Wednesday, November 18, 2009
A Christmas Memory to Share . . .
Yesterday I posted the following fun thing on my Facebook page: Okay, I've done it. The Christmas music started getting played today. Usually it is an after Thanksgiving thing, but I couldn't resist. I tried. I fought it. I know, I need help. But I couldn't hold out any longer! I love this time of year! Thanksgiving is such a beautiful time, and to have Christmas follow it is awesome! Thanks, Lord, for all your goodness in our life and for Your Son who gives us Christmas!
In addition to a bunch of fun comments on my page I received the following email, which touched me (and challenged my heart), and I asked permission to share it. It comes from one of this blog's readers, Amy, who Mary Ann and I have known for years. She came to Christ shortly before I did, both of us tremendously drawn that direction by how God was using Mary Ann in our lives as a witness in both word and life. If you follow this blog you may remember that I talk a little about Amy and a dream I had at her house when Mary Ann and I stayed there in my August 28, 2009 post Happy Birthday to Me.
Amy's email went like this:
So! Talking about Christmas carols on Facebook brought back a wonderful memory. In December of 1992 I was nearly a year old in Christ, but it was my first Christmas as His child. If you recall, I was still living in Fort Collins . . . but was housesitting in Carmel for xxx that December. That's the background; here's the memory: You two (MAZ and EAR) and I were walking around downtown Monterey at night, and there were old-timey carolers (dressed in costume) in the various historical buildings (I think—they might have been strolling and stopping at various places). It was the first time I had really heard the words to the songs. I heard, "Glory to the newborn King" and thought, "Hey, that King is MY Savior!" I heard, "Christ the Lord!" and thought, "Wow, EVERYBODY is calling Him Lord!" On and on. The words that had so automatically come out of my mouth for 38/39 years were now shining and sparkling and proclaiming the glory of God in my heart! And, as Walter Cronkite used to say, "You were there!" Love you both and the girly-girls too.
Thanks, Amy, for reminding us of the joy of our salvation, and the true PERSONAL meaning and richness of the CHRISTmas tradition, and traditions, that sometimes become more tradition and impersonal than living realization. He is OUR King, OUR Lord! I am a new creation, a new man, His child, and He is MY Father in Heaven!
As a pastor I struggle more with Christmas teachings than almost any other teaching because I am so inadequate to capture the majesty and love and wonder and awe of what Christmas means—of Creator coming in to His Creation, subjecting Himself to it, out of love giving Himself for those who have rebelled against Him. Some years back I felt God lead me to turn December over to a month of testimonies in our church on Sunday mornings. Each person I ask to share I ask to prepare with the thought, "Why is my life different because of Immanuel—because God came to earth and is with me?" After all, the ultimate end of Christmas was a people restored to their loving Creator. Christmas is, ultimately, what Amy wrote about and captured so beautifully—I am His, and He is mine, and we are no longer separated but joined for eternity. Lives are, naturally, radically different for that!
I'd love to hear others of your stories or what Christmas means to you. We can all use help keeping the joy of the Good News of the Gospel fresh and alive in our hearts! God bless you all.
P.S. MAZ is Mary Ann Zuzow. EAR is Erick Arthur Reinstedt. MAZ is what many of us who knew Mary Ann before we were married call her.