Some decisions are taken out of our hands, some are up to us. What I am finding is that no matter what, I need to keep my eyes on God, trusting Him to lead and guide. Sometimes it’s like Israel in the wilderness; when the cloud moved they moved. Sometimes it’s like David facing Goliath; he made a decision and trusted God for the results.

As most of you know, with the death of Rich, I have been faced with many decisions. Where will I live is one of them. Currently, I’m in Colorado with friends, working, seeking the Lord, and waiting for His guidance. As I search my heart, it would seem that I am being directed towards a decision which may seem obvious to many of you but was not so obvious to me: returning to Israel, at least for a time, possibly to stay.

A major factor in this decision is the fact that my apartment in Israel has not rented or sold since August, requiring me to pay the mortgage and related expenses from here. As some friends pointed out to me, “you are paying for the place – why not live in it?” I wish it was that simple, but there are many other decisions related to this, none of which I need to go into here.

I would appreciate your prayers that everything would fall in place, so that I can at least go for a visit. It would be nice if I could leave by the end of February and come back the beginning of May (if I need to come back then), or have a flexible ticket so I can come back in time for Rich’s disability hearing. Anyway, that is what I’m thinking about right now.

Odd thinking about travel at this time of year. I am sure Mary must have felt a bit overwhelmed as they headed for Bethlehem from Nazareth. Today this is a 2-3 hour drive (depending on route and traffic), but back then it was several days on donkey back. No matter how uncomfortable a train or bus is, somehow I think a donkey’s back was even more uncomfortable.

What did she think about as they made that journey? And less than two years later, she would make another long journey to Egypt, fleeing for her life and the life of her baby, guarded by Joseph, the man God gave to her to protect and guard her on this earth.

But she made the journey, and the little we know tells us she “pondered these things in her heart.” But her journey began with a decision made 9 months before when the angel of the Lord appeared and she responded, “Behold the slave of the Lord, may it be done according to His word.” And later her “soul rejoiced” when she went to visit Elisabeth.

For me, this year, Christmas is a journey from sorrow to joy. It doesn’t matter what has happened, nothing can remove the reminder that surely I have every reason to rejoice in my Savior.

In Israel there were many arguments back and forth between people – should we or shouldn’t we celebrate Christmas? I have to admit that I love the trimmings, the excuse to give gifts and decorate, and the chance to tell others what Christmas really means. It is nice to celebrate with family, decorate, and give gifts; but if we do not have these, then what is Christmas?

I thought I had answered that question in my heart many years back in Israel. But with Rich gone, and facing this holiday apart from family, I have had to reopen it.

I begin to realize that Christmas is a choice and we make of it what we choose. And so, as I am faced with decisions and where they will lead me, not only as to where I will live, but how I will approach this season. By the grace of God, I choose to walk through this season with a grateful heart to the Savior of my soul, thankful that the real meaning of Christmas is revealed in a cross, an empty tomb, and a returning Lord of Lords.