During the latter part of December, we celebrate both Christmas and the New Year. Somehow it seems proper that the two go together. For at Christmas, when we consider Christ’s birth, we also ponder the meaning of our own rebirth through Christ and his later sacrifice. The original meaning of the Christmas tree was to use an evergreen to demonstrate new life in the dead of winter. The candles originally used and now replaced with our electric lights, symbolized that Christ was the light of the world. Christmas for us is a time for family and for emphasizing what God did for us in the birth of Jesus. We never open presents until we read the Bible story of God’s greatest present, the gift of a savior. So with the exception of Alex, who is currently in Iraq for his second tour of duty with the First Cavalry unit of the army, we all gathered together for a simply time of family and faith.

Christmas was a beautiful time for us as a family. We all laughed when our three year old granddaughter ripped the paper off of one present and with obvious delight squealed “Wow, a box!” We had to tell her there was something inside. It was a time of fun and joy. We hope the same is true for all of you. But with Christmas now over, we turn our thoughts to the New Year. With that comes the realization that God has blessed and that we depend on Him for our blessings and even life itself in the New Year. We can rededicate ourselves to living for God and to serving our Lord. That fact that God sent Jesus to us reminds us that our primary duty in this life is to live for Him. A significant part of living for Him is to take (or send) the Good News of Jesus birth to the whole world. After all, it is a time when “those who lived in darkness have seen a great light!” It is our life and then our message; for we cannot separate the two, which now offer that very same light to the entire world. They will see the light only if they see it in and because of us.

Jesus’ birth initiated the process by which God offered the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our salvation. We are the primary beneficiaries of that sacrifice. Now it is up to us to sacrifice so that others might also hear the Good News and see the Great Light. As missionaries, we commit ourselves to living and preaching the Good News of Jesus in this New Year as we have done in the past thirty three years. We thank God for you and your participation with us in that ministry. We look forwarding to continuing to serve together with you in the preaching of the Gospel. As we commit ourselves to going, please use this New Year to once again commit yourselves to being a major partner in sharing the light by continuing and even increasing your support and prayer for the missionary outreach in Colombia, South America.