December 2017

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign for ever and ever.’” Revelation 11:15

Dear Friends,

I feel like my heart is overflowing with emotions. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. The memories! The music! The sweet aroma of Christmas baking! The candles and decorations! These are all the things that make Christmas, right?

I have had to adjust my thinking over the years to make Christmas traditions in other locations. Amsterdam was easy enough with similar traditions to my Swedish heritage. In Thailand, we learned that it’s ok to put up a Christmas tree in shorts and bare feet. Since leaving Thailand 13 years ago, my family has gone through many other transitions. My children have all left home, one at a time. Now that Tod and I are married, we still seem to be searching for new traditions.

But are these traditions what make Christmas? If we strip away all the presents, all the lights, all the feasting, with what are we left?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

A local pastor here visited a country in SE Asia recently and had the opportunity to go to a remote people group who not only had never heard that there is a God who loves them, they did not even have a word for “God”.

I have been reading a new book by a missionary who is attending our church this year while on furlough. He and his wife have brought a literacy program to a tribe in Papua New Guinea who previously did not know how to read the Bible in their own language. They have seen lives transformed as people are now able to read God’s Word themselves.

At our last retreat this year, my mom and I talked to the ladies about the recent funeral for the late king of Thailand. We spoke of how different it is to live in a kingdom rather than the republic we have here in the US. So these are my rambling thoughts today. Christmas is only Christmas because The King of all kings planned from the time He created the earth to send His Son to take the punishment for our sins.

“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-8

This is Christmas. Jesus is the King who came as an infant, submitted Himself to the punishment of death that we deserved, rose again to life, and will come again as the King who will reign forever.
The theme of our retreats next year will be ‘Seeking the King’. In any relationship, we can always come closer, know someone better or more. Jesus invites us to seek Him and come closer to Him.

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” James 4:8

I encourage you all to take time to seek the soon-returning King above all kings and come closer to Him!

Merry Christmas!

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