We’re sending this out on Christmas Eve when most people will be celebrating with family or friends tonight or on Christmas day tomorrow. Since this is our annual Christmas newsletter we’re hoping many of you find the time to read it before Christmas day is over! We know many of you have traveled for this Christmas, and it seems almost everyone gets caught up in the hustle and bustle of visiting family and friends, eating good food and exchanging gifts.
Amidst the busyness of the day, we hope each of you takes the time to focus on the true reason we celebrate: over two thousand years ago a child was born to a young virgin in the unlikely city of Bethlehem in Judea. The angel told the shepherds watching their sheep in the hills outside of Bethlehem, “Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10,11)
We can rejoice because that baby boy was Jesus, God’s own son sent to this world to die for us and pay for the sins that separate us from God the Father. He is the Savior to all who will believe on Him and ask forgiveness for their sins. We sing a song titled “The Gift,” which contains a line that says, “put on this earth to hang upon that cross.” At Christmas we should not be celebrating because of love of our family, the food, traditions that give us warm and fuzzy feelings or anything that takes our focus off the one who was, “put on this earth to hang upon that cross.” We should celebrate that salvation came to earth in the person of Christ, and eternal life is available to those who believe in Him. That’s the message of Christmas!
Most of you know we have spent our last five winters down in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. That was the plan this year, but Cheryl’s mom’s health has deteriorated so much since we’ve been home after our summer schedule ended that we felt we needed to stay here this winter. Cheryl’s mom is suffering from multiple myeloma, and it has taken its toll the last month or so. Cheryl is currently her primary care giver, spending most, if not all of each day at her parents’ house. We would ask that you pray for Cheryl, her mom and her dad during this whole situation. Most of all, please pray that this draws Cheryl’s mom to believe on Christ as her Savior.
I know many of you are going through trials of your own this Christmas. As I was pondering my mother’s-in-law situation, it made me want to come up with something to say to everyone in this letter besides Merry Christmas, because not all things we go through are merry. Then it dawned on me that the heavenly host did not proclaim “Merry Christmas” to the shepherds on the night of Christ’s birth. What the angels did say was, “Glory to God in the highest! Peace on earth, good will to men.” The angels proclaimed peace and good will! So I want to wish you a peaceful Christmas this year. Not long after that thought came to me I checked our email and found words in one of the unread messages that I wish I could claim as mine. I hope they will speak to some of you as I pass them along.
If you are in a season of pain – physical, emotional, relational, spiritual or otherwise – this is the day the Prince of Peace entered this world. I wish you a Peaceful Christmas. Not a watered-down, new age, feel good peace that ignores or denies hardship. But a Peace that says, “I (Christ) have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – Paul Steinbrueck
So, we wish you a peaceful Christmas this year. Christ is the One who brings peace, and we hope you experience the peace only He can bring to your life. It’s our prayer you will remain focused on the realization that Christmas is all…..
Because of Christ,
Dennis and Cheryl/Ambassadors of Grace