Wow... what a crazy holiday season this has been thus far?!?! Not necessarily crazy in a good, fun, busy, kind of way (though it has been crazy busy)... but crazy in an emotional, up and down, happy and sad kind of way.
First of all Luke and I LOVE Christmas!! We are the kind of people who start counting down to Christmas in August and September... we pull all of our Christmas CD's out right before Thanksgiving so we can start listening to them the day after Thanksgiving. We love traditions... making new ones and carrying out the ones that our parents have started. This time of year is what makes us tick... and this year was going to be the Best.
You see last year after Christmas I spent every dime of my Christmas money on new decorations... a whole new tree, stockings, outside lights, etc. I was Psyched!! We planned a vacation to Charleston, SC for January 1-4 (our first vacation for just the two of us, that wasn't to Orlando) and were totally excited about that. This was also the year that we were really going to be able to spoil each other gift wise. Now I know Christmas is not about gifts, but you must admit giving and receiving gifts does add a certain amount of fun, magic, and splendor to the season. Luke and I are looking to start having children in the next few years, and we know that once they come we are going to want to spend every dime we have on gifts for them. So this was OUR year... the year to spoil each other.
Perhaps the greatest thing that happened this holiday season is that Since October has finalized and signed the record deal with Tooth & Nail. God has given us this huge desire of our hearts, and something that Luke (and I... in my own way) have been working towards for the past 8 years. We know that our purpose in life is to serve God in full time ministery and we both believe that SO is the way that God has called us to serve him at this time. So with all that God has done for us this year we were psyched for a really Great Christmas.
But Satan had other plans. He started on November 29th to try and ruin our Christmas this year. First of all I was in CO working from 11/27 - 12/5. In that time I missed mom's Heartland Chorale Performance, Point of Grace Christmas Concert, and LG and I putting our tree up on 12/1 (another tradition we have started). After that the low blows (as Luke calls them) began. I got sick, the glass on our oven exploded, our outside Christmas lights mysteriously stopped working, my company had a bad year financially, our vacation to Charleston had to be canceled, etc. Satan found little subtle ways to ruin our Christmas and pull us down.
As sad or bummed as we might be about some of the things that have happened over the past few weeks, we are able to recognize them as attacks from Satan. Last night Luke and I were having dinner and he brought another very visible attack to my attention. Being a guitar player Luke's hands are a very important part of his ministry and lively hood. The past few weeks he has been working in Wauchula in a grove and building a barn. Satan even used this to attack us in perhaps the most eerie way. Luke slammed his thumb with a hammer this week and under the nail is totally black, swollen, and sore. He also burnt his hand on a muffler while he was mowing. Satan is a sly guy... he physically attacked the most important part of Luke's body that he uses to Worship God and provide for this family... Wow!!
As stressful and emotional as these attacks have been on our family it gives us a certain amount of comfort in knowing that we must be doing exactly what God wants us to do, or Satan would not be attacking us so hard.
As I was driving home last night I was listening to the POG Christmas CD. My all time favorite Christmas song is Let There Be Light... as I was driving home last night listening to this song God revealed something amazing to me through the chorus...
"Let there be Light, let it shine bright.
Filling the darkness with dazzling light.
Hope for the hopeless was born on that night.
When God sent his Son and said Let There Be Light."
Jesus is our hope... God sent Hope to us that first Christmas night. He has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and might. He doesn't want us to despair in doing good. HE is our HOPE!!
And he has filled the darkness of this world, the darkness that Satan trys to create and control with Dazzling Light! His Light! It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Jesus is the Light of the World."
So this is definitely the year for Refocusing in my life. Taking my focus off of traditions, gifts, family, and food... and Focusing on Jesus! My Hope, My Light, My Comforter, My Provider, My Best Friend, and My Father.
I wish all of you a Very Merry Christmas!!