Merry Christmas, Friend!! 🎄😄❄️❤️

Merry Christmas, Friend!! 😄

Today is a day of celebration, gathering with loved ones, special foods and giving and receiving gifts. Of course the real reason for this holiday is the birth of Jesus, the most wonderful gift ever given to us!! ❤️

In the midst of celebrating there may also be heartache, and for some this may be particularly recent and painful. Recently I've witnessed what seems to be an unusually high number of deaths, some of which were particularly surprising and saddening. It's gotten me angry at the state of the world we live in, that so many people get sick and die untimely deaths, leaving loved ones behind. (Come, Lord Jesus.) I hate that greed, sin and ignorance cause so much devastation, but I am so thankful that God knows what's going on and He hasn't left us alone without hope, that He is alive and working and preparing to right wrongs and save others from suffering as much as they would without Him. But while God is working, we have to wait and expectantly watch.

I've been inspired recently by the Amaryllis story by Christy Nockels, in which the author (Christy) tells of a particularly hard winter she went through. Christy received a gift for her birthday from her sister-in-law of the amaryllis plant and a letter, along with accompanying "amaryllis prayers" from other family and friends that loved and encouraged her to grow through her suffering, just as the amaryllis blooms in winter. As Christy looked to the plant for signs of growth she thought more about Jesus and how He too lived in less than ideal conditions, experiencing much opposition and persecution, even to the point of death on a cross, yet broke through victoriously by rising on the third day according to Old Testament prophecies. That's what we celebrate today - Jesus' birth, and ultimately, His death and resurrection by which sin and death were conquered that ALL who believe in Him will have new and eternal, abundant life (John 3:16, John 10:10); life which overcomes humanly impossible circumstances (Matthew 19:26) and continues past physical death (John 11:25).

Because Jesus has risen from death and darkness, we too have the opportunity to do the same, no matter how frozen and empty we feel. We just need to receive it by faith: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, its is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8)

I pray that this Christmas and all through the New Year God gives you hope and confidence of life eternal as you wait for His redemptive work to restore life to the way it was supposed to be. Spiritual life lasts much longer and matters much more than our physical life and health, which neither of us knows how much we have left.

I will update you on things we can look forward to in 2020 next week! :)

With His love,

Bailey (video); (words)