Carol and I love to receive cards and messages - this annual catching up with friends (I know I'm not on facebook!) combining annual newsharing with Christmas Greetings is special. Some greetings have been particularly exhilarating.
Like the 25minute phone call from California from old friends Nick and Rose - missionaries to Russia whose hard work and influence spans decades, continuing right up til' now. I haven't actually seen Nick for over five years, since they moved from our church, but conversation began instantly as though we had been talking just 5 minutes earlier.
And what was outstanding about this call? It could have been their knowledge, love and continuing prayers for us...shown by reference to recent happenings in our family. And their own quality sharing about of ministry and life in California. Well, those were great aspects, but what struck me, overwhelmed me, was their out-and-out JOYFULNESS.
There was not one shadow in 25 minutes. Not one negative obtruded. Now I'm not in favor of enforced jollity and "putting a brave face on." But there was nothing false about this. It was one wonderful sweep of unalloyed gratitude to God in all things with transparent thankfulness, every second. He told me how wonderful it is to be used by God in old age. That God had clearly given him and Rose a verse -Joshua 13:1. "When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the Lord said to him. "You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over." He said: "You see I've still got work to do!
He chuckled, enthused, encouraged, listened, and wished us wonderful Christmas Greetings. I know some of us have things to be negative about, but at this time of celebrating Christ's birth there is plenty to be JOYFUL about too. I came off the 'phone uplifted, with a smile on my face.
A very Joyful Christmas to you!