Isaiah 32 & 35 (NLT), selected verses, emphasis mine (these are prophetic verses foretelling Jesus’ coming

 Look, a righteous king is coming!  Then the wilderness will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will become a lush and fertile forest.  Justice will rule in the wilderness and righteousness in the fertile field.  And this righteousness will bring PEACE. Quietness and confidence will fill the land forever.

 My people will live in safety, quietly at home.  They will be at REST. Even though the forest will be destroyed and the city torn down, God will greatly BLESShis people.  Wherever they plant seed, bountiful crops will spring up.  Their flocks and herds will graze in green pastures.

 The desert will blossom with flowers. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and JOY!

 With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.  Say to those who are afraid, “Be strong and do not fear for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf.  The lame will leap like a deer and those who cannot speak will shout and sing! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness and streams will water the desert.  The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.  Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.

 Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return to Jerusalem, singing songs of everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be overcome with JOY and GLADNESS.

 John 3:16

 For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only son. That whosoever believeth in him shall have everlasting life.

 Conciseness and eloquence escape me my friends and family.  This is in light of the magnitude of what we celebrate going into the Christmas season.  The gift of Christmas is unparalleled.  I’ve been writing these Advent letters for years now.  I’ve acknowledged before the greatness of our God and the amazing wonder of salvation through Jesus.  I believe that Jesus came to earth as a babe, grew into a man, died for our sins, that if we believe we can be secured everlasting joy that does not cease and only grows when we leave this world behind.  But, listen to me.  LISTEN TO ME.    Without this belief, life is bleak.  Without my faith it would be impossible to embrace the Hope, love, joy and peace that I have been given and which I absolutely, daily depend on.  I stare death in the face.  (I am being stark; but I want you to know where I’m coming from and that this is what happens when I know that the average person who has my disease only lives for one year. ps. I do not intend to be “average” and invite you to continue praying with me on this front; but, these are the facts.)  My outlook could be so dismal.  My prognosis could zap the joy from my days ahead.  Many of you have mentioned how you are amazed at my attitude.  I’ll tell you that I don’t want to live with an alternative attitude.  Indeed, it is work for me to stay positive on a daily basis. But I choose to stay positive.  How? Ultimately and completely by my faith (through reading the bible, praying and spending time in community with other like-minded people) and by the power of God.

 Reread those verses above.  Jesus brings peace, rest, blessing, joy, gladness and love. The angels announce, “I bring you good news of great joy for EVERYONE!” (Luke 2:10)     

I feel my words’ inadequacies to proclaim how truly great this news is.  So, I pray; ferventlyI pray, that you too would experience this life-changing, life-giving, peace, rest, blessing, joy, gladness and love this Christmas.

 If you do not know God and his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who is given to believers, I beg you to open your heart and your mind to experience the hope, love, joy, and peace he gives.  That baby in the manager means EVERYTHING.   He changes EVERYTHING. Open your hands and your hearts to cherish Jesus’ birth.          

 Now, because of this, let’s celebrate this Christmas in absolute extravagance of our hearts.  Let’s celebrate richly everything we have been given.  Throw the confetti up in the air.  Sing, dance, laugh, party.  This is worth celebrating!