Have you started, or even finished, your Christmas shopping? Are you a good planner or a last minute one? Is part of your DNA “Grinch” or perhaps “Scrooge” - Bah Humbug! Or are you the one who rejoices when Hallmark announces its Christmas movie lineup in July? Are you the first one in your neighborhood to put your tree up?
I am undoubtedly one of the most difficult people to Christmas shop for, because when asked by my wife or children what I would like, my normal reply is - “nothing”! Why? Because I can’t honestly think of one thing I need. I stress the word “need”. In fact, I can’t think even think of one thing I “want”, except for my family to be blessed and protected. At my stage in life, I would rather help those who have very little this Christmas and bless them. It’s not that I am trying to be particularly spiritual when I say that. I have simply reached that point in my life where I understand what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote to the church in Philippi long ago. (Philippians 4:10-12 The Message):
10-14 I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.
This will be my last Blog as your Interim-Moderator. Although I officially continue in that capacity until your new minister, and my colleague and friend, Rev. Alton Ruff is inducted as your new minister, it is a good time for me to start to withdraw and reduce my footprint.
These last seventeen months with you (nineteen by the time I finish) have been wonderful, exhausting, and challenging. I have renewed old friendships and made many new friends. You have blessed my life and my ministry among you with your encouragement and support. For that I truly thank you! I pray my presence with you has been also been a blessing to you.
Have a wonderful Advent and Christmas season! May the hope, peace, love, and joy of our Saviors’ incarnation be very real to you.