Christmas and Meaningful Relationships

Dr. Phil – In the last Update I walked down memory lane of how I sensed God’s calling to inter cultural missions as a young teen. The problem with getting older is that the milestones just keep coming! Early next year will forty years since graduating from the discipleship school in California that had such an impact on my ministry life (as well as where I met my wife….which means that next year is also our 40th wedding anniversary).

After not being able to travel internationally and connect personally with our team, in the last three months I have been on three international trips. For those who have travelled these days, you know the challenges of just getting from here to there. Multiple testings, regulations, forms and so on. In spite of the challenges I am glad that I eventually made it back in one piece!

On my trip to Ukraine in October, Karl joined me from Germany. I first met Karl when we were living in Berlin and he was a young twenty something. We began meeting every Friday and in 2003 he was one of the first to go through the new Mentoring Guide I had just written. Not only did a friendship develop, but he became a colleague in the ministry. Well nearly twenty years have gone by and he is now a pastor and leader in his fellowship, as well as husband and father of a growing family. After several years of not being able to travel together, it was a real blessing to have Karl join me in Ukraine last October. Sharing ministry together, as well as a few laughs along the way, was like a breath of fresh air after a difficult couple years.

Christmas is around the corner and Nancy and I’s prayer is that you will also be able to spend quality time with those in your family and close friends. One thing the last couple years have surely taught us is that these personal connections are essential, not just optional. At the end of life’s journey no one wishes they had spent more time accomplishing things or had spent more time at the office.

The Christmas Season, as well as the realization of another New Year around the corner, has a way of focussing us on what is most important in our lives. It’s not just the lights and gifts, but it is all about the relationships we have developed. These take on a deeper meaning as we remember the One who sent his only Son to enter our earthly reality so that we could be reconciled first to Him and then to others. It is because of our relationship with Him that we can have truly meaningful relationships with those God has given us to walk this journey together.

So as we are able to again connect this Christmas Season with those most meaningful to us, may we be reminded that it is He, Emmanual – God with Us! – that brings real meaning to our lives and those we have the privilege to share our life’s journey with.

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