Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Christmas Letter 2015
I have tried writing this Christmas letter three or four times already and have somehow always ground to a halt. Nothing seems to come out right. It doesn't "feel" like Christmas yet. Maybe it's because there's no snow on the ground but I think it's something more than that.
Bev's watching Monday Night Football in the living room so I picked up the laptop and went into "the green room," which is named for the color the room used to be, not what it is now. This world can be as confusing as it is distracting.
Across from the green room's couch there is a shelf containing family pictures . . . and half a dozen dusty Bibles. There's a picture of my mom and dad, my grandma, my brother. There's Bev's mom and dad. So many images. We were all so happy back then. Things seem to have changed.
Bev's mom died this past January. My dad passed the year before. My parent's generation is fading away . . . disappearing. It occurs to me that getting old sucks. I go to bed earlier now than I ever did. The reason I do is so I will have more time in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. LOL!
I miss my dad. I'm sure Bev misses her mom as well. I do. Where did all those years go that are depicted in our photographs? It seems like the older I get the tighter I cling to God's promises of a new body, a "heavenly" body.
As I looked closer at the family pictures I thought how each one of us has a family. Even Jesus had a family. If I were to open up one of those dusty Bibles over there I could ready about his family in Matthew 1 or Luke 3. God loves family.
Have you ever seen The Nativity Story? It's a movie about the birth of Jesus. There is a moment in the movie, a short time after Mary gave birth to Jesus, where Mary looks up through a hole in the roof at the star shining overhead. She smiles. She smiles because God, the father of her baby, was looking down from heaven at His one and only Son. God is all about family.
Our family is doing well. Bev's dad is getting by in assisted living and for the most part the rest of us are hanging in there as well.
Someone once said that grandchildren are a blessing. It was King Solomon. "Grandchildren are the crown of the aged," - Proverbs 17:6. Bev and I have found that there is nothing quite like walking hand-in-hand with our grandson, playing cars and building towers and then knocking them down. Sometimes we even let Lleyton play with us!
I invite you to take a look at Mary's eyes in this picture. It's finally dawning on her, as she stares at the star, that this child she just delivered is no ordinary child. She remembers the angel who came and told her that she would give birth to a son. She was told that she should name Him Immanuel, which means "God with us." She realizes that she is literally holding God, in human form, right there in her arms. Wow!
Have you held a baby recently? I encourage you to do so. Each child has a future. Each child is a representation of hope, a promise of things to come. When we think about the life of Jesus - born to live a sinless life, born to become a sacrifice for us all, and finally betrayed and murdered so that He might rise from the dead - how can we not look at a baby and see hope?
Each of us has been born. Some have been born twice, speaking of a spiritual birth. Jesus once told Nicodemus, "No one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." (John 3:3). The Bible says "it is appointed for men once to die" but we can be born TWICE. Think about that for a moment. If we only die once and are born twice . . . doesn't that mean we will not die again? This is a promise from God!
"16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." - John 3:16-17
This Christmas I encourage you to look at pictures of your family . . . especially baby pictures. Do you see what God sees? Do you see the hope He has for each of us? My prayer for you this Christmas is that you would embrace God’s desire for you, for each of us – to love Him and to love others. This is His greatest command to us all.
Do You Hear What I Hear - Carrie Underwood
Nativity Story - Jesus Birth