Kristin and I spent time, after dinner, reflecting on God's overflowing grace poured upon us in 2011. Indeed our experience of God's grace in 2011 has been undeserving and more than we could ever ask for. Of course, we had challenges and hardships. But all the experiences have produced goodness somehow.
* God kept us both healthy ... although I still had a few near-passout experiences on the airplanes.
* God solidified our mutual love and understanding even stronger than ever.
* God kept our children safe and healthy. He brought James (our son-in-law) back safely from Afghanistan.
* God kept using me in preaching and teaching the Word while growing my faith and maturing my trust in Him. He has been transforming a few young people in the Shalom Bible Study, noticeably to others. PTL!
* God prospered UOB by doubling our micro loan portfolio over the year, while maintaining an excellent portfolio quality. Also He enabled us to achieve the operating sustainability. I cannot be thankful enough to Him. He increased the number of clients we serve to over 120,000, an incredible amount of trust in us, and allowed us to scale up client transformation through Holistic Life Improvement modules. We must prove faithful since we have been given the trust. (1 Cor. 4:2)
* God expanded Kristin's sewing project for 20 women and her outreach to the needy.
* God kept our parents healthy while extending the life of Kristin's mother although in bed. We pray that her last days on earth may remain hopeful for the time to see the Lord face to face.
* God allowed me to climb and to stand on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro with four friends of mine. It was a thrilling and unforgettable experience! We called ourselves the Five of the Fifties. We all made it to the top!
* There are numerous more blessings that God gave us throughout 2011...
But, the greatest gift and grace that we have ever received and ever will receive is Jesus who came to earth in human flesh. God's divine incarnation. God made flesh. Eternity came into time and space. Glory turned to sin. Creator became creation. Unbearable and inconceivable. Simply undeserving. Amazing grace.
So, Christmas Eve can hardly be "Jingle Bell" or "Dashing through the snow" to me. It is a holy night, making me solemn, humble and ever grateful.
This Christmas Eve, though, had a difference. We were reflecting and talking, listening to the music sung by Placid Domingo, Jose Carreras and Diana Ross with the Vienna Symphony on December 23, 1992. Their music was a good company to our dialogue.
On the Christmas Day, we celebrate the birth of the Savior. But His birth is meaningful only when He becomes our Lord as well. His birth and redemptive death on the Cross bear fruits only when our hope for the promised return of our Lord becomes evident in our lives, His return being not as the slain lamb but as the Lion of Judah. As the King of the kings and the Lord of the lords. Not to die again but to judge and reign.
On this Christmas Day, may this confession be ours together! May we worship Him with deep gratitude. Thank you, Lord! - Jeffrey