Hello Everyone. Ever had one of those Christmases where it didn't seem or feel like Christmas until the last minute? That is how this Christmas was for us......well...for me.
1) First of all, before I describe our Christmas, I do have to say that the 1st Baptist Christmas Eve service was the highlight of Christmas for me this year. The celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ turned out wonderful. The sanctuary was filled to capacity with many many people from the community! I am so proud of those that participated in the program. Thanks to one and all that sang, played instruments, ran media and sound, lit candles, ushered, etc. I thank God for you and the wonderful job that you did! You were outstanding! I am sure that the Lord was pleased because I know that the message of Jesus Christ was clearly presented. Jesus is the reason for the season! I want to thank Pastor Shaun and Jodi for their hard work and help in the production. A big thank you also goes to Wendy Compton for allowing us to use her choir risers for our chorale group.
2) Christmas for the Garza family seemed like we were playing "catch-up" the whole entire time. Christmas shopping? All late. Christmas cards? Late. We were also singing a made up spoof of "Oh Christmas Tree" called "NO Christmas Tree".
3) Weather and Christmas shopping didn't seem to mix this year. I know. I know. We should have started Christmas shopping in October, right? We were thinking....okay...start in December! We were able to get some shopping done locally in Worland, but of course, we needed to get to Billings or Cody for savings. All I know is, we hit some pretty nasty weather trying to get to Billings, Montana. It was so bad that we were creeping at about 20 mph through a white wall of blowing snow and gusts with cars stopped in the middle of the road in the storm! Sandra and I decided that it wasn't worth the risk, so we turned around and headed back. We then decided that we would go to Cody, Wyoming instead. While in Walmart, the horrible weather hit Cody too. We started to overhear people talking about an 11 car pile-up and a woman losing her life. After we heard about a school bus being involved, and we knew our boy Jacob was coming home from a basketball game on a bus....we knew we had to get out of there! It was a horrible time trying to get home in the blizzard. We should have just stayed home that day.
4) The weekend right before Christmas, we still didn't have our Christmas shopping done, we didn't have a Christmas tree either. We finally made it to Billings. There was snow and ice everywhere, and the people there were driving "nutty"! It was dangerous! No Christmas trees could be found! Christmas shopping was almost done that day, but had to be finished the day before Christmas back in Worland.
5) We finally were able to buy a artificial "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree from True Value in Worland for 40% off. This is the first Christmas we didn't have a real Christmas tree. Oh well.
6) Then it happened...Christmas Eve. God taught me a huge lesson! Such a simple lesson! This is what God showed me..."Jeff. I know you have been stressed. I know that you are behind and trying to finish up all the loose details with Christmas worship and the program. I know that you have been hustling to get Christmas shopping with your family done. So what if you do have or don't have a Christmas tree! Remember me.....Jesus! Remember me....I am Lord. Remember me.....celebrate me!" God really revealed Himself to me in the Christmas Eve worship service that I mentioned earlier. Yes...this was Christmas. Emmanuel..God With Us! After the choir sang the program "A Night to Remember"....and the the congregation raised their lit candles singing "Silent Night", I finally finally had my eyes opened. God taught me a great lesson. He is in control. He takes care of us. All things are possible.
1John 4:4 "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
7) We hope that you had a wonderful Christmas. Have a blessed and Happy New Year, 2009! God bless you!