Simple or Complex?

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Joseph’s of the Bible's Old and New Testament were dreamers. In Genesis 37, Joseph was given dreams from God that foretold of his future leadership responsibilities. In Matthew’s first chapter, Joseph is told by angels to be faithful to his fiancé who is with a child he did not conceive with her, for God has a future plan.

What is your Christmas dream? Is it simple or complex?

In 1965, Gerald Coffee’s Navy plane was downed in North Vietnam. Years later, he wrote Readers' Digest of the special memory he has of his third Christmas in the POW camp. It was 1968. The Vietnamese distributed to each prisoner three Christmas candy bars wrapped in colorful red foil on the outside and sliver on the inside. Coffee describes how he flattened one wrapper and shaped it into a beautiful swan. He then folded the second wrapper into small pleats, which he tied in the center with a thread that fanned out the edges to make Rosette. All the while outside of his cell, he listened to guards laughing as they observed the holiday with their families. He was reminded of his sons and wife so far away. Finally, with great joy, he formed the third candy wrapper into a beautiful Bethlehem Star.  He then attached the paper ornaments on three straws and pushed the straws into crevices in the wall above his bed. In the light from the yellow bulb he sat watching his newly fashioned Christmas ornaments.

Gerald Coffee then shares how he began to compare the simplicity of the first Christmas in a manger with his own simple celebration as a POW. He discovered how precious his faith was as it sustained him through his imprisonment. He writes: “ Here, there was nothing to distract me from the awesomeness of Christmas—no commercialism, no presents, little food. I was beginning to appreciate my own spirituality because I had been stripped of everything by which I had measured my identity: rank, uniform, money, family. Yet, I continued to find strength within. I realized that although I was hurting, lonely and scared- this was the most significant Christmas of my life.” (From a letter to the congregation of St. Luke United Methodist church of Columbus Georgia, Dec 13,1992.)

What’s your Christmas dream? Is it simple or complex? God can make it happen. Take time away from the distractions and let God go to work on you.

Still in One Peace,
Pastor David J. Jensen

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