It’s a Happy New Year ahead of us… 2018! Behind us: the Christmas rush is definitely over!

Yet the Christmas lights are still twinkling off and on at my house and the decorated tree is still standing in its place. The excitement has gone down. And I felt a bit sadden as I recognized that the cozy days of Christmas were over :-(

I love all the preparation, the planning, and the anticipation of the celebration of ALL the Christmas festivities! Bethlehem Village is tops on my list of favorites during the holiday season. So is gathering with family and friends, singing Christmas carols, and walking in the Haleiwa parade. I look forward to receiving Christmas cards in the mail from friends near and far proclaiming the birth of a King; all the yummy food, all the sweet treats, and all the special gift-giving that takes place. So much going on! It’s an emotional high! It’s a happy birthday celebration for Jesus. And now it’s come to an abrupt halt. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can experience “the-after-Christmas-blues”. You know - those in-between days after Christmas and before the New Year rolls in…

I was reminded recently in my readings that the Christmas story doesn’t end with the chorus of angels and a visit from the wise men. As the Shepherds left Jesus and went back to their flocks, they returned to their ‘normal’ lives... but now they had a new normal! Thanks to their personal encounter with the Messiah, they were now praising the Lord and telling everyone what had happened: they had met the precious babe called Jesus. Don’t you just love that reality: a changed life because of Jesus! As it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" I can testify that my life has changed drastically because of the presence of Jesus. And we can unwrap the gift of God’s Christmas presence with us… Every. Single. Day! AND everyday is a gift from God… that’s why it’s called the present! J Let’s pray that we can keep the true spirit of Christmas ever present in our daily lives. And that we will share with boldness this good news with people everywhere. People need the gift of Jesus! Looking ahead to the New Year, with joy in my heart!

God bless you, Karen