Dear Church Family & Friends,
These last few years, when asked, “What would you like for Christmas?” I don’t really have an answer. What do I want? Not much. I have pretty much everything I want, and what I may think I want is often not terribly important.
My wants and needs have become simpler over the years, even as advertisers want to convince me otherwise. Certainly, I want and need God to continue blessing me and my family. I want relative harmony in my household. I want my family to get along with one another – or at least try their best. As I am getting a bit older, I find I want/need more down-time to restore my energy levels. I need to pay my bills, and keep those bills within my ability to pay them. These wants and needs are all being met at this time.
What do I need? I need to know that my family will all come to know Jesus; that my grandchildren will grow up to be good people and have reasonably happy and productive lives. I need to know that Andrea and I still have time to share our life together and enjoy the time we have left. I need confidence that God will care for each of these needs in His time, as He will. All of these are all beyond my control.
Speaking of beyond control, the world appears to be, and I think really is, in a state of chaos and has been for some time. The offices and institutions we have been taught to rely on have, over the last decades, become increasingly unstable and untrustworthy (or maybe they always were and we just never noticed). The standards by which we once ordered our lives have become so relativistic that, in reality, they are no longer standards, but moving targets: targets we move to match our personal actions and desires. Too many people, of all nations and all cultures, have become paralyzed; unable to move forward with their lives because they have no direction and no security.
So, where do we find the confidence and the peace of mind to move about in the midst of uncertainty and relativism? God, through Isaiah, has given us the answer:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” (Isaiah 9:6a)
What I want and need is the confidence to know – deep-down – that God has everything in His hands. That His plan of redemption and reconciliation is secure and will come to pass. That is the gift God gave us on that night in Bethlehem: “a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” All you could ever want or need.
Merry Christmas in God’s Grace,