This year I put up a real Christmas tree. It’s the first real tree we’ve had since Christmas 1993. It’s not perfectly shaped like the artificial trees. It’s a little messier and we have to water it. It takes just a little more effort. But it’s real and we’re reminded of that by its sweet, pine fragrance every time we walk in the door.
Hanging on that tree is a new ornament for our first grandchild. Emma Rose is due to arrive on Christmas Day! Alisha is healthy and doing well. Aaron couldn’t be more excited. We’re so happy for them and know they will be wonderful parents. They moved to Bentonville earlier this year, so we are thankful to have them just a little closer. Abigail has kept herself busy working several jobs in addition to her business. She saved up and paid cash for a new car this year. She is a wonderful young lady with a heart that seeks after God. Andrew turned 16 this year. He has a driver license in his pocket and a new to him (but very old and thanks to his sister passing it down) car. He’s a natural leader, in the middle of his 10th grade year, and exploring options for the future.
Dana and I launched our first book together in February of this year. It was a labor of love and 25 years in the making. We encourage you to check it out at www.theedenconcept.com. He is doing what he loves most —pastor of our sweet church— and working hard in his new job in project management while balancing it all with the strength of God. After 22 years of working from home, I went back into the workforce this year. It has come with a lot of adjustments, but also blessings.
As we wrap up this year, I can’t help but think about my “real” Christmas tree. We live in an age of filters and flawless Instagram photos and where it is normal to fake perfect. The truth is that it’s easier and more convenient to be artificial. But God calls us to be genuine, transparent, and real. He already knows our hearts. When we are finally real with ourselves, admit that we’re broken, and cry out to God to save us, then and only then can we be real with others. Our love can be without hypocrisy as it states in Romans 12:9 and God can shine His light through us in this dark, dark world. The artificial message of Christmas surrounds us, but the real message is that when this world was at its darkest, unto us a child was born. Keep sharing that message! He is the Prince of Peace. If you are looking for real peace in your life, look to Jesus!
From our family to yours, we send our love and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!