It’s December 21 and I am done wrapping and sending out 95 % gifts that need to be delivered. So here I am, taking a break and writing. 9 days to go till we “wrap up 2016″… and it is not easy looking back. It is actually painful .
The year was just about to roll in when we lost my Daddy Dony. It is actually going to be the first Christmas without him. Actually, he celebrated his last Christmas here on earth in the ICU on his 10th week in the hospital. “Daddy Dony and Christmas” was always special because he loved special occasions to gather his loved ones. He thought of all ways to spice up the event and we’ve had the most “all out” gatherings because of his ideas.
But sadly, so many other precious lives left us this year: a homeschooler friend who had 4 children, a dear sister of one my BFFs, my eldest brother in law, my neighbor’s father, several of our helper’s dearest relatives and several parents of other friends.
Our own family had one relationship problem after another, and so I think 2016 was my most “crying-ext” year. I love how the Psalms in the New Living Translation says it ever so clearly in Psalm 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” I also soar in the assurance in Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” So when you really think about it, the Lord is near and so I must rest and rejoice in that. And truly this season is the best time to rejoice knowing, “Emmanuel, God is with us!” So, instead of wallowing and yes, staring at my tears in my own “memory” bottle and reliving the hurts again in my thoughts and heart, I have made a choice to rejoice. God is with us. He is near us. What an amazing , awesome, mind-blowing truth!!!!
So as I greet you all a truly MERRY “because God is indeed with us” Christmas, let me do this using some of the Christmas sights here at home.
Let me take the simple messages from our tree this year. (Set up by all our kids!)
- Be Merry, God is with us. Take time to think of that. Close your eyes and say. “Thank You, Jesus.” “God with us” paved the way for the redemption of every believer in Christ. “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
2. Life’s circumstances may cloud the way, dim our thoughts but as one follower encountered Jesus, he called out and said, “I do believe; Lord, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) Even Mary had her own doubts, “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34 ) So my dearest one, Merry Believing!
3. May you have Joy and Freedom. God, through Jesus, has already provided this with the greatest sacrifice at Calvary. With Jesus, we have eternal joy and freedom from the burden and weight of our sins and failures. Again, take time to think and ponder on these. Indeed, we can really sing, “Joy to the World!”
4. Amidst the troubles at home, in our families and in our society, and yes in our world, may you have inner peace in believing in faith, that God is sovereign. I weep as I think of children in Aleppo, as I think of those killed in this “all out drug” war. We know that the worsening “darkness” has been foretold but alongside that, there is the call to press on to be salt and light in this earth. I cannot let the darkness , whether in my own family life or in this word, make me cynical, cripple me or paralyze me. ” You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3. “For the peace of God that transcends all understanding shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
5. In faith, I have chosen to draw near to God and believe. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. ” May then your faith in Him be strengthened as you look back at 2016 and look forward to 2017. God is faithful and He seeks those who will believe Him in faith.
So there. Simple truths but truly profound and wondrous. Let us, like Mary, take time to celebrate as we meditate on these thoughts. “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) As you do this, listen to traditional Bible based Christmas carols and be blessed with these 5 simple truths I drew out from our CHRISTmas tree this year.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6