today was such a WONDERFUL day beginning with celebrating our Lord at church this morning, then lunch with my mom and step-dad, then opening gifts with our children, and then more gifts with my mother- and father-in-law... then playing with gifts and enjoying one another's company. And now we're sitting -- feet propped up -- watching Little Women. All is calm and all is bright... peaceful and joyful deep down.
Thankful for what Christmas really means...
it means in spite of my nerves in a dentist's chair about wisdom teeth removal,
or my nerves about painting live in a mall window with people watching me the entire time (for the first time),
or my heart's ache for my step-father who lost his 43 year-old son this summer
(who left four beautiful boys 13 and under and a beautiful wife behind),
or the fact that the eldest of those four beautiful boys is battling cancer himself,
or the fact that my bout with a four day stomach virus or food poisoning fog these last five days has derailed my best laid plans for Christmas...
Jesus has me right where He wants me. He knows His plans for me, and He knows His plans for my step-father's family, and He knows His plans for my children, and He knows His plans for you, too. I don't have to know HIS plan, I just have to trust HIS hand.
I wrote this in 2012 and it still applies even more today.
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Hail the incarnate Deity! Jesus, our Emmanuel... Hark! The herald angels sing, "Glory to the King of kings!" (This last line is how Wesley wrote it originally; it was later revised by George Whitfield.) As I look at the many blessings of life, including my precious family, I am struck that even as precious and wonderful as our family times are, and as much as I treasure EACH and EVERY memory we make… even family is not what Christmas is all about. It is about One thing and One thing only: Jesus desired so much to bring my sinful self back into relationship with Himself that He was willing to lay aside the glory of heaven and His right to stay there, to put on the flesh of a helpless babe and later walk as a man, and then to be the sacrifice necessary to pay the penalty for my sin. It is with wonder that I think about this and all it means. And because of His sacrifice, I receive all the benefits: peace that passes understanding in a world riddled with anxiety and fear, contentment in a world that would sell me dissatisfaction, joy in a world that offers great sadness, love in a world filled with hate… and on top of all that the promise of eternity with Him. Christmas is not feelings or faith or even family … Christmas is Emmanuel, the God Who is with us… and that is Everything.