“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (Dec. ’16 Newsletter)

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” or so the beloved Christmas song goes.  And for many that is a very true statement.  I love this time of year, although, I am still having to get used to the summer like temperatures (at least for this TN guy) around the holidays.  It is hard to believe that this will be Kelley and I’s third Christmas season here in NM, but it is. 

While I say that I love this time of year, and I do agree with the song I quoted above, I also realize that this is not always the most wonderful time of the year for many.  For those that do not have family to spend time with, or that have family too far away to get to spend time with, it can be a depressing time of year as well.  Believe me, I get that so much, because as much as I love this time of year, it is hard knowing that Kelley and I will not be spending it with our families either in OH or TN.

Then there are those that just recently lost a loved one.  Holidays are really tough in those situations.  In fact, I was reminded of that talking to Kell’s mom on Thanksgiving Day.  Her father passed away in December of 2014, and Kell’s mom was telling us that she spent almost two hours on the phone with her mom on Thanksgiving Day, because the holiday season is still tough on her not having her husband.

Another reminder of how tough this season can be sometimes is going on right now as I type these words.  I am not sure how many of you are following what is going on in my home state, but Gatlinburg, TN and surrounding areas have been severely damaged by some out of control forest fires.  In fact, just a couple of nights ago, Gatlinburg residents faced a mandatory evacuation, while hundreds of homes, cabins, and business were burned to the ground.  My family is all safe (they live about an hour and a half from Gatlinburg), but there are thousands that have lost everything, right before Christmas.  The town is a home away from home for so many that I know from East TN and OH as well.  I have spent many weekends in the Gatlinburg area in my youth as well.  To say the situation is devastating is an understatement.

I write all of the above for one simple reason.  While I love this time of year, it is a hard time of year for many.  We are reminded of family members that are gone now, and miss the family members and friends that we are not able to spend time with during the holidays. 

Whether this is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” for you, or it is a difficult reminder of those that are either gone too soon or too far away to spend time with, I want to remind you of one simple truth that we should all hold on to: This is the time of year that we set aside to celebrate the coming of the greatest gift this world has ever seen, and that is the birth of Jesus Christ!

While this is probably not the real date of His birth, this is when we choose to celebrate and remember that Jesus sat aside His glory and divinity in Heaven, and chose to become human.  John records this in a beautiful way in John 1:14; “14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  Whether you are hurting or celebrating during this season, hold on to the fact that Jesus came, and He came for you and me!

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