May I share part of our family’s Christmas letter with you?
Thank you for allowing the stories from this blog to be part of your life over the last year. I have loved sharing the stories of God’s grace at work in the world and how I’ve seen ordinary men and women reflecting that grace and mercy to people around them.
You’ve also walked along the path of my personal journey over the last year. You’ve prayed for my mom who had surgery for the insertion of a brain stent last April. My mother is doing much better. Today she told me she is even able to walk without her cane.
I’ve also had the privilege of sharing about my husband’s and my involvement, small as it may be, in international student ministry, my bible study network, my trips to Arizona, my train trek out to Kansas for my uncle’s funeral, and my co-authorship of the book, Christmas Treasures. It’s been a busy year!
For those of you who know my family, you know we have two adult daughters. The younger daughter will graduate with her Master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language this spring. She’s in the midst of job hunting – will you pray for her? She will be sad to leave the girls who have attended her International Student bible study but we are confident God has new opportunities to share her love for Jesus to other newcomers to our country. Our older daughter just graduated from Optometry School and will soon leave for Officer’s training to prepare her to serve as an Army medical officer. Our extended family gathered in Ohio in November to help her celebrate her graduation and Army Commissioning. What a sweet time.
Have you heard people say, “I need a vacation from my vacation?” With all the traveling we did this year, I think we can resonate with that. Traveling can be tiring and stressful. It’s easy to get so wiped out that when you get where you are going, you’re too exhausted to enjoy what you came for. It’s tempting to get focused on the details of the trip and miss the moments when God opens the curtains of heaven to let us catch a glimpse of His glory.
After two eighty mile trips either on foot or on the back of a donkey, one trek while she was eight months pregnant, Mary must have been beyond exhausted upon arrival at Bethlehem. She could have focused on her exhaustion, the stabs of labor pains, or the discouragement over sub-standard hotel accommodations. Then there were these smelly strangers who wanted to gawk at her baby. Who could blame her if she snapped at Joseph, “Tell them to go away and let me sleep”?
Instead, she welcomed the shepherds, observed their worship of her newborn son, the King of Kings, and treasured in her heart the memories of what God was doing. Even in her first journey to see Elizabeth, she was aware that God was in the center of the travel plans. She gloried in the moment when she exalted, “The Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is His name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation (Luke 1:49,50).”
As we begin our trek through 2015, we pray that we can stay focused on the great things God is doing in our lives and in the world. I pray that you have been able to see Christ in every moment of your Christmas celebration and that you invite Him to share your journey with you.
Have an AWESOME New Year!
Love and prayers,