World Report

December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas from the Lees

From the Superintendent's DESK

For most of us, the Christmas season is a time of anticipation. As youngsters, my six siblings and I could hardly wait for Christmas to arrive. Those last days and hours leading up to it went by much too slowly! Our children felt that way, and now our grandchildren go through the same painstaking exercise in patience each year. When the day finally comes and the long-anticipated gifts are presented, they are quickly opened. Typically, functional gifts are set aside in hope that a “better” one might be coming next. When such a gift is received, expressions of delight meet it.

Can you imagine anyone receiving a gift and setting it aside without even bothering to open it, having no clue as to its value? I did something like that on Christmas Eve 1973, one week before my twenty-first birthday. I had attended a midnight candlelight service out of a sense of obligation to the one who invited me. That night, the Christmas message was faithfully delivered through song and a short message. I have little memory of the service itself except for not caring for the minister in charge. The problem was not with him, however; it was with me. Far away from God, dull of heart, and with no desire or sense of my need to be reconciled to Him, I left the service feeling it would have been better to have gone to bed early. There was no awareness on my part that a priceless gift had been offered to me.

Thankfully, the responsiveness lacking on that Christmas Eve in 1973 was awakened less than three months later when I attended my first Apostolic Faith church service. I was dramatically saved and my life was instantaneously transformed. It has never been the same. In that sense, the gift of salvation is “functional” even if it initially fails to capture interest. Accepting and embracing this gift yields the same result in every life, though the details of “opening” it may vary.

Debbie and I pray that you and all your loved ones have or soon will experience the fullness of God’s gift to the human race. From our home to yours, Merry Christmas, and may God bless your 2017 as Jesus tarries.