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100 Ogden Lane
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
USA

865.483.0320

Weeky E-News

Gift Exchange

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey, everyone!

Or better…"Whew! Everyone!"

As in, "Whew! Christmas is over! "

Only thing left to do is go to the mall to exchange gifts that didn’t “fit”, continue the digestion process after yesterday, pack those decorations back up next week, stow 'em all away back in the attic or shed, and in the meantime, enjoy the "after Christmas glow"!

By the way, if you didn't make it to our Christmas Eve service, our Christmas choir rocked the house! And it was packed! We had so many candles lit by the end of “Silent Night”, it was getting kinda warm in there!  I thought the sprinklers might go off! That would have been a Christmas memory!

I didn't really get everything done I needed to this year. I was going to make all these amazing, spectacular Christmas cookies...and I have also decided that I'm going to become a master baker and there were several delicious dough-y intentions I found in the December Southern Living that never made it into or out of our oven.

I hadn't really thought about how disappointed I was for not getting everything done 'til I read about Chet Fitch. He died in October at 88 a few years ago. He knew it was coming. So he wrote notes on thirty-four Christmas cards for special friends and gave them to an accomplice to mail in December. The return address was "Heaven"!

The notes inside said, "…Wish I could tell you about things here but words cannot explain… I'll probably be seeing you (some sooner than you think). Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. Chet Fitch"

A friend for nearly 25 years, Debbie Hansen Bernard said, "All I could think was, 'You little stinker!!' It was amazing," she said. "Just so Chet…always wanting to get the last laugh."

Guess he did!

And he also got his Christmas cards done! Even though he was 88!

And dead!

So, I'm not feeling so good about not getting stuff done!

It's amazing how the holidays…and especially this one…can “get to you” in some of the darker corners of your heart. You feel like you just didn’t do enough. Maybe you didn’t try hard enough, Yuletide-wise. You feel like you’re the Christmas tree light bulb that burned out and made the whole string go out. And if they keep trying ‘em all, somebody’s gonna find out it was you! 

Sometimes it feels like, after the eggnog carton is (thankfully) in the garbage and the multi-colored, torn up wrapping paper is all in the big black plastic bags, that Christmas guilt just keeps hangin' around.  Sometimes Christmas guilt feels like the last package you open!

"Did I do enough?"

"Did I get the wrong thing for that person? Did they really like it?…or did they just say they did?"

"Did I spend enough on this person to really say 'I love you'? How much money says, "'I love you'?"

Yikes! Santa didn't leave that gift of "Season's Guilt-ings"! I think Satan's the one that leaves you that stuff!

"Jesus is the reason for the season"….and giving you and me a clean, forgiven heart is the reason He came. So we could be free of guilt!! At Christmas and all the year through! “Nothing to lose and nothing to prove!” 

Both Now and Forevermore !! 

Amen!!

Jesus came to give gifts. He said…

 "I came to give eternal life…"

"My peace I give you…"

I give a spring of water welling up to eternal life"

If you wound up with a box of Christmas guilt, why not take it back and exchange it? It doesn’t fit you. And it doesn’t look good on you. You don’t need a receipt because it isn’t really yours.

Exchange it for the gifts Jesus came to bring you, like…

Peace. 

A clean heart.  

His whole-hearted acceptance and affirmation of all of you, all the time.

And unlike that electric nose hair trimmer and that Christmas necktie where Rudolph’s nose lights up…

His gifts are gifts you can really and truly love and enjoy everyday!

All day!

All year!!

Merry Post-Christmas, everyone!