Merry Christmas guys! We hope this finds all in good spirits and health.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” - Luke 2:8-11
Well…how do ya follow that?
I can’t for sure, who can, but I will attempt to give a few thoughts on Christmas, and what it means to me.
Unquestionably, we as Christians know that today our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, was born in a manger in Bethlehem.
Because of this, through Christ, we have the opportunity to experience life eternal. John 3:16 states… “For God so loved the world that He gave HIS only begotten son, and whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
It’s not a given, but again…an opportunity.
It IS…OUR decision to make.
Not our families, not our friends, not our neighbors, not our pastor’s…not even God will make this decision for you.
Sure, without question, God wants us to be saved, but once more…He will not make this choice for you.
So you see, in all reality, IF you ask… “You shall receive.”
Now, lookin back at my own life, and my own understandin of Christmas, I have to admit my thoughts of this great event have changed.
Not in the sense of the significance of Christmas, but I guess I’m sayin how I look at Christmas today has changed.
First off, I really now, truly now, understand the blessings our Lord and Saviour bestows upon me.
I gotta tell you guys…lookin back at my youth, I was about the biggest screw-up that ever drew a breath. I was the epitamy, or epitome (you spell tomatoes…I spell maters. LOL) of the wording “dumber than a pile a rocks.”
Some say that I still am today. Okay, so maybe MOST that know me…still feel that way! What of it?? LOL.
Seriously though, I am…one blessed man, and I do thank Him daily for this.
Often, many times daily.
Here’s a guy who didn’t finish high school.
Here’s a guy who became addicted to cocaine in his early twenties. Lost my home, my family, and all material possessions.
By the way, I just got up one morning, looked into the mirror, evaluated my life, mostly what had happened to my life, and never touched cocaine again.
For anyone out there who happens to have a drug, or any type of addiction for that matter…God Bless you first of all, but more importantly, understand that God does indeed love you, no matter your problem.
Secondly, to the families who have a family member with an addiction…you have to use…tough love.
Not that you don’t care or love this person, but understand…they HAVE to be made to stand on their own two feet. They HAVE to be held accountable for their own predicament.
THEY created their problem, and it is very important for you, AND them, to understand and comprehend…THEY are the cause of their own demise, but find it far too easy to convince themselves that their problems were created by…anybody BUT themselves!
Throwing money at their problem helps not at all. It only increases their problem. Show them love, of course, but do not finance their addiction, by thinking your money will help them out of their bind. It only serves to supply them with their next fix, or drink.
Which by the way…is their only concern.
So, as hard as it may seem, through tough love, turn off the spigot of cash. Feed them, clothe them, support them, and love them, but you tossing money at them doesn’t help…it destroys!
All the “educated” liberal thinking people out there that tell you differently…they’re wrong.
This isn’t a “theory” I’m chunkin out at you guys this morning…it is reality.
I lived it…personally.
Again, for the families of a person with an addiction, and especially to the ones with the addiction…my heart and payers go out to you guys.
I’m not going to attempt to build you up by stating you have an easy road in front of you, because it isn’t, but, it IS doable!
I’m living proof of this.
Let me emphasize this…God loves you no matter where you’re at in your life, and He will never put more on you than you can tote…I assure you of this!
Here’s a guy who would rather drink, cut up, mess around, and even fight, before anything else.
Here’s a guy who had absolutely no inkling of what the word…love…even meant.
In all honesty, in my upbringing, I literally thought that love was simply…a weakness.
Not that my family didn’t love me, because they did, and still do, but simply we, AS a family, never were very intimate, at least in our showing much type of affection at all in regards to one another.
And Then Along Came…
One of my greatest blessings from God came in the presence of my wife Deb.
Most know Deb’s story…her fight with Stage 4 breast cancer.
Her decision to bypass conventional treatment and instead, she opted for alternative treatment. Deb was given 8-9 months upon diagnosis, but lived for 14-1/2 months using alternatives.
Her desire to combat this disease on her own terms, in her own way, was so inspirational to me.
Her courage, her dedication to her choice of treatment, her ability to stay up, through thick or thin, her positivity throughout, will never be forgotten by any who knew her.
The quality of her life during this time was second to none, and we enjoyed each other so very much.
All who knew her, not unlike me, literally…forgot she was sick.
I heard her asked many times…
“What made you decide on alternative treatment?”
“Where did you get the courage TO decide on alternative treatment?”
Her answer each and every time… “God showed me.”
Deb had a favorite saying that we close with at the end of our posts, and through watching, listening, and being around her, I must say that she lived it out.
“Keep a smile on your face, and one in your heart.”
She did exactly that.
My point though, is this.
Through Deb, although my not being even remotely aware of it at the time, I understand now that many things Deb spoke to me of…were God speaking to me…through Deb.
But through Deb…I was living with a true witness, a true believer of God’s love, and she spoke openly of this. She lived it!
She exuded it!
Deb told me of the times that she and God…spoke.
In all sincerity, I truly believe, that they did just that.
Without going on and on…I only want to say that Deb was the first to get my thinking along the line of… “Man, how do I get what she has?”
Thank you so much Debbie. You did so much for me.
Most know that Deb passed on June 14th, 2012.
But, although the times after her passing, were probably the darkest I’ve ever experienced, matter of fact, they were…she kindled in me a spark.
The desire to find out what made…
Her so happy?
Her so content?
Her so brave in the face of such overwhelming adversity?
I want some of that, but how do I get it too?
My good, good friend Sonnie Prevatt and his wife Pat stepped up, and helped me, guided me, and…
Pastor Charlie enlightened me on many occasions.
Kelly McCary too.
Tommy Addison, his wife Judy, and his brother David, all spoke to me about God’s love.
Never overbearingly, yet always gingerly. Suggesting to me, what had helped them along in regards to their own journey.
“One-eared Bob,” as we call him, and the reasoning for this is self-explanatory, amazed me in his knowledge of “The Word” and God’s love, and played a large role in my own Christianity.
Bob works for us, and Deb told me on a number of occasions, especially during her last month or so here on this Earth that, “Doug, Bob will be a blessing to you as time goes by,” and how right she was!
I was beginning to understand Bible study and its importance.
I was beginning to understand ABOUT God’s love for us all, and His saving Grace.
But I was still lacking something.
Seems I’d lost my norm…but was beginning to see that this was quite natural after the loss of a spouse. You simply reach what I call…my NEW norm.
Many times I’d lay awake at night and wonder…would I ever find someone, a partner, who could ever make me happy again?
How do I, or even could I…replace Deb?
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, you don’t replace someone. It’s never the same, nor would I want it to be. What we shared…we shared.
If someone else came into my life, no question…it wouldn’t be the same. Again, I totally understand that.
My problem though was this…
How could God ever bless me again with a partner like I had, from a being blessed standpoint?
Personally, I couldn’t believe that any one person could be so fortunate.
God blessing one man with two women with good Christian morals, and not just that, but someone you know you could undoubtedly spend the rest of your life with??
Honestly, wouldn’t that be TOO much to ask for?
Yet, with Kathrine (jokingly referred to by me now as… “Lucky”), God did exactly that.
Kathrine by the way is, Tommy and David’s mother.
He put another into my life that I love and cherish, and know (lest she messes up a good thing! LOL)…we will spend the rest of our lives together.
Kathrine and I had known each other for years.
Kathrine had lost her husband, Ronnie, five years prior to my losin Deb, and the four of us had become close friends. We literally loved one another…we had become like family.
I gotta admit, it wasn’t Kathrine’s idea in the least, and was honestly the furthest thing from her mind, havin a relationship with anyone else number one…much less getting married!
Yet, through my irresistible charm and wit…the good guy won out! Lol.
Closin This Out
Once more, sittin here this morning, Christmas morning, I’ve taken the time to look back and touch on only a few of my many, many blessings God has bestowed upon me.
In doing so, my only wish is that maybe this will touch someone else this morning who may be down on their luck, through the loss of a loved one, their job, or maybe haven’t given God a chance in their own lives.
I’ll only say this…God loves you.
He loves you each and every day.
I can’t tell any of you what you should or shouldn’t do, that…is up to you.
I can state quite honestly though that God HAS made a difference in my own life.
The opportunity is there, BUT…the choice is yours.
Christmas now means to stop and take the time for Doug to contemplate how giving our Lord has been to me…and my family and friends as well.
He blesses me each and every day.
I thank Him daily for this.
Here’s wishing you guys a very Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year!
“Keep a smile on your face, and one in your heart!”
God Bless you and yours!
Doug and Lucky