Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas 2016

It is that time once again that can bring us to such glorious highs & lows. Our memories that occasionally visit during the year seem to arrive at a precipice for the Holiday season. Many of those memories are bitter sweet. Last night, as I sat home waiting on my wonderful wife, Julie, with our new addition for this Christmas, Teke- I had the overwhelming desire to pick up the phone & call my Mom. She has been gone now for over three years & that is one of the things I miss most. A simple phone conversation.

Christmas has often been a very low point in my life. There was a time when I truly hated Christmas. The broken/failed relationships. The dreams that never materialized. The many failures. The many bad choices I made. The unfairness of this life. I have a story I wrote long ago that I hope a publisher says yes to one day that the main character leaves before Thanksgiving & stays in a small cabin in the mountains away from everyone until after the first of the year. I never did that but I wanted too.

I remember those days & though I am grateful today to enjoy Christmas. Julie with her childlike excitement brings so much to the season & my life-as well as family & the wonderful friends God has blessed me with. Still, I don't want to lose sight of the people who struggle mightily at this time of year just as I once did. 

We are also blessed to be part of a dynamic church. Lifepoint Church in Wilmington, NC. This weekend we have three Christmas Eve services. One on Friday night & two on Saturday afternoon. All the services are the same.  Julie will be part of the worship team. I will be serving at the booth for first time guests.

I realize that of my own wisdom, my knowledge, that I have little to offer. What I ask of God, particularly for this season is for me to be aware of the people who walk into church-maybe for the only time this year. Those that are beaten up by life. Those that are weary & want a new way. Those that are truly alone. Those that desperately need some hope..some encouragement. I ask of God to lead & help me encourage them. To be quiet & listen to their stories. We all have one.

Initially, I did not plan to serve for three services but as I thought about it--what an honor it is. To remember my struggles & hopefully help others with more than just information about our wonderful church.

It is way to easy for people to get caught up in thinking about what they have to offer. I have nothing but as my team leader, Randy, so aptly put it when I shared these feelings last week. "But we can make ourselves available." And in the process my hope is that I can do & be what our Pastor Jeff Kapusta taught earlier this month.

"My purpose is to illuminate Jesus."

Merry Christmas