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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

So the King came to His own people, but most of them did not receive Him. Still, to all those who did receive Him, the ones who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God. (Adapted from John 1:11-12)

What strikes us about the Christmas story as we review it this year is the dailyness of life for the human characters in it. The shepherds were shepherding. The families were traveling back home for the census. The streets were teeming with activity as buying and selling continued. Even worship was going on uninterrupted. All the while, God Himself was in their vicinity–but for most people nearby, daily life got in the way of finding Him. 

The calendar may place the events 2000 years ago, but life today is much the same. We made that observation as we reviewed our calendar for 2017. Ministry is the major element of our months. Prepare for worship, rehearse for worship, plan worship, do worship (and for Mom, file it all away after each service). We love this ministry, and we work hard to keep it fresh each week. Yet, the temptation of the Bethlehemites is our temptation. In our work for Him, do we truly receive the King? Or does the dailyness of life occupy us to the point of missing God Himself in our vicinity? That is our struggle these days, and we suspect yours as well.

Our year was full of marvelous moments. Concerts and meals with dear friends. Celebrations of life and memorial services for fellow worshippers (and even some of our beloved choir members) who graduated to heaven’s choir. An August afternoon drive through the old neighborhoods where we worshipped years ago.

Julie’s publishing work was meaningful. Just before the year began, she released a beautiful four-color Christmas book titled And There Were in That Same Country. Then she published an audio blog/ebook/print edition of readings for caregivers titled Pressed Into Care. She spoke and Joyce led worship for a women’s retreat, and she Skyped a TV interview with a Canadian Christian station where she’s been a guest several times before.

The biggest news was our July cruise to Alaska on the Charles Stanley ministry tour. The high point was when Dr. Stanley stood just feet from us, with every window filled by the majestic glacier (seen above), and read the creation account from Genesis. Then Mike Speck took the mike, and the ship rang out as folks on every deck sang with him: How Great Thou Art. That was a moment when God’s presence was palpable. Even dailyness couldn’t keep us from seeing evidence of Him in that place. 

We pray more moments like these for you–and for us–in 2018.

So, Treasured Friend, we send you much love and send up toward our loving Father in Heaven many prayers for your heavy load to be lightened by the Christ whose load is easy and whose burden is light.


Julie & Mom

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