by Barbara M. Britton
How was your Christmas? I’m not sure how I am going to answer that question this year. I celebrated many blessings. My boys were home from seminary and work. We ate delicious meals with amazing chocolate cake to top off the menu. Presents were distributed with glee. But then, life happened. Christmas became a memory very fast. I found myself focusing on people who were suffering. I found myself in the emergency room with a family member who developed a blood clot from being in one of those cumbersome, restrictive black “boots” the previous month. Fortunately, and with thanks to God, my family member came home and is on a medication to dissolve the clot.
As I sat there in the waiting room of a hospital on December 26th, with mothers walking sick infants up and down the hall, and elderly patients with their faces masked, I felt blessed to be able to celebrate my Savior every day of the year. Don’t get me wrong. Christmas is fun and meaningful. It’s a time for us to focus and fathom how the Son of God (who always was and always will be) stepped into time to be born as our Savior. It’s a time where people can hear the gospel and learn about Jesus. But the wonder of Jesus and His sacrifice should be fathomed every day of the year.
I think it’s safe to say that the feverish, coughing patients in the emergency room weren’t having a great Christmas. I hope they have a relationship with Jesus. I hope that relationship is meaningful and celebrated throughout the year. I hope they get a Christmas do-over several times a month.
Life can get tough no matter what time of year. Two years ago, in December, I had my second surgery to remove breast cancer from my body. Christmas was simple that year. I rested and recovered while prayers were lifted up on my behalf. I remember that December fondly as food was dropped at my door and get-well cards arrived with Christmas greetings. I remember printing out the words to the hymn, “Because He Lives” and knowing that I could face tomorrow because of my relationship with Jesus.
No matter what 2018 holds for me, I am confident that God will give me the strength to get through the trials, and that he will give me Christmas cheer at unexpected times.
Was my Christmas perfect? Maybe close to it until the 26th of December. Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect if Jesus is prominent in your life. Children sing, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” What good advice to count them every day of every month. Let’s make 2018 a Jesus-filled year. A year where we count our Christmas blessings every morning.
When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.
Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?
Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise.
Barbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb brings little known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. You can find out about Barb’s books on her website, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.