A Christmas Letter Like No Other

Pastor Tom Hubbard  |  December 16, 2020

2020. Is there anything else to write about? Don’t answer that, it is rhetorical (there, I have always wanted to say that). Some of you may have wondered about my retirement, maybe 3 people. It has been strange. Yes, many important reasons. First, it was strange having Susan go off to work two different part-time jobs, leaving me at home with the wash and the dishes. Second, it was strange not seeing people, i.e., the staff, the ABF folks, the Friends, and even my tennis buddies. Third, it was strange because evidently God did not get my list of “expectations.”

Do you know how much trouble you can get into with those “e” (expectations) critters? The first two reasons we can understand and explain, but number three is a problem. We have expectations from God and when He fails us, we get mad… you did know there was an election this fall? Plus, I had hopes of supplementing our income with a simple part-time job – bummer, not qualified. “What? All the people skills I have and experience! Come on, God, what’s up?”

Then there were losses… another dear friend died too soon. Plus, there were limitations on visits, hospitals were off limits, nursing and retirement homes – no access! And more “friends” died, some with just graveside services and no fellowship. Talk about “cold turkey” – too abrupt.

Here’s where reality sets in. I actually believe God’s Word. Consider those parts that remind us of His plan & purpose: “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32)

Then, this part is true as well: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18) You could almost call Romans, chapter 8 a Christmas chapter… look at how it ends: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (8:35) “Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (8:39)

I think there are 2 things missing from this virus: the mind has taken over the heart and we have misplaced tenderness and consideration of others. There is anger and selfishness and our expectations have interfered with right thinking. 2020, more than any other year, can be identified as “my way or the highway.” Is God pleased with what we have offered Him in 2020?

Might be a little tough to wish people a “Merry Christmas,” hmmm? It is important to realize that circumstances that are beyond our control should not immobilize us or cause great fear. The Apostle Paul tells us this, “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Phil. 4:11-13). May the Lord bring delight into your heart and mine as we trust Him and give Him glory for all He has accomplished for us on the cross.

Emmanuel = God with us

Pastor Tom