/Monday, December 12, 2022
I love the idea of sitting with family and friends in a warm, cozy, coffee shop taking in the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the taste of a scrumptious pastry. Feeling the warmth and comfort of being in the presence of those we love surrounded by a sensory-rich atmosphere reminds me of a newborn infant snuggled warmly in a soft blanket laying on my chest, eyes peering into my eyes, somehow communicating an intimate, unbreakable bond.
It is all about relationships.
Christmas is like this. It is all about relationships. Twelve years ago, Chris (my wife) and I left family and friends when we moved to Canada. We came because God called us to serve Him here. This is a common story for many staff at Outreach Canada. We serve because we are called to serve. When we go, sometimes we give up those comfortable, familiar relationships with family and friends.
But the idea of being together is forever with us. Somehow, in God’s great plan, when we are called to go, He gives us new friends to share new Christmas experiences with. We still have those precious memories of Christmas’ past; we also enjoy the newness God gives us in the present.
This Christmas, Chris and I will be with our family and some lifelong friends in the warmer and sunnier climate of the desert southwest of the USA. It's been twelve years. This is our Christmas future. So much has happened in those twelve years – to all of us. We look forward to the embrace of so many we have not seen for so long. For us, the anticipation of that warm, cozy coffee shop experience God has given us here in Vancouver will be renewed and enjoyed this coming Christmas.
Our past and present relationships in so many ways define us and we see so much about our Creator and ourselves through these relationships.
Another Future Christmas
In this same way, there is another future Christmas we look forward to.
That Christmas is the one we will spend in heaven with our Savior Jesus Christ. Heaven is where we don’t bring any gifts to exchange because Jesus has already made the exchange – His life for ours.
That Christmas will be the ultimate coffee shop experience. As we get older, our relationships are sometimes severed for a short time when our loved ones are called home to spend eternity with the ultimate Christmas gift, Jesus, who was given to us as the Christmas child, a child who saves the world. We miss those who have been called to heaven, but like our gathering this Christmas, think of the beauty and wonder we will experience with our relationships in heaven when God calls us there!
Christmas is not just an idea, it is reality.
It is a glimpse of heaven.
We remember and relish past relationships while God continuously provides new ones to enjoy. Wherever we find ourselves this Christmas, we carry all these relationships with us. They are precious and sweet.
Imagine what Christmas in heaven will be like and all the new relationships we will find there to add to the ones we already have! I expect it will be more incredible than the infant wrapped up and snuggling in a warm blanket.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Rick is the Chief Operations Officer at Outreach Canada. Before joining OC in 2019, Rick served as an executive pastor in two churches over 22 years. If Rick had a free afternoon, you might find him fishing, kayaking, bike riding or napping. Rick is passionate about working with and supporting people who are sacrificially loving lost people into the kingdom of God. He loves listening to the stories of how God is using team members to bless our culture & world.