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Faith, Family, and Christmas
As a guy whose faith is the central guiding force for my life, the Christmas season is one of the most important times of the year for me. I find few moments more moving than the couple of minutes at the end of the annual Christmas Eve service, when the faces of my family are lit dimly by the flickering candles they hold in front of them as the congregation sings “Silent Night”. Standing in the crowd in the midst of this beautiful scene, I’m usually overcome with profound feelings of peace and gratitude, along with an unusually strong connection to the Holy Spirit. focus throughout the holidays. But beyond a celebration of His many gifts, Christmas is the ideal time to come together with family and enjoy one another’s company. This year, we’re having our first fully-multigenerational Christmas gathering at my house. In addition to the holiday regulars (our six kids and two grandchildren), both sets of our parents will be joining with my brother, my sister, and their families, who live in Kansas and Iowa. To say it will be a full house is a bit of an understatement; all told, there should be 27 of us, if I’ve done my math right. To accommodate this crew, I’ve rented out a bunch of rooms at the Embassy Suites a couple of miles down the road from our house, so at least the We certainly try to keep Jesus’ birth, the true reason for the season, our primary
older folks can get a little break from the younger folks (who will be staying at our house) when they need to! We are thrilled to be welcoming everyone into our home. Especially with my wife’s parents and my own, who are getting up in age, we know the number of opportunities for Christmases spent together are dwindling as the years go quickly by. I feel deeply blessed that we’re all able to set aside our busy schedules, break bread together, relax, and catch up. For some of my family, it’ll be their first visit to Little Rock, so we’ll definitely take time to explore and show off some of the beautiful scenery and outdoor activities around town, weather permitting. One tradition that is important to me happens before we exchange presents on Christmas day. Everybody sits down, and I read the Christmas story from Luke Chapter 2. Though we’re all only human, we really try not to lose focus by getting too carried away with all the gifts and commercial trappings that inevitably accompany the holiday. Having said that, I’m sure our two young grandkids, who are 2 and 3, will be spoiled beyond belief, again! After all, everybody likes to receive a small token of a loved one’s appreciation. But what’s more important to us is being thankful for the abundant love with which we’ve already been blessed, especially in these relationships we’ve maintained and strengthened throughout the
years. I just feel incredibly fortunate we can all still get together to celebrate — because I know, unfortunately, for various reasons, not every family can enjoy and share in the spirit of Christmas together. For me, it’s all about faith and family, in that order. Bathed in candlelight in the hallowed chambers of the church, worshipping our Savior beside those I love most, I can’t think of anything more meaningful. I hope you have a blessed Christmas, and you also experience God’s love in a personal way this season. After all, everybody likes to receive a small token of a loved one’s appreciation. But what’s more important to us is being thankful for the abundance with which we’ve already been blessed.
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