Family. That word probably best describes the feeling that I get when I think about Normandy. Like all families, we are imperfect. We have our funny quirks, our strengths and weaknesses. From the understanding that we are a spiritual family, I wanted to share two things with to you as Christmas draws near.
Christmas seems to heighten a desire to be with a family. And being one of the leaders of this spiritual family, that feeling of longing extends to you all. I might be feeling this way because we are not having church this week, and as our community groups take a break, that I have a heightened sense of longing to be among you. I long to be with you all! The Apostle Paul speaks to this as he writes to the church Philippi in Philippians 1:8:
For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Yearning and affection are strong emotions that Paul uses to describe how he feels about this specific church he planted. And so I wanted to tell you that God has placed a holy love in my heart for you all. I long to be with you all and desire that your hearts be cared for and loved and, though it is only a brief break from our normal schedule, I will miss our times of worship together. I know that all of our families, the Todds, the Sorrows and the Bowers carry this sentiment. As Christmas comes and the new year begins, know that we do love and care for you all and desire to see you continually grow in the grace of God.
The second thing that comes to mind during this Advent season is reflecting on the culmination of this past year. In the song Little Town of Bethlehem, one line describes what I feel:
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight
I am not completely sure what that means, but it stirs deep things in my heart. The culmination of this year’s success and failures, hopes and expectations all seem to be accentuated at Christmas time. From that place of reflection, my heart longs for a time of peace and rest. My prayer for you and your families at the culmination of the year and the onset of the next, is that our Christ, our Immanuel’s abiding love, grace, peace and comfort would be with you all in greater and greater measure.