Dec 7, 2022 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
What was your most memorable Christmas?
I was born in the Philippines to missionary parents, but because of my dad’s leadership role in the mission headquarters in Denver, I spent most of my childhood in Colorado. Only after graduation from high school did we head overseas again, to an assignment in Germany.
Christmas came shortly after our arrival. With little money, and all of our old life left behind across an ocean, the holidays were one big improvisation. We bought toothpicks and glued them together in various patterns to make our own tree decorations. Since there were not many presents, we wrapped up items we already owned and gave them as gifts, accompanied by humorous commentary. With no TV to watch, we pulled slips of paper out of a hat for the various nativity characters and acted out the Christmas story in our living room.
There was much laughter, lively conversations, active engagement by all, and, most significantly, simplicity. Somehow, the loss we all had just experienced highlighted the greatest gifts of Christmas—Jesus, relationships, and joy.
Crisis has a way of bringing us back to the basics. And when the world shakes with uncertainty and conflict, what can’t be shaken suddenly becomes clear. Jesus is the Savior of the world, the foundation that can’t be moved.
At a recent conference for young leaders at our training center in Poland, I talked with a gifted young politician named Veronika. For the last 10 years she has been working at the EU headquarters in Brussels, preparing laws and regulations that impact a 27-country region. I was encouraged that someone with such a vibrant faith in Jesus was influencing the future of the EU. But I was even more touched when I found out that she had trusted Christ 20 years ago when she was 16 at a JV English camp in Prague.
She went on to share how she had been discipled as a young believer and then equipped to lead Bible studies of her own as a university student. Her story was so profound, but at the same time so simple. Jesus, relationships, and joy.
As you enter a Christmas season filled with instability and questions, long to-do lists, and less resources, let the shaking move you back to what can’t be shaken. May this be a season of simplicity.
Thanks for your part in bringing young people like Veronika to the light of Jesus,
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