I’m Dreaming of a ….
This Christmas looks like a wet one where I live.
Christmas is usually a happy time. But for those who have lost loved ones, it can be extremely tough. It’s hard to think about going through a time when family gathers from near and far – and you won’t have someone you love dearly by your side.
Some of my friends have experienced the sting of death this year. One family I know lost their soon to be 22 year old son to a tragic accident. Another’s husband is suffering with cancer which seems to be getting worse with each passing day. Still others feel the ache of those who have passed years ago when Christmas reminds them of what they did to make Christmases past so special.
The dreary weather we’re experiencing now can’t be helpful to those who are already depressed by the weighty issues of life. It’s only in a relationship with Christ that we can find any hope at all. And it’s Christmas, of all times, that the most people who would never darken the door of a church get to hear the Gospel message in so many places.
You can gripe about the commercialism if you wish. We spent money trying to bring others happiness. And I’ll freely admit, gifts often make me happy. So far this year, my life has been filled with gifts I never expected. And for that, I’m very thankful.
That’s not to say that this year has been easy for me. It hasn’t. Part of me will be glad to see it go. But the hopeful part of me appreciates the strides I’ve made as a writer. Call it the shining light in the end of a dark tunnel if you will. But if you’re honest, wouldn’t you admit that every year of your life has had its ups and downs?
I prayed an earnest prayer last Sunday at church.
We have this part of the service called “The Prayers of the People”. Despite the fact that we have some 180 or so people in attendance on any given week, there is still the opportunity to voice intercessory prayers.
I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut during such an opportunity.
Here’s what I offered:
Father in heaven, we thank you for the gifts we receive at Christmas.
We thank you for those wrapped in paper and given with love.
We thank you for the presence of loved ones we only see on holidays but who love us all the time.
And we pray for those who have experienced loss, whether by death or by desertion. May you bind every wound, soothe every ache, and comfort us with the assurance that you know how we feel because you experienced loss yourself.
For this O Lord we pray,
And the rest of the congregation then says, “Lord, hear our prayer.”
It struck me after the memorial service for the 21-year-old man that I attended last week – there are a lot of people in my life that are going through intense pain. And it’s amplified during the holidays when families get together.
So be thankful for the people you get to see.
Make sure you hug your loved ones while you can.
Tell them you love them while they’re in front of you. Be sure of this – you really don’t know if you’ll see them again.
So don’t waste a good opportunity.
Don’t take your loved ones for granted.
When death comes, I tend to reflect on the final conversations I’ve had with people. I saw Andrew at Walmart and exchanged a quick “How’s it going?” followed by a “See you later.” When my friend Steve died, our last conversation was about his horses. A young lady who worked for me had just started to show great promise the last time I saw her. The news that she had been killed by a speeding car floored me. It was so surreal.
So don’t waste a good reunion. It just might be your last until we all get together in Heaven.
What Did You Accomplish?
This has been an interesting year for me.
Last fall I lost the job I’d had for 4 years.
But fortunately, my employer created a place for me in-house rather than fire me.
He also created a new writing position for me.
This is significant. But first, let me fill you in on my history. I applied for another position that opened back in 2011. I didn’t get it, but I did open the door to an opportunity I’ve found fits me like a glove.
In that interview, we talked about what drives me, that is, what I’m most passionate about. I told them I’d love to write and teach others to improve their lives.
That opened the door to a writing position that has carried on to this day.
Traditionally, people had been taking turns sending out a weekly inspirational e-mail to the entire staff at my job. Generally, a writer would have a quarter to cover a given topic.
Then my turn came.
I started a series back in 2011 in which I summarized a popular business book. Each week I would distill in my own words the salient points that others could use and benefit from immediately.
I’ve been doing that ever since.
So much for term limits, huh?
This year I started writing for the top clients at my employer. After a few articles, the President of the company suggested I put this information into a book.
After the third time he mentioned it, I decided he might be on to something.
Recently I set a goal to sell or distribute 10,000 copies of my books by the end of the year.
I’m happy to say that as of this writing, the total is 10,992.
God is good.
And in this, he has greatly exceeded my expectations.
I think that next year has some great promise.
Blessings to you and yours. Enjoy your family and friends. Be thankful for a gracious and generous God who gave His Son so you could live lavishly and freely.