Gene and I celebrated Christmas early with our kids and grandchildren, but we’d still planned to drive five hours on Saturday to spend the weekend with our eldest daughter and her husband in Washington state. Plans changed when a tummy bug knocked me flat on Friday (hence, no blog that day).
Thankfully I’d recovered enough by Sunday morning so that we could attend church. What a lovely service it was! The theme focused on four key words: hope, peace, joy, and love. Between carols, one senior woman and three families shared testimonies to illustrate how these words had become reality to them.
The elderly woman spoke of how she came to faith in Jesus as a young girl, and how she experienced His presence throughout her life. Now she has lung cancer and doctors have given her less than six months to live. She doesn’t know what the future holds, but Christ gives her hope.
One couple with two young sons told about their health challenges during 2016. A couple of months after the wife was diagnosed with MS, doctors diagnosed the husband with rectal cancer. He’s now cancer-free following treatment, but they’re still dealing with her MS. They don’t know what the future holds, but Christ gives them peace.
A family with four teenagers told about a challenge they faced for about 14 months. They sold their house in early 2015, but the real estate market went crazy at the same time and prices skyrocketed before they could find a different place to live. The parents and two youngest kids ended up living in a basement suite, and the two older boys lived next door with another family. They told how difficulty taught them that joy isn’t dependent on circumstances but on trust that Christ is sovereign and faithful.
Then the last family took its place on the stage. The husband told about coming to faith in Christ and the role his wife played in his conversion (they weren’t married at the time). Ten years and a brief failed marriage later, the Lord brought them together as husband and wife and blessed them with their children—two biological kids and an adopted daughter from Vietnam. Their story portrayed a beautiful picture of God’s redemptive love.
Hope. Peace. Joy. Love.
These four words aptly describe what Christmas is meant to celebrate, and all because God—in His desire for relationship with us—chose to become man and dwell among us. Because of what He’s done, these four words can become reality for us—not just during this celebration season but every day of the year.
How have they become reality for you in 2016?