Happy Thanksgiving! Today we get to live, laugh and love with those that are dear to us. May we not miss the opportunity to let them know just how much they mean to us. And may we never forget the fact that all that we are blessed with comes from a Heavenly Father that loves us and gives us all good gifts! Happy Thanksgiving from the Petermanns!
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Well, Merry Christmas!
I have said those words many times to many different people. Sometimes not even really thinking about what they represent.
Oh, I know that Christmas is all about Jesus and His taking on flesh to be born into this world. It’s not that I forget the concept. But I do overlook just what that means at times.
Advent was certainly a time that people were looking for hope, peace, joy and love. Christmas is certainly a time that we laugh and love and celebrate. We get together with family and friends and enjoy getting and receiving gifts. As I type this now, I still have one young enough to have gone to bed believing that a happy fat man in a red suit will soon bring her gifts. (And he did!) Her anticipation of Christmas is for the the fun and gifts and the time that will be spent with family – hope, peace, joy and love.
And that is good.
But I am struck this year with what was anticipated that first Christmas. It was not gifts or celebration. It was not time with family and friends. And it was not eggnog!
Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”
The first Christmas was marked by a people that were longing for an escape from the darkness and despair of their condition. They longed for a light to shine in their lives; for hope, peace, joy and love.
And boy, did that light shine!
Jesus was born. The Messiah. The light, not only to Israel, but to all nations. That light broke through the darkness and lit up the landscape so that people could see their way to God.
That, my friends, is Christmas. It is The Light piercing the darkness, making a way for us to a God Who loves us. A God Who loves us so much, that He wrapped Himself in flesh to be with us and to show us His great love by dying for us so the darkness of our sin could be overcome.
I pray you know that love this Christmas!
So, Merry Christmas!
Thankful today for so many things… We take so much taken for granted in our day to day lives. It is in moments of quiet and purposeful thought that we really understand just how blessed we are. I am grateful for this holiday that purposely makes us stop and think about giving thanks; about how much we really have. I have to believe it would help us if every day we would give thanks a bit before heading out the door.
- I am thankful for a God that loves me so much that He pursues me. I am daily made aware of my inability to do anything that would make Him stand up and take notice of me, yet He still chooses to because of His love for me.
- I am thankful for my wife. She extends me a lot of grace as I strive to love her well. She is my best friend.
- I am thankful for my children and grandchildren. They are a source of joy and bring a lot of laughter to our home. They are pretty good kids too!
- I am thankful for parents that loved me, taught me about Jesus and put me in a place where I could come to know Him.
- I am thankful for the calling to be a pastor. I am not sure why God chose me, but He did, and I cannot think of anything I would rather do.
- I am thankful for the mentors that I have had in my life. Men like Bruce Humbert and Richard Boland have had a huge impact in my life both practically and spiritually. There are many others that have poured in to me. May I do the same for others.
- I am thankful for my church. This week marks 2 years that I have pastored Christ Community Church. I am blessed to pastor this group of people that love Jesus and love people and have a great desire to see life change happen in our community. They are a joy to lead!
I am glad that we have this day. A day to be together with family and friends, to enjoy good food and even to watch football. May this day also serve to remind us of a God that has blessed us with more than we ever deserve!