December 15, 2011Dear Friends:
Have you ever noticed how things often take longer than anticipated? That has been the case with our book Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides. I was sure I would be wrapping copies as Christmas gifts. I held off sending out this newsletter because I wanted to tell you how to order your copy. However, it will probably be another month before the books arrive. But it is all in God’s hands. In his time, we will birth a book. In the meantime, let us focus on the birth of our Savior.
I have such special Christmas memories. When I was small, I would be drying dishes with my big sisters on Christmas Eve, and we would suddenly hear bells jingling, then a knock. There stood Santa, wearing a red-and-black checked coat, just like my big brother’s. Slung over his back was a burlap sack stuffed with presents. I always got a doll. I loved dolls.
I made an important decision one Christmastime. Living on a farm, I had always recognized God in nature. Surely he created that aurora borealis, sent the rain to swell those strawberries and protected us when the thunder rolled and the huge oak trees swayed in the wind. But I was not so sure about his son Jesus. If he really was God’s son, why did he have to suffer and die? Couldn’t God have worked out our salvation some other way?
Then I read a book that told how the author talked to God about the big and little details of life. I had not considered God to be so personally interested. I knew the rules of living like a Christian, but such a relationship with God intrigued me.
The year I turned 30 I made an important decision. I sat down by our twinkling Christmas tree and told God I was through analyzing and questioning things I didn’t understand. I was ready to experience this relationship I’d been reading about. I told him I believed Jesus was his Son who came and died for our sins and rose again to prove his victory over death.
That decision changed my life. I developed a hunger to understand God’s Word, and as I studied I learned more about the holiness of God and my own sinfulness. I realized that I would never be able to come into his Presence on my own merit, no matter how “good” I was. I finally understood the need for Christ to die for us. I am a slow learner, so even in my senior years, I continue to learn and grow. And that’s the exciting thing about living as a Christian—there’s always more to learn. As soon as you master one concept or behavior or experience, another challenge pops up. It is exciting.
I don’t know if anyone else has wrestled with the same questions I pondered, but I do know all of us ask questions along life’s faith journey. May I suggest that Christmas is a wonderful time to ask questions of God and to find rest and peace in his answers.
May you and your loved ones enjoy a Blessed Christmas.
Shirley will be speaking on “Passing on Your Legacy” as follows:
January 17, 11:30 a.m. - Pottsville Christian Women's Club.
January 17, 6:30 p.m. - Reading Women's Connection.
January 18, 11:30 a.m. - Reading Christian Women's Club #1.
January 19, 9:15 a.m. - Reading Christian Women's Club #2.
January 19, 6:30 p.m. - Kutztown Women's Connection.