“This is the last time you’ll be here for Christmas.” No one had said it until tonight. I knew it, of course, but hadn’t stopped to think about it. Actually, this is the first Christmas I’ve been in San Antonio since 2003. The other years, I’ve been out of town on a personal writing retreat. It had become a tradition for me, one that I broke this year. This year is very different.
Unless God brings me back, this is likely to be the last Christmas I spend in San Antonio or in the States. It occurred to me that there will be several more of these “last time” occurrences before I get on that plane to Honduras in June. One might think that might be depressing, but it’s really not. Rather, each of these “last time” events will be mile markers along the path God has set before me. As each one passes, I will be ever closer to the moment I set foot again on Honduran soil to start what I expect will be the most difficult, challenging, exciting, and rewarding time of my life. This is not a time to dwell on what I will be missing when I leave, but rather, I look forward with great anticipation to the work God will do in me and through me. I know that for everything I leave behind here, God will give me something far better as I serve Him wherever He leads me.
So, tonight is my probably my last Christmas Eve, and tomorrow my last Christmas Day, in the States. I am thanking God for what the future holds for me.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)