Christmas as a child was a time that made it easy to believe in a silent night. With the warm glow of the tree I could imagine a baby away in a manger, a small family seeking solace from the night while angels sang in the sky. The world seemed to slow for me as a child during the week of Christmas. School was out, family gathered near, snow would softly fall, and nothing was better than the broadcast Christmas Specials of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and A Charlie Brown Christmas Special. I can still quote those characters and run the scenes in my head.
Somewhere along the ages of my life, I lost the belief. The warmth of Christmas that was joy, peace, and hope, somehow was robbed from my life by the urgency of profession, success, and my endless search of happiness. Christmastime just turned into a list of obligations, bills, and uncomfortable days of over-indulgence.
I pray that this Christmas is the start of something new. While I am hyper aware of the state of the world, I have again caught sight of the message of that baby that came into the world on that night, shattering the silence... God proclaiming that He had returned to take back what was stolen. Yes, peace, joy, and hope have come back.
My children have helped me rediscover the magic as I experience it again as I watch them, unafraid to embrace the goodness in life, basking in the glow and accepting gifts with open arms. I am reminded of how great is the gift we all received when God came down to reclaim us as His own.
Aleksandra has wanted a bunny for two years. This Christmas she got her wish. I have so much to learn from her response. This time is a special time. I have no doubt that we will all look back on this year as a highlight of our life. Kellie and I have been married 20 years, we're nearing three years in country as missionaries, our kids are fifteen, twelve, and (nearly) five. We are drawing deep at the well of life. This life is rich. I wrap my arms desperately to the God that gives it.
There is so much that my ambition wants to achieve... so much undone... sometimes I feel overwhelmed. But, today I again learn to rest. To remember. And... to enjoy a good sword fight. Yes, the force is strong with this little one. Check out her Yoda move.
For today, we reflect on our God, his gifts of joy, peace, and hope. I believe.