Whoe, this Christmas is gonna be a hard one. Almost ALL my cousins won't be able to come, unlike every Christmas when we're ALL together. So it'll be me, my lovely family and both sets of grands at their houses, extended family dotted all around town at their homes, and friends in my heart.
I've lost many family members this year. Yep, it's been a tough one. And they're not gone - they linger here long after the last good-bye. Some of the greatest men and women that ever lived! And this will be my first Christmas without them. Some people live so much life that they leave behind breaths of legacy on each and every one of us, and they are never wiped away from the hearts of those they touched. We are who we are because of who they were. I have many stories, and many memories... many pictures. And I have others in my life that will leave the same marks.
There's a list of ups and downs from this year, but I have angels watching over me (yeah, right). They're just true, true friends, and they told me to keep my head up and pray through it. So I did every time. And every single time, no matter how hopeless the situation seemed to be, when I called on Jesus and humbled myself in the sight of the Lord, begging for Him to help me, He did. I'm always welcomed at His table, and I am pierced into His heart by that spear that He took for me on Calvary. Who cares about a bullet? Christ took my spear!
Who have I taken for granted this year? Who have I taken advantage of? Are there just too many people in this world for me? What about that little boy fighting leukemia that smiles as his family sings carols to him in the hospital room? What about the amount of babies being aborted every day? Really... too many people? Thank God Momma didn't abort ME! Seriously. Have I felt that everybody's out to get me? Who am I out to get!? How many times have I gone about my day knowing some things are just ridiculous, yet I do them because I love those that I am serving? How many times have I spit in the face of those who tell me over and over again that they love me! What's it gonna take for me to believe them? Wouldn't hurt to ask yourself these questions. This year I can say and mean this more than ever: "I am blessed and God is so good." I have learned life and learned to love more in this year than all my 18 years combined. God has nourished me and tenderly brought me up, shielding me from the killer weather, yet allowing me to experience the dry spells and winter freezes. I am better for it. God is so good.
And to all you who have been cheated, lied to, picked up and shaken like a rag doll, left to fend for yourself... maybe feeling all washed out by the rains of life... All you who have spent your last resource on someone or something and are at your rope's end... All you who have had your face spit on in return for abundant love... Rejoice. And again I say, rejoice. Christ suffered the same. God is perfecting you. Peace on earth, good will toward men. The King came, and is coming back again.
So, this is Christmas. Probably the best one yet, though many loved people weren't here. I ate a LOT and didn't gain a pound (joy!) and I'm so excited to get all my presents lined up and start thank-you cards (so special!). Merry merriness to y'all and good night. May God bless you richly. If I could say one last thing, and I can, lol, it would be this:
I feel more loved every day by God my Savior. I never have to wonder if anybody loves me, and it's not just because I have a wonderful family and friends that are real friends. It's because God has a plan for me and He thinks peace, and no evil toward me. It's because He's longsuffering with my faults and He forgives me of my sins so often. He puts up with so much, and I don't know what I did to deserve to have my heart broken so often and open up to Him with so much ease. I must have somebody who loves me very much that prays for me every day. Grace has been my whole life and Love is my song. The joy of the Lord has strengthened me so that I have withstood more than I thought I could bear with God alone by my side. And I'm so sure of the Lord that I'm ready for more if there has to be more! He has answered every prayer I ever prayed, and whether it was no or yes, it was always good. And you, whoever you are, can have this too. There are no exceptions - God and His grace is free to everyone who will ask.
For God so loved the world
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.