Hi! Praying that you had a blessed Christmas! I had thought I’d be able to post something for Christmas Day, but . . . ha! So, here is something from J of Jerusalem, for Christmas. God bless.
Christmas. The time selected to celebrate the birth of Messiah into the world…Light into darkness…Hope into hopelessness…Life into death…Salvation come! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been caught short…taking it ‘lightly’; a fact that I have become ‘used to’: He came…He saved me from certain death and from living death…He filled me with His Spirit and gave me new life…and He called me to come and follow Him. How could I EVER loose the wonder…the first love? But I have. It is NOT ‘the wonder of Christmas’, but the wonder of Christ…Messiah… that is to never loose its newness. Christmas, with all of its cultural trappings, WAS a tool that drew me back to that wonder. I SO never wanted the celebration (that was never a part of my child hood or experience) to become something worldly and material, and so I ‘worked at it’ each year. I loved the carols that were so full of truth and that we could sing freely, even on street corners and in stores! I PRAY that your celebrations are fully centered on Him and in His Presence. I know for so many Christmas is disappointing and a pagan celebration of ‘stuff’ and, dare I say, nonsense (Santa Clause!)…but if it can be another TOOL to remind us of the impossible miracle…our salvation as unworthy as we are…well…I pray that you will find that this year as the opportunity is before you.
HERE IT IS DIFFERENT. I have shared so many times, over the years, that there IS no ‘Christmas’ here. I STILL get at least one email every year asking, incredulously, ‘is it TRUE that Jews don’t celebrate Christmas and that it isn’t a holy day there? Why???’ Since Chanuka came so early this year, the festive feeling is not in the air anymore. He comes silently…but it is in a violent world that doesn’t want Him that we must look for Him…and look AT Him. The night before last there was a murder and a woman critically wounded: it was two believers! The story broke in the news in a patchy manner; Two women were out hiking (NOT in disputed territories, but in ‘Israel proper’) – one was a tour guide, an immigrant from England and the other, her friend, an American Christian currently living in England working for a ministry. They were approached by 2 Arabs who asked if they had water. When they left the tour guide told her friend that there was something ‘not right’ and they needed to get out of there, but almost immediately they were attacked with knives. The tour guide was stabbed 12 times but played dead. The tourist screamed and screamed…and was killed. The tour guide is doing amazingly well and is to be released soon from hospital, but the body is asking for prayer for her to deal with the trauma victoriously. HOWEVER…word has gotten out that they were believers and ‘opinions’ are flying;…’missionaries! Aren’t they ILLEGAL?’ – ‘Maybe it WASN’T Arabs, but maybe it was anti missionaries’ – ‘Two unmarried women and one comes back? Ah ha!…’ Hearing the rumors fly, the vicious ones and simply the ‘speculations’ remind me that we live in a world so alienated from Truth. It is wonderful that Light reveals Truth. May The Lord teach my mouth to be silent until it can speak TRUTH!
Christmas. As I explained a number of times before, the body here is quite divided about the subject, so it is a ‘we won’t ask and you won’t tell’ policy concerning those who celebrate Christmas and those who don’t. People whisper apologetically one to another ‘…uh…do you do anything special for Christmas? Would you like to do it together?’ And, yes, there ARE a variety of things to ‘do’ here. There are some, granted, amazing concerts…Handel’s Messiah in many languages. Some things are lovely…but very few are offerings to Him…As the wise men brought offerings to Him, living here gives us a new opportunity, perhaps, to really bring Him a gift, for we aren’t bound by cultural expectations. If we CHOOSE to say ‘Yes, I want to join with the body world wide and take this season to specially meditate on His birth’, why…we can do it in any way that we please! And what better way then to bring Him a gift!
So in the midst of terror attacks, lies and speculation, heat and dry blasts of wind instead of rain (yes, I’m afraid our one drenching rain has given way to dry heat again), uncertainties, stresses, work demands and family demands and practical demands…I WANT to give Him a gift. I don’t know what that will be yet, but I will endeavor to listen and to hear what would bless Him. And that is my prayer for you as well.
Thank you for continuing to ask about my husband’s recovery and each of our situations. My husband is slowly increasing strength. The dr. told him yesterday that it will be another month (a full 3) before he is back to regular activities. It is a testing time. We waited for 3 hours on Sunday to see the orthopedic trauma specialist. He seemed to have a nervous breakdown (overwork) just about the time he finally took us…and he walked off the job! It was, uh… well…’another Israeli experience’ that perhaps I will write about another time. It added to some of my husband’s frustration. He has tried to do a bit of work, but it has been too hard on him so far. Three months of no work has been stretching in many ways. He is faithful! Our older daughter is due to give birth in Feb and has been overdoing it with the move that they must make this coming week. Our son in law needed to be out of the country once again for his work and that left her with packing. Our Grandson continues to demonstrate some worrying problems and that brings her great grief, so I do appreciate prayer for all of them, and for her emotional and spiritual health during this time ahead as well. Our younger daughter is still doing well at her job in the botanical garden nursery, but is concerned that at 29 her life is not going anywhere…and she is still living at home. She does need prayer…I thank you for your prayers for our family to finally glorify Him! Victory is His, and it is all from Him and for His glory.
You are a gift to me. Together we are His body. What a WONDER! May He be glorified and blessed in us and may He find us truly worshipping for He is worthy! Yeshua h’Meshiach! King of kings and Lord of Lords!