Jani: Hello, everyone, and a very Merry Christmas to you. Can you believe it’s Christmas week already? Oh my. I want to leave our discipleship series for this week and give you a short Christmas greeting from our home to yours.
A New Christmas
Jani: I wonder what your Christmas will look like this year. Now that Ray and I are serving full time at Renewal Ministries and Ray is no longer leading a church as their senior pastor, we are free to travel to spend Christmas with our children. All our kids live very far away from us. We live in Franklin, Tennessee and our oldest son teaches Hebrew at Oak Hill in London. Our daughter and her family live in Wheaton, Illinois and our next son is a pastor in Naperville. Our youngest child is a boy and he pastors a church in Ojai, California. So this week, we are traveling to Ojai, there in Southern California to spend this Christmas with our fourth child, Gavin and his amazing wife, Esther. Plus, we also get to enjoy their young children, four of our grandchildren. Isaiah, Naomi, Elijah and Miriam. Oh, we can’t wait. It’s been so long since we visited them.
Jani: But this will be different for us. After so many years of waking up in our own home on Christmas morning. We will still enjoy some of our favorite Christmas traditions before we leave. Like going to our little town’s old movie theater to watch on the big screen “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Oh, we love that movie at Christmas.
Jani: Oh and also the tradition of carefully putting out all 22 of our Dickens Village pieces along with the coordinating figures and accessories. Oh, we love that. Put it on our mantel and our bookshelves and our piano.
Jani: We also send out many Christmas cards. I wish I could send one to each one of you. If you want one. Send me your address.
Jani: I do wonder what your Christmas will look like this year. This is a new time for us indeed. And you know what? It’s a new time for you too or maybe someone you know. We have a friend, Rose, who is experiencing a new Christmas this year. When for the first time ever, she’s spending Christmas here in Franklin, Tennessee instead of going home. She decided not to travel from Nashville to California to spend Christmas with her extended family as she has every other year. She decided that well, Nashville is her home now and she would like to spend Christmas here. And much to our delight, she graciously offered to look after our beloved black labrador, Nixie, while we’re gone visiting Gavin. That is such a gift to us. Oh, thank you, Rose, if you’re listening.
Jani: So as you can see, this is a new time for us, a new Christmas for us. A new time for Rose, a new Christmas for her. And it’s also a new time for you. You’ve never lived this Christmas before. You are at a new place in your life. We all are. So much has happened to us all since last Christmas. Now the truths of Christmas aren’t new. They were established before the foundation of the world. The story of Christmas itself is more than 2000 years old. But for Ray and me, for Rose, and for you, for each person celebrating Christmas this year, this Christmas season is brand new.
Jani: So let’s not be occupied and overwhelmed with the usual. Absorbed by all the details and even burdens that the season can sometimes bring. I love how Isaiah says in Isaiah 60:1,
“Arise [Get up, Jani], Shine [Be radiant, Jani], for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”Isaiah 60:1
Jani: At Christmas, we’re reminded that our light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon us. Let the light of this new Christmas radiate in you and through you. And may he restore your soul with a very Merry Christmas.