If your calendar is moving like mine, you’ll know what I mean when I say “we’re about ready to wrap up the year”. Year end is an important time in ministry as there are often reports to be given, special planning (reviewing the past and looking forward to next year), and occasionally a reminder of the need for additional funds for ministry so we can “wrap up the year in the black”.
Faith and I feel a bit like we’re still wrapping up from 48 days of traveling in August, September, and October. During that time, we had meetings or connections in 12 states and drove or flew across a few more. We’re thankful for good contacts and visits. Many of them produced wrap-up work.
There are 7 “grands” that have Grandma and Grandpa wrapped around their fingers. We’ve been able to see them a few times this fall for quick visits and look forward to Christmas, when we’ll all be together. Faith’s parents will be joining in the festivities so they can see their “grands” and “greats”. With that in mind, it’s about time to finish wrapping gifts with wrapping paper!
But, before we get all wrapped up in Christmas, let’s remember the angel’s word to the shepherds in Luke 2:12. "And this will be the sign to you: you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." He was easy to identify - Christ is not hard to find!
After He was wrapped as a Babe, about 33 years later Jesus was wrapped as a Sacrifice. “(Joseph) bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb . . .” (Mark 15:46) The wrapping that we celebrate at Christmas was necessary for the wrapping that took place on Good Friday.
Then, to show that His work was done, John 20:7 tells us that on Easter, the disciples found “the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.” Christ’s resurrection wrapped up the payment for sin - no more animals needed to be sacrificed!
I find it hard to wrap my head around the wrapping in poverty of a king who then was wrapped as a dead man, only to rise from the dead, and tell us that His work as Savior was complete by a wrapped napkin!
I guess I really should keep under wraps that Faith had another birthday last month. Actually, we’re both thankful for birthdays, even though they come around faster than usual (just like a movie that has been put on fast forward)! It’s been 5 years ago this week that Faith began a lengthy hospital stay with surgery for cancer. Twelve years ago this week, I got my helicopter ride for a heart attack. Since this seems historically to be an eventful week, we’re thankful that we both are doing well (and always glad when it’s over!)
Here is a trivia fact for you - one of our favorite lunch foods is a wrap!
Since we’re trying to wrap up 2017 in the black, let me tell you that as of November 30, our support has been about 82% of the board established level. We’re thankful for many folks that the Lord uses to provide for us. Also, it’s been several years since we have raised the fees for membership in ANAM; yet, as we all know, costs keep rising. If you would like to have a part in either our support OR in the General Fund of ANAM, please send your gift to the ANAM Business Office (address below).
A final thought: “God does not promise us that life will be free of sorrow and difficult trials, but He does promise us He will always be there to guide us through . . . wrapped in His arms of love.” - Kimberly McCormick
May God bless you during this wonderful Christmas season as we anticipate the blessings of 2018!