Are you ready for Christmas yet?  YIKES! How did it sneak up on us so quickly?? I hope on this past weekend of thanksgiving that we all took time to thank god for all of the blessings in our lives……

Are you perhaps, one of the many this year having a bit of trouble trying to describe last year??  For MANY people I have been talking to, this was a tough year financially, tough on the job, tough on family relationships.  Holidays and heartache are a rough combination. Let me just bring up for a moment, a famous Christmas character’s name- the name “Ebenezer”.  Did you know that it is a Bible name?

Most people associate the name Ebenezer with Scrooge and Christmas.  But the name originates in the Old Testament- when someone followed God’s leading, through tough times and good times, on to what God had for them- they would set up a large stone to help them remember.  The stone was called, “Ebenezer” or “thus far the Lord has helped me.”  Meaning, every time you looked at that rock, you would remember just how far God has brought you. They would go out year and after year and show their kids the Ebenezer rock and say, “See kids- this is how far God brought us.”  God brought his people through darkness, war, plague, deserts- and He was with them every moment every step.  And when they finally took that promised ground, through a lot of tears and pain, they would set up that big rock to help them remember always, “This is how far our God brought us.”

I hope this doesn’t sound too strange, but I felt God leading me to do this in a way, for my year 2014.  for my family this was a year of severe high and lows.  And there were battles, victories, wounds etc.  And I felt God leading me to look back over the year and write down what happened each month, and God’s response to it- ie “my friend needed surgery”  then “she recovered quickly”   and “medical bills”  then “God provided unexpected income” etc.  Before long, I began to see clearly how God had walked with us through every battle, and provided even miraculously for us. He didn’t spare us the deserts, but He went alongside us and lit up the nights.  I can honestly say, when I look back at 2014, “Ebenezer- look how far God has brought us.”

Maybe you can’t look back at 2014 and say, “What a prosperous year” or “What a fun year”  or “best year of my life”  but many of us can say- just look how far God has brought me now!  And what better time than Christmas to share a story or two with your kids about your own family’s Ebenezer- tell them how far God has brought your family and what He has brought you THROUGH.

The best part of all this is hope- the spirit of Christmas indeed.  The hope –the CERTAINTY that the same God Who has brought us through will bring us on to even greater things; and He’ll be with us all the way.  What has God brought you through this year?  When you set up your tree this year, (along with a leaner Christmas perhaps), don’t forget to set up your family Ebenezer- and rejoice.  Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare  and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.