Christmas 2011

Somehow it has taken me until today to actually get in the Christmas spirit this year. While John is nestled all snug in his bed (he has a trip in the a.m.), I thought I would write a few words (or so) to share where we are in our lives.

John and I have been blessed to share another year of growing together & loving each other through the usual trials of life. Between flying, maintenance & dirt-moving projects he’s been staying busy. I’m still trying to finish high school (with the kids) and keep up with my little Joneses (Adam & Dylan, grandsons #1 & #2). Jamie (29) continues to be happily married to Lindsey (teacher & coach) and has been successful in launching an at-home career balancing little boys and a home-based business. Mark (21) moved on to continue his college pursuits at Columbus College of Art & Design & will be attending College for Creative Studies in Detroit next semester to major in transport design. It’s great having him home for a few weeks, though we don’t see a lot of him for some reason (she’s cute and really sweet). Allison (17) is working on her senior year of high school and pursues a creative bent with art in various forms. Her real passions are Ivan (mutt), Tito (newly adopted feline), and a couple goldfish. Luke (15)’s claim to fame is his 6’5” frame and a talent for modifying Nerf guns to be deadly weapons (at least in Nerf wars). We are an average family who loves God and enjoys being together, and we couldn’t be more grateful for that.

This past Sunday, our pastor of many years delivered a message that really spoke to my heart. Not your traditional Christmas sermon, it focused on the “surprises” surrounding the first Christmas. At the end, he challenged us to be open to God surprising us this Christmas. Well, I’ve been around for 49 Christmases, and except for the Christmas our house burned down and one spent overseas, they’ve been your average, traditional Christmases. I knew this one was going to be different when we received the news that our dear son-in-law’s father was found dead last Friday. Clay, a confirmed hippie, lived alone and free of most of the constraints most of us find ourselves bound by. We always liked Clay & were blessed to have him in our home for some special get-togethers with the family. This simple, down-to-earth guy was evidently loved by many people we never knew, as evidenced at his funeral. His talent with people was that he made many of his friends feel that he was their best friend.

It would be easy to look at his appearance, his unusual collection of friends, his almost primitive living situation (no electricity, no running water, by choice) and his lack of interest in church, and come to the usual conclusions. And, I admit, I did. Then I heard and saw another side. He loved people and he raised his son to love others because of the love he found in Christ many years ago. A lack of love from those who should have been demonstrating love in difficult circumstances influenced his decision to abandon the formality and function of “church.” But he kept his focus on I Corinthians chapter 13. Look it up.

While I may not agree with some of his decisions, I also readily admit that he had some things really right.

If I dress nicely, have a nice home, pursue ministry to others, and do all the things that Christians are supposed to do, but fail to share the love of Christ with everyone, then how am I exhibiting the ultimate test of the evidence of my faith in Christ? The Bible clearly teaches us that true believers will be demonstrating a combination of truth (saving knowledge of Christ), obedience (live it), and love (God & others). Somehow in our zeal, we may become so focused on one that we fail to live out the others. I think my Christmas surprise this year was the realization that an old hippie with a penchant for keeping everything that was important to him and letting go of the rest has a lot to teach me about loving others. I’m thankful for the reminder that Jesus loved not the self-righteous religious, but those who realized their need for a Savior. And for grace.


Kisti for the Huffmans

Pastor John’s sermon: “Christmas Surprises” scroll down to the Special Sermons section, date 12/18/11