A Christmas Letter

Seize the season and anticipate how God might use you fully for His glory.

Gloria is a clergy spouse who lives in Tillamook, Oregon. She enjoys birdwatching and long walks along The bay.


Most Americans look forward to the holiday season between Thanks­giving and the New Year. The time is filled with family and friends. There's shopping to be done, food to be fixed, parties to attend. Just thinking of all that has to be done can be exhausting.

Recently I was talking with a friend and said, "I long for January. I am counting the days until all is quiet and restful once again." Later I was thinking of my comment. I realized that our lives are often like those holiday weeks—so full, we simply can't stop and cherish the important things in life.

So, for a moment, stop the hustle and bustle. Go to your favorite place, the place where you meet with the God of the Universe. Put on your cozy slippers, wrap up in your favorite blanket, turn off all the electronic sounds of the modern world and gently take in your hands one of God's gifts to you—your Bible. Look at 1 Corinthians 13:12, 13.

We don't see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather dears and the sun shines bright! Well see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God (faith), hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

The rain and mist of your life experiences maybe pressing on you. Life may have left you "squinting" with tears as you face unanswered questions and events. A loved one may have died, a promising job lost. Perhaps you've developed a devastating health problem or your children are choosing a life without Jesus. Such trials can ravage a person's well-being.

Like the holiday rush that causes you to miss the real reason behind the holiday season, so a life without a relationship with Jesus can cause you to miss out on opportunities to give the gift of Jove. Though Christmas Day is not Jesus' actual birthday, for about five weeks, behind the glitter and tinsel, through the music and spirit of the season, Jesus can be seen. Gift-giving, baking, going to parties—these busy activities bring us some joy and fill our time, but what about time spent sharing God's love? The more we love and worship Jesus, the more we are empowered to share with others Immanuel, our God.

So, seize the season and anticipate how God might use you fully for His glory. Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, and love extravagantly. Experience these gifts and share them with others. Make the sharing a lifelong process, not one that lasts only during the holiday season.

With warmth, acceptance, and love, I wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a quiet, restful January.