"…to the praise of the glory of His grace…" Ephesians 1:6

Christmas & the Red Envelopes in the Blankenship Christmas Tree

It is 6:35 pm and we are just winding down the main part of our family Christmas celebration (some are starting to nap, one daughter (a nurse) has headed into work and there is actually some clean up going on. It’s been quite a day. All of my kids and grandkids spent the night at our house last night (with a grandkid Christmas pageant!) – we spent some time praying for our dear friends who are celebrating Christmas in faith and tears with the loss of their 21 year old daughter last week. We got up this morning and read Matthew ‘s birth account, got ready and headed off to worship at Springs of Grace. It was a blessing to get to hear God’s Word read, sung, prayed, preached and responded to with our church family and in some ways with the collected church as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
We came home, enjoyed a lunch and then had our Christmas celebration…
Highlights included the reading of the birth of Jesus from Luke 2 – getting the gift from my children & grandkids of them quoting from memory Psalm 46 – seeing lots of thoughtful and cool gifts exchanged (some surprises included!!! – see this morning’s message for the significance of that! https://springsofgrace.church/sermons/12-25-2016-sermon/), and then my favorite is always “the red envelopes”. This is a tradition at our Christmases where money is put into red envelopes and placed on the tree for different causes or reports of donations in honor of are placed in the envelopes. (It comes from a Christmas story I would be happy to send you if you wanted a copy). It’s always exciting to open and read these envelopes – that’s my job!. This year there was a lot of money given to our missions offering (almost 10% of our 25,000 goal that would able us to secure the support of our missionaries at the outset of the year.) There was a gift to the Barnabas fund for those suffering in Aleppo, money given to our getAHEAD program towards hiring some part time teachers, money given for a summer ministry intern, money given to support HOPE918 and its ministry to the girls and women of our city – (just last week I heard about two 9th grade young ladies who heard the story of Christmas from the Bible for the very first time and that happened right here in Tulsa in one of our girls clubs. I heard girls working in HOPE918 talk about the strip club ministry and prayers they are praying for young ladies trapped in that industry. I am glad that’s on my kids’ hearts as well.) Money was given to the Rose Bowl in hopes of keeping the bills paid there so we can keep loving people in our city through that building. AND money was given to Project 61 Arts Camp in honor of the life and heart of Hosanna Joy Fry who served as an intern and was a part of the inspiration to reach out to kids through arts.

We live every day with lots of flaws and very dependent upon grace but there is something special about Christmas – when we actually behold THE GIFT given to us – “a Son is given” – it is a reminder of how we should live lives of love every day. May the Lord help us to walk in His grace and live beholding His worth and glory. “I give thanks to God for His unspeakable gift!”

Merry Christmas