The Christmas season always tends to be more stressful and emotional. It's a bundle of joy and nerves all in one. Words and thoughts have been stirring in my soul, and I have struggled with the time and focus to pen them. I hope to share more words before these Advent moments come to an end.
For now though, these are some of the words that have been heavy on my heart. Words written by my dad ages ago, words that were discovered shortly after he had passed. Words that were never directly handed to us. We will never know what he intended to do with this letter, however the wisdom, the truth, the sheer love is clear.
"It is really no test of true love to give even sacrificially to those we love. Gauging how much stuff we receive from one another should never be a test of how much we are loved by one another. Our focus is absolutely and completely in the wrong place when contention, irritation, covetness, envy, or jealousy in any way grips our heart over the receiving of any thing that will rot or turn back to dust. Christmas is all about Christ.
May we reject any pressure to create some foolish quota, or test of gifts to qualify our love. May we who know Christ always see Christmas in its simplest, purest and profound way in which it came to us. Without pretense, pomp, or pride - born in a stable, not a palace. His adoring subjects being people of simple means.
Christmas was never to be a time of disappointment, or anger, or contention over what we have been given or what we have given to someone else. God forgive us. God help us to celebrate Christmas in the dim light of the stable in Bethlehem. May he help us celebrate Christmas in Jesus, the only true reason for this season.
Christmas is not in the abundance of things I get, or possess - things that will vanish. Christmas is in the abundance of possessing Christ and the eternal hope through the redemption in His name.
Below are his words of love and commitment written to us - his family - words I will cherish forever, and a commitment I will always strive to offer those I love.
"With this statement I release you, I give you permission to give me anything you choose or don't give me anything at all. I love all of you with all of my heart, but the test of our love for one another is found in Christ's example to each and every one. It is self-sacrificing, simple and yet profound, not a gift that fades and withers like grass, but a gift of love in giving Himself. So, that's my commitment to all of you.
To live is Christ, to die is gain. While I live the greatest gift I can give to anyone, including my own family, is to carry my cross He gave me upon the surrender of my life to Him - with consistent humility, self-sacrificing my own desires for the love of my Lord. The greatest gift to be given by frail humanity, even by our own family, is to live as true examples of Christ."
My father, in his frail humanity, was a true example of Christ.
This Christmas, we need to stop the noise of the season, and soak in the beauty and hope of His simple - yet profound - coming.