Season of Love
It’s been a little over a month since my last blog. Like most of you have experienced, the holiday season can be very busy. I hope all of you had a thankful Thanksgiving. Our two daughters and their families joined us this Thanksgiving; our son and his family were unable to be with us in person but we were able to chat on the phone while we all sat at the table.
Our November began on a sad note with us saying goodbye to our dear brother Wayne Rodney, who is now resting in Jesus. The memorial brought together many friends and family, and we were thankful for the outpouring of love from so many from so many places.
Our November also brought us happy times. We got to spend much needed time with family in Pennsylvania. It had been years since we were all together. My heart was beaming with joy seeing my brother, sisters, nephews and nieces and their families. Reconnecting at such a sad time was greatly needed for all of us.
God has blessed our ministry in so many ways. In November we were honored to speak at the Hinesville Church in Hinesville, Georgia not far from Savannah. Our childhood friend from Pine Forge, Eugene Mason, is pastor there, and he extended the gracious invitation to share our presentations with his church family. The reception was so warm and enthusiastic; it was such a blessed time!
On Thanksgiving Sabbath our two daughters, Vernon, and I sang at the Cookeville-Algood SDA Church here in Tennessee. I also had opportunity to sing for the Revelation of Hope series that lasted a month at the same church. I was asked to bless others, but I was the one blessed.
The Christmas season is here, and I must tell you I love this time of year. The thing I love the most is the reason Christians celebrate this holiday. Although we know that Christ was not born on December 25, the fact is He was born and died for our sins. At Christmas, we celebrate the gift of Jesus. His birth marks a new chapter in God's plan to end our suffering and save us from our sin. It is the one time of year that people don’t mind hearing the name of Jesus.
Vernon and I are “partners” supporting the It Is Written ministry. The first weekend of every December there is the final partnership gathering of the year at Gatlinburg when supporters from far and wide come together to celebrate the successes of this global ministry. We are reinvigorated by the reports, thrilled by beautiful music, and challenged and uplifted by powerful sermons! It is truly a high religious experience for us all who attend. This past weekend was no exception. G. Alexander Bryant, the president of the North American Division, and John Bradshaw, director of It Is Written, rocked the house with two amazing and timely messages that every Seventh-day Adventist Christian needs to hear! You can check out the entirety of the festivities on itiswrtten.tv, or on YouTube.
Two of my grandchildren Mariah and Malachi helped me put up the Christmas tree. We had so much fun reminiscing as we put the ornaments on the tree – remembering when we made or bought them, or who gave them to us. We always try something new each year for the tree. Most of the time it’s a new ornament, but this year we made a Christmas tree box to put around the bottom of the tree. The one tradition we have kept for many years is placing our Christmas village under the tree. Once the village is in place and lights are on, the tree is finished and Christmas in the Newman home has begun.
December 10th will be our last ministry weekend for KST ministry for the year. It has been a blessed year for us. God has opened many doors, and we are looking forward to the New Year and the new opportunities He will bring to us.
Christmas is the season to give love just as our heavenly Father gave us His Son in love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It is, for many of us, the most wonderful time of the year. “Christmas cheer” is that thing which is often referred to by those who believe December really is the season to be jolly. It's that feeling of joy, warmth and nostalgia people feel when the jingle bells start jingling.
Merry Christmas! We wish for you prosperity, health, and happiness in the New Year! May you grow day by day to know the God who is LOVE!
“To know God is to love Him.” – Desire of Ages, p.22.1