May it always be Christmas in your heart!
Merry Christmas 2011! We are trying to make new traditions, which time honored traditions to keep, and to enjoy our celebration without Jim. Last year was a blur since Jim had just left us for heaven and everything ached. This year we are still finding it is difficult since Jim left a huge hole in our family and was the biggest fan of Christmas. We had my family over to our house for Christmas dinner. It was fun, but even my niece Jessica struggled with her tears as she missed Jim’s presence.
It started many years ago when Jim was starting out in ministry. He was reading the Chronicles of Narnia in the summer day camps at First Baptist of Downey. The middle of the summer , when it was especially hot and tedious, Jim had experienced a few really tough challenges that summer as well, including leaving a kid in San Diego, when it happened! In a serendipitous moment Jim realized that his attitude was negatively rubbing off on his counselors and this was trickling down to the day campers. He immediately decided that they needed to celebrate Christmas, which they did on July 25th. They sang carols and had a gift exchange and made Christmas cookies. The whole mood was changed as the “winter” was melting. In his own heart Jim decided that he would not allow the “White Witch” to rule in “his” Narnia where it was always winter and never Christmas. He adopted the motto: May it always be Christmas and never winter in your life. He wanted to live in a place where “King Aslan” reigned. Anyone who spent any amount of time with him would have heard him say “Merry Christmas” as a greeting or a farewell at any random time of the year.
So my challenge to each of us is to “honor Christmas in our hearts and try to keep it all year” (E. Scrooge). God loved us so much that he gave his only begotten son, who emptied himself and took on flesh and dwelt among us. Amazing!