"'Tis the season," which is a very good reason for keeping in touch. Nothing much has changed since last year. We're still "on assignment" from the Lord, in Neosho, MO, living in our little travel trailer by the barn on the family farm. Lenny still shouts encouraging words to the Baptist men's Sunday School class, and I still answer what seems like a zillion e-mail letters every day to folks all over the planet. We get new readers every week and are now mailing to many countries around the world. I still volunteer at Medicalodge (local nursing home) every Sunday, which has been a great blessing for me.
My pre-holiday spirit took a nose dive recently as a result of three "snail mail" letters from a reader in Canada. She took me to task for having our 1999 Holiday letter on The Glory Road website, because, she pointed out, Christmas comes from a pagan holiday which Christians ought not celebrate at all, in any way. Not a card, not a light, not a tree, and certainly not a manger scene!
Her letter reminded me again that nit picking, spirit numbing legalism of any kind causes division and chaos in the church, the temple, the synagogue, the mosque, and even the White House. It is always about who is right; who is wrong; whose fault it is; who needs to reform or repent; who needs to make reparations, and yes, who needs to be punished.
Isn't it amazing how many self appointed judges, juries, and trial lawyers (Pharisees) there are lurking in every organization, both sacred and secular, including Cyberspace? Well, here's the GOOD NEWS! God is not like that! (Rom. 5:6-8).
This brings me to the reason that I write a Holiday letter at all. It's not to boast about our accomplishments, our triumphs, our brilliant kids and spectacular grand kids. The reason I write is to tell you THE GOOD NEWS: God's love for His creation is UNCONDITIONAL! (Jn. 3:16-17; II Pet. 3:9; I Tim. 2:4).
He loves us all and extends His UNCONDITIONAL MERCY AND KINDNESS to us, everyone (Lk. 6:35). This means Jews and Greeks, nerds and geeks, blacks and whites, and Afghanites, Europe, Asia, Africa, all. God loves everyone, short and tall. Or as the Psalmist said, "The Lord has made known His salvation: his righteousness has He openly shown in the sight of the heathen" (Ps. 98:2). Isaiah declared, "The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God" (Is. 52:10). "And all flesh shall see the salvation of God" (Lk. 3:6).
I don't know anyone who thinks Jesus was actually born on December 25th, but so what? If we stop our busy lives long enough to hear the angels sing or give a gift of love and hope to a small child, isn't that a wonderful way to affirm, "Peace on Earth, Good will toward men?" (Lk. 2: 14). I think so, and that's what we wish you this December, 2000, and beyond. Have a bang up millennium holiday, a Happy New Year, and remember that doctrine is not what matters to God! Love is what counts.
We pray that you will see God in everyone you meet and express His love in all you do, and that you come to know Him as "a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (I Peter. 1:19). As we join our hands and hearts in love and forgiveness for each other, we will begin to see the fulfillment of the glad tidings spoken by the angel to the shepherds the night Jesus was born. "And lo, the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." (Lk. 2:10).
There's a link below to Jan's poem, "For Unto Us."
Happy Holidays to you and yours
from Jan and Lenny
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail mail)
Jan's holiday poem, "For Unto Us,"
The Glory Road
"Behold the Light"
We always enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web 12/07/00
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister
and last edited on 11/06/08.