Sunday, December 25, 2011

UNIQUE

Christmas 2011


Christmas in the West is all about traditions.  Families expect Christmas this year to be a whole lot like last year's ... and the year before and the year before that.  Sure, life brings change.  Kids grow up, get married, have children of their own.  But often those traditions of childhood follow them into adulthood.  Bottom line?  The beginning, middle, and end of Christmas is Jesus.  Without Him it would be just another holiday.


Christmas Day this year was unique.  It began cold and dark for Pam and me.  We were preparing ourselves for the day by 4 AM.  We had spent the night at my parent's house.  Our kids were all with extended family and we grasped the opportunity to be with my mother, father and oldest sister Christmas Eve.  My sister played the piano for the singing of Christmas Carols and my father, age 89, sang a Christmas song he wrote the words to as Pam and I thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas Eve service at their church.  Yes, my dad writes lyrics and poems ... I'm not sure of the exact distinction between them.  You can read a poem he wrote and recited at last year's program at the end of this blog.


With Matt on Christmas Day in the visiting room
Pam and I didn't drag ourselves out of bed so early in order to do some last minute wrapping of presents or to prepare some traditional food eaten on this special day.  Instead we escaped the cold air by diving into Pam's care and drove four hours east of Portland to put our names, along with about 70 other visitors, on a sheet of paper that would allow us to enter the prison in Pendleton, Oregon.  It was the first day that Matt, our friend, had any visitors on Christmas Day in 6 years, the entire time that he has been incarcerated.  It's a very challenging six weeks that Matthew endures every year between Thanksgiving and New Years.  He has two sons and two daughters and he doesn't get to see them or talk with them.  Prison has surrendered some traditions of its own for him.  It seemed that the Lord wanted us to make his Christmas this year a little unique.  Our time of fellowship evaporated too fast for all of us and by noon Pam and I were back in the car driving four hours to our home.  It was the seasonal music on the radio, the light traffic, and closed businesses that reminded us that it was Christmas Day.


Now I sit here in my office 16 hours after I woke this morning ... striking the keys on my laptop ... thanking Jesus for the gifts He gives us on His birthday.  I have opened so many presents from Him throughout the year.  I'm so thankful for the relationships I have with family and friends.  Corny as it may sound ... every day is Christmas for me.  This Christmas Day was unique.  I have no regrets for how it was spent.  I wouldn't return any of the gifts I've received this day.


Merry Christmas to each of you from Pam and me.


Twas the Week Before Christmas
by JQ Hunter


Twas the week before Christmas and all through the town
People were running and dashing around
Santa and holly and tinsel were everywhere
But search as you may Jesus was not there


I thought of the purpose of this marvelous day
How God in His grace had planned a way
To rescue His people and bring them back in
By providing a Savior to pay for their sin


But is seemed that Santa had usurped the throne
Though not by design or plan of his own
From beginning of time Satan had a plan
That would attract, deceive, and destroy man


Yet things are not always what they appear
And those who trust Jesus need never fear
For God in His sovereign grace alone
Will see Jesus placed upon His throne


So if you question celebrations on this day
Don't fret child of God, He will have His way
Some day all the kingdoms of man will fall
And Jesus will be acknowledged Lord of all!


The celebration is planned but the time is not now
God will bring it to pass though we know not how
The cradle and the cross will be exchanged for a throne
And Jesus as Lord will be fully known

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