This will be my last newsletter to you this year. I've prayed about what message to share. Many will be too busy to open this up and read it, but for those who are enjoying a moment of calm in the Christmas rush, I have a few encouraging words for you.
My blogs this month have been about keeping sanity in Christmas. I hope you'll read them at the end of this note. I haven't always been a sane person during this time of year, but God has helped me over the years to keep my mind, energy, and emotions focused on Jesus. I hope that I can mentor anyone struggling with this season, and you'll be encouraged to do the same.
Family and relationships take priority!
I just got off the phone with a friend making an emergency trip to be with her sister in the hospital. My friend said she's always redecorated her entire house during Christmas, but this year the boxes are still in the corner and when she returns, she'll have her husband take them back to the garage.
The angel replied to Mary, "'What's more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.'" A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth." Luke 1:35-36, 39 NLT
Embrace the unexpected
. Elderly, pregnant Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, wasn't expecting her pregnant, teenage, unmarried relative to show up at her door. But when she saw Mary, she exclaimed, "When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said." Luke 1:44-45 NLT
Comforting your friend or relative who calls or shows up at your doorstep is more important than making Christmas cookies or getting your Christmas cards out on time.
Trust God's Plans.
Mary certainly didn't plan on carrying the Savior of the world or delivering him in a dirty manger surrounded by animals. But we're never told of her complaining, only that, "Mary responded, 'I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true.'" Luke 1:38 NLT
You may have plans that go awry because of illness, weather, other people's plans, finances . . . but Christmas is God's one and only Son's birthday, and somehow someway He will work it all for good. "Jesus looked at them intently and said, 'Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.'" Matthew 19:26 NLT
Seek help if you're hurting or seek a hurting person
. This may be the "season" when you desperately need a mentor who understands what you're feeling or going through. Or you know God has put someone in your life who needs you to mentor them. Many people are lonely, confused, or maybe going through a first Christmas without a loved one. Don't let the "have-to's" overshadow the "you need to's."
"Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home."
Sharing the story, love, and compassion of Jesus is the best gift you can receive or give to someone this year.
"The angel replied, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you [Mary], and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.'"
Luke 1:35 NLT
Merry CHRISTmas and a blessed New Year!