“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’”-Matthew 1:20-21NIV

I visited a family today whom I support as a volunteer.  There is a total of seven family members who have moved here from another country to receive medical treatment for one of the children.  I look at this family who gave up every comfort they knew, to travel thousands of miles and relocate the ENTIRE family, to heal but one.  The only words I can think of to describe this accomplishment are bravery, selflessness, and love.

To listen to the mother’s stories of the confusion, obstacles, and hate she has encountered since being in Louisiana breaks my heart.  But she is not discouraged because these were but a few instances.  The love and compassion she and the family have received came from her church, one of the first places she found and joined when she came to Louisiana.  To hear of all the positive and loving acts from the church and complete strangers restores my hope in man and I give praise to God.

When I reflect on this family’s journey it reminds me of a trek over two thousand years ago.  A pilgrimage conducted with bravery, selflessness, and love.  A young couple, who followed their faith, and wound up in a manger behind an inn where the gift of Love was born one night, as recorded in Luke 2:10-11, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.’”

I want to experience the courage in practicing my faith in this cruel and unforgiving world.  I will not be ashamed of my beliefs and hope to have the confidence to share my testimony with others.  In addition, I would like to have the unselfish desire to love and serve others without any need for thanks or recognition.  I want to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit showing others love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control like Jesus.  In knowing I will fail over and over again, I can still receive His grace and get a daily “do-over”.

This is the gift for all humanity.  To be reminded of the true love of our God who brought His son into the world to save us all.  What a precious gift given to me and you.  Have you accepted this generous gift from God?  Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2017.

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