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Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

Good day Ladies. It will be Christmas Eve in a week!

Today is to update you on the past couple of weeks. First of all, India and Zachary flew into Pittsburgh to visit India’s surgeon for the pre-operation appointment. Her surgeon feels confident that she can help India and intends to perform a procedure laparoscopically early January. It may be that the surgery will become more invasive should the need arise. Thank you for praying for India and I ask you not to forget to pray for Lois either. Lois has ulcerative colitis too, but it has not reached the stage that India’s did.

Most of you know that I fractured my right foot a few days after Thanksgiving while enjoying the snow in Pennsylvania. Healing has been nothing short of miraculous in my estimation. One of my greatest struggles has been avoiding overdoing. Wanting to avoid prolonging recovery time is a great incentive in doing what I should. 

This has been a year of difficulties for the world. Those of us that have the Saviour have an opportunity to spread joy and peace this season, the kind that only comes from a secure relationship with Jesus Christ. How can we be so happy? It is the grace of God that we lay hold on as each day begins. We do it on purpose. We choose joy that is made possible through the Saviour of the World. 

Recently I spoke with a friend that I saw shortly before Thanksgiving. She showed me the room she was preparing to celebrate Christmas in with the ladies of her church. What a labor of love. Respecting concerns about social distancing while celebrating friendships and a shared Saviour. Her excitement was contagious!  Oh how I wanted to join them on my way back to Florida. My schedule placed me in Ohio that weekend; my reality placed me in the backseat of a car returning to Florida with a fractured foot.  

My friend, Renee, called me shortly before the party. The caterer cancelled due to “the virus” catching her. We prayed as she sought solutions that came in remarkable ways. The evening was a complete success and surely, balm for the ladies of this sweet church in South Carolina. 

Having food catered on short notice during Christmas would have been a near impossibility.  Aren’t we glad? With God, all things are possible!

I dub Renee as one of my “merry heart friends.”  These are the kind of women that I want to be, a woman that finds good in difficult situations. She trusts God to work things out for good and has a testimony of grace and peace for every trial.  Because of her faith, she is never far from a hearty laugh or encouraging word. Could you be considered a “merry heart friend?”  You would be the kind of woman others like to be around! 

Let me end this chat with an encouragement to pray for families. Logically, we would think that during this time of pandemic and related chaos, that families would have pulled together; you know, me and you against the world. Surely some did, but other homes are crumbling. Recently, on the same day I heard of 3 families that are making plans to dissolve their lives together despite commitments made not too many years ago to love until parted by death. Each of these families has at least one child.  As I heard of the 3rd family that was giving up, I was nauseous. How can it be? Marriage is extremely difficult, but so is life. God ordained marriage to enhance our lives. I do not want to sound overly simplistic. I know something about marriage and I know about family. I know about dying to my own dreams and I know about the blessings that come from genuine sacrifice. I would do it all again; no. I would give more than I did if I could do it over. 

Think about the holy family we celebrate this time of year. They endured more obstacles than most of us ever will. It would have seemed easier to “jump ship” in many instances as this family became one. They made what we might refer to as supreme sacrifices in honor and obedience to God and to each other. Because of Mary and Joseph’s commitments to God and to their family the world is blessed. Who can know to what extent God desires to bless the world through our families if we will allow it, if we will hang in and hang on when the going gets tough. In fact, what we have to hang on to is the Spirit of God given to us because of the mysterious and marvelous Incarnation born in a stable. 

During this Christmas season, consider the family of Bethlehem. Experience the love shown there with your own family by purposing to strengthen your commitment to them. Study your loved ones in wonder. Why has God given them to your life? What is God’s plan for your own little family? 

Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus.  N. Maxwell