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Monday, December 12, 2011

Dr. Gary G. Kindley
Pastoral Counselor

Praise the LORD!
        Praise the LORD from the heavens;
        Praise God in the heights!
2 Praise God, all God’s angels;
        Praise God, all God’s hosts!
3 Praise God, sun and moon;
        Praise God, all you stars of light!
4 Praise God, you heavens of heavens,
        And you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
        For God commanded and they were created.    Psalm 148:1-5

A Word of Hope
For the past several weeks I have listened to a radio station that, every year at this time, dubs itself “The Christmas Station.” They have filled the airwaves with Christmas music 24 hours a day. I have heard Andy Williams croon that “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and listened as a new generation is treated to Burl Ives wishing them, “A Holly-Jolly Christmas.” Then, Dec 26th arrives and all is back to normal. Not a hint of Christmas music and they wouldn’t be caught dead playing anything sung by Burl Ives.

I’m grateful for the relief from Burl and Andy, but I do miss the spirit that the music represents. I find myself saying aloud under my breath, “If Christmas could only last!” What I really mean is, “If the spirit that makes the Christmas season so wonderful could only last!” The good news is, it can! This is especially true for Christians.

2011 brought a diversity of experiences for me. I underwent surgery, reconnected with an estranged son, learned new things, made new friends, met new clients, and only days ago said a sad goodbye to our beloved family cat of 15 years. Throughout the year, I experienced the wonderful spirit of loving people who were with me along the journey. Friends and family who showed up at difficult times, celebrated with me at joyous times, and shared the variety of experiences that life’s journey brings. Christian friends with whom I volunteered at various events brought a spirit of loving service to those settings. They praise God daily with their lives. It is this spirit of love and sacrificial service that carries over beyond the Christmas season.

When the bell ringers by the red kettles have gone home, there are still people who joyously give of their means. When there is an act of service required, there are still volunteers who show up to work. The spirit of Christmas continues to be found wherever and whenever the spirit of love is lived out by the faithful.

Christmas is a time to remember God’s giving birth to love in the form of the Christ. That loving gift lives on whenever we choose to allow Christ’s love to be born in our lives. Together, let us work to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in the months ahead. In our living, our giving, and our serving may others know that Jesus’ love still reigns supreme!

God of love, may others discover the love of Christ in me this day and in the days to come. May I realize that my spirit and attitude is the greatest witness of my faith in you. Amen.

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