What a beautiful time of year this is! As we drove to Portland this past weekend the evidence of the beauty and freshness of the earth was all around us. We are thankful to God for health and safety and to be able to make this eleven hour drive to see our family. How wonderful it is to also have our family from Atlanta join us this year, and we thank God for bringing them safely. I never take safety during travel for granted and all along the way I claim God’s promises and assurance to “fear not,neither be dismayed, for I will be with you wherever you go” Deuteronomy 31:8.

The weather here in Portland is somewhat unpredictable, but the city boasts so much beauty and fun through it’s hiking, history, great food and very friendly people that the locals are never put of by it’s conditions. I miss living here. This is such a great city! I cannot wait to get out again today! Yesterday while some of our family went shopping, others went hiking, others went indoor swimming.

So this is where we are for Christmas. I love the bustle of the season, when people are making last minute decisions on special gifts for their loved ones and friends. I love being in the crowds where love and goodwill can be felt. But oh, if only this “goodwill” could be shared all throughout the year! If only we would be more willing throughout the year to help as we see help is needed! If only we would greet each other with joy and warmth  as we do during this special season!

I am reminded of the very powerful scripture in I John 4:11 “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” NIV. I really want to apply this more so throughout the year. How about you?

I find that I need a lot of patience with the bustling crowds and the busy traffic jams at this time of year. Several years ago my youngest daughter taught me a lesson; when I am stuck in a long line or in a traffic jam and I know I have to wait because I came for a purpose anyway, don’t get frustrated; it wont change anything she told me; just talk to the person in front or behind and you wont even notice how long you stood there! This great advice has always stuck in my mind….. and since I am a social butterfly….I don’t find the advice to difficult……. and so this is Christmas………. and so this is joy………

I am thankful for Jesus, for a worldwide church family, for my husband, our beautiful children and grandchildren and for my large family who are distributed in many different parts of the world. Thank you God for caring for all of us while we are separated from each other. I am also thankful for beautiful friends.

Silent night……holy night….all is calm…..all is bright.