season.
This morning we celebrated our first Christmas with John, our new 14 year old Chinese son. Can you imagine the thoughts going through his head this morning as he dressed up as our family Santa to hand out the gifts? Never has he known the meaning of Christmas. Never has he received a Christmas gift.
Kimmy and Ian came home from NC, where Ian is in seminary, and joined us for their first Christmas as a married couple. We were all there once, without much money and living on love more than anything else. But they made the trip to be here with us and to give us what must be the best gift they could ever give us- a grandbaby, due in Aug. We miss having them here close to us, but we also understand that this is the reason we raised them- to go and make a difference in the world. What a blessing for us.
We have many things that have happened this year; a trip to China, a wedding and a trip to NC. Our lives are filled with material, emotional and spiritual blessings that are too numerous to count, but we must look at or lives and recognize their abundance.
Our greatest Gift is the gift from our Father who loves us more than is earthly imaginable. I would never have given one of my sons to save my enemies and yet this is what God has done for us. He devised the plan to win us back to Himself and that plan included the life and death of His only Son. I pray that this Christmas we would understand the depth of His love for us and that each would follow His leading. He desires that we love Him more than anything else and yet I find myself often looking to the temporal gifts and blessings that are in front of me each day; how fleeting they are. He is worth more than any gifts or blessings we have here.
Have a Merry Christmas as you celebrate the greatest Gift we have ever received.