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12 Days of Christmas Perspective/ Day 2- Family

               Last night at Youth Bible Study we did an introduction to the Advent Season.  We talked about all the things that we get so excited about when December rolls around.  I almost had to put Duct Tape on their mouths to get them quiet after 15 minutes of sharing.  They could have talked about Christmas for hours on end.  All of the things they talked about were great.  Most of them got me even more excited about everything that this month offers us in fellowship and in faith.   One student talked about how every Christmas his extended family comes into town and there is a lot of anticipation for the day the doorbell will ring and everybody arrives!  Time with family is so significant.

                    Yesterday I began a 12 part series entitled, “12 Days of Christmas Perspective.”  Day 2 is all about FAMILY!  It is so easy to take our family for granted.  I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home with parents who loved me unconditionally (which took a lot of work) and supported me as I grew.  Even as my family is scattered all over the continental United States they continue to play a huge role in praying for and supporting me in my life and my ministry.  Perhaps the greatest blessing EVERY GRANTED to me came when the Lord introduced me to my beautiful wife Becca (now married 4 and 1/2 years).  She teaches me so much about love, support, and faith every day.  Outside of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ she is the GREATEST single source of encouragement I have ever experienced.  Saturday was possibly the most overwhelming day of my life as I saw, in a flash, my humanity exposed near the airport in Houston.  I remember feeling like my life might be over…that there would be no more dates with my bride, no more trips to catch up with my parents and my brothers and sisters…and it was terrifying.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fear death and I believe in the eternity that I am preparing for with my Savior…but I am madly in love with my wife and my family (both the family I grew up with and the family I have added on my wife’s side) and I’m not quite ready to say goodbye. 

                           I had been asked by a number of people for Christmas lists before Thanksgiving.  I had even started thinking about some of the things that might be fun to receive.  When I returned home from Houston following the accident I HONESTLY and TRUTHFULLY could not come up with anything that I wanted or needed.  Just thinking about THINGS and STUFF overwhelmed me.  Becca and I have cried together a number of times since getting on a plane to come home.  I was shown very quickly how much God has blessed me with my family; a family who loves the Lord and who loves me.  God has blessed me with a family that not only supports me but who wants to know me and build a relationship with me as a person.  I don’t want to take that for granted this Christmas.  What I really want this Christmas is intentional time with my wife, my in-laws, and with my family (on the phone will have to do with my parents and brothers and sisters).  Becca and I have began making preparations for a Winter Escape to Chicago right before Christmas to spend some special time together.  We can’t wait to have Becca’s parents over to our house for our 4th annual Christmas get-together.  And we will be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with her parents in Friendsville.  Nothing could be better in my mind than intentional time with family.  I knew that I was blessed…I just wasn’t acting on it as much as I should.  My perspective on ALL OF MY FAMILY has changed.

                       I know that many of us come from different backgrounds and different family situations…but if God can forgive us for all the junk in our lives than we can certainly move past the issues (big and small) that divide us from our family.  Don’t let this special month of advent go another day without embracing the people God has blessed you with.  Only God knows the number of our days…so we need to take advantage of EVERY SINGLE ONE.  Swallow your pride, step out of your comfort zone, re-kindle your love relationship with your spouse, give your kids the special one-on-one time they so desperately need, call your estranged family member to say your sorry, and say a prayer of thanks for those closest to you. 

“Becca, you are my everything.  I am more in love with you today than the day we met in Jasper, Georgia @ Sharp Top Cove.  I can’t wait to see you after work today & I can’t wait to continue to celebrate the birth of our Lord together this month.  You bless me in so many ways.  Your love humbles me.  I smile in my office when I think of you.  You are amazing.”  

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