Merry Christmas Dear Readers!
I have been deeply longing to write to each of you. To throw my words around you like a big Christmas hug from an old friend who has been missing you. I wish I could give each of you a gift that would refresh your hearts and remind you how greatly you are loved this holiday season.
I really do not have much to give, but what I can bestow to you I endow with a lavish love and overwhelming joy. I count each of you as a precious gift and a beautiful treasure. My Christmas is radiant because of the light each of you shine with.
Merry Christmas from my heart and home and family to yours!
Sincerely and Joyfully, Julie
Thank You. Thank You for the gift and blessing of Christmas. Thank You for the way You so personally and intimately entered our world, our mess, to lead us to You. Thank You for being Emmanuel, God with us. Even when we choose of our free will to turn ourselves in other directions, You create opportunities for us to come and experience Your love.
Lord, thank You for being with us this past year in every moment of our lives. Thank You for the ways that You have blessed us, which filled our arms and hearts with more than we could hold. Thank You for every good thing that You bestowed to us. The smiles, the laughs, the hugs, the joyful times that are now treasured memories we hold dear.
Thank You for our families, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbors, and the strangers that we encounter who brighten moments of our days through the gifts and talents You uniquely crafted each of them with. Thank You for the connections we share so that our burdens are made lighter, and the celebration of our triumphs made greater.
Lord, thank You for being near to us in all of our struggles and losses. Lord, in those moments of fear, of doubt, of unbelief, and when it all seems to be falling apart, You stayed. Lord, during the hard and hurting times You never turned away. Your eyes saw it all. When it felt that no one else cared, or noticed, You drew near.
Lord, there are people in our lives, ourselves included, whose actions brought us sadness, stress, strain, and pain. There are hurts and disappointments that have left scars this past year. Scars that ache with remorse, regret, guilt, shame, and condemnation. The sting of things gone badly, soreness that is taking longer to recover from than we would like.
Lord, as another year is about to close and a new year to begin, many do not have clear resolution. Instead the future seems foggy and fuzzy with uncertainty. It seems dark and stormy with no beacon of light to guide the way. Wishing for a different view only seems to add a bitterness to already sour circumstances.
Lord, help us to put our trust in You even in those trying times and difficult circumstances. Through meetings and partings, through joys and sorrows, through successes and failures, through victories and defeats, may we remember Your goodness, Your mercy, Your power, Your grace, Your forgiveness, and the love You have for us.
May we join in Isaiah 12:2-3 (NIV),
” ‘Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself,
is my strength and defense;
he has become my salvation.’
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.”
Lord, where ever we are, whatever our circumstances, be it lost in the wilderness, in the high places of influence, or on the road somewhere in between may we recognize that our thirsts can be quenched only by the living waters of Your wells of salvation. May we know the gifts of the Lord this Christmas season so that we may ask and be given living waters like Jesus spoke of to the woman at the well in John 4.
May our worship of You, Lord, be in truth and in the Spirit. May we come to adore You and receive good news of great joy.
Lord, in the darkness of this world, in the midst of the hurt, pain, and suffering may we be carriers of Your love. May we love one another in the way You have loved us so that it may be seen that we are Your disciples going out into the corners of the world that You have sent us to direct others back to You (John 13:34-35).
Lord, help us to experience a great fullness this Christmas season, even if our arms are physically empty, may our hearts be full of joy, may our minds be filled with praise & thanksgiving, and may our souls be filled with the riches of the Spirit.
Lastly, Lord, I ask a blessing for my dear readers. I ask with Isaac’s words of blessing in Genesis 27:28, “May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness – an abundance of grain and new wine.” Heaven’s dew and earth’s richness, for each of them Lord.
Please Lord, bring each of them good news of great joy. Bring them fullness. Bring them a peace that passes all understanding. Bring them a love, Your perfect love, that will drive away all fear. Leave them soaking in hope and secured with a resilient faith.
May they know this Christmas that I am thanking You, Lord, for each of them and praying with joy, as I remember them.
In the name of Jesus, the Christ of Christmas, I pray. Amen