It has been almost a month since I’ve written, not for lack of something to say, but rather, for too much and wondering where to start.

From start to finish, my visit to the US was simply wonderful: reconnecting with family members I’d not seen in over 40 years; getting to know others better; renewing old friendships; and seeing the kids and grandkids and friends in Grand Rapids. I even did something amazing for me: I went to a parade at night in the snow to watch a winter “light parade” in Big Rapids, Michigan. Watching the grandkids enjoy the floats definitely was a highlight of my visit, as well as being able to cuddle with them on following days to read stories, play games, and just plain get to know them.

So many answers to prayer, and so many new prayer requests… even getting sick with a throat infection when I returned to Israel can’t remove the joy in my heart.

While I was in the States I wrote a poem, my first one in ages. Interestingly, it is not so much about me, but about the wonder of God’s grace. Over and over, as I visited with people, listened to others, and had the opportunity to share with others, I was amazed how God was able to use me as an encouragement—despite my so very real failings and misgivings.

And somehow, that seems to be the right tone as I write this pre-Christmas and post-Thanksgiving post—a reminder that God is not waiting for us to get out of the mud and get our acts cleaned up. He does something far more amazing—He works despite the mud in our lives.

A little baby in Bethlehem—a meaningless story apart from the blood and horror of the cross—likewise meaningless if Christ is not risen from the dead. But He is risen, and His redemptive work continues today in the lives of each person who puts their faith in Him.

So, if you are facing the holidays with a mixture of feelings, and perhaps wondering how God can use someone like you, I pray you will be encouraged as I have been. Take a few minutes to look back and see how God has indeed worked all things for good, and if He has done so, He will continue to do so. Let Jesus bless you with His love this Christmas season, because He is Risen Indeed!

Redemption

Murky, sticky, mucky.
Seems I’m forever
washing feet.
Seems like there is
nowhere
I can walk unsullied.

Jesus said, if my feet
are clean—I am clean—
But today, every path
seems foul.

I wash my feet
and the minute
I step out…

and then I turn around,
look back
amazed—
even here He works
through the mud
of our lives.