This year for Christmas Eve we went down to Elche and spent the evening with my in-laws. We got together with Lorenzo and Ana Maria on Christmas day and had a wonderful time together. They asked me to dress up like Santa Clause for their 3 year-old daughter. She was supposed to recite a poem to get her gift. But when I asked her for her poem, she started balling. We went straight to the gifts!
We were able to visit all of our neighbors this last week to leave them a Christmas card and a small calendar with daily Scripture readings. Several of them opened up the topic of the gospel. The lady who lives directly next door to us commented that many times she hears us singing on Sundays and enjoys it. She told us that one Sunday she would stop by. Another neighbor told us that she had visited the Jehovah's Witnesses before and that she has some questions. We are thankful for these doors that the Lord is opening up for us to witness.
Much of my time this week has been spent preparing the classes on Jeremiah that I will be giving in Madrid in two weeks. It has been a blessing to work with this book and understand it a little better. Yesterday I preached from Jeremiah 45. The book has a number of passages where Jeremiah complains to God, and God answers the prophet's complaints. In this chapter, God talks to the prophet's helper and helps him see the big picture. Instead of seeking great things for himself, he must understand that God is doing His work and that He will protect his servants, but not necessarily make them "great" in other's eyes. I thought this was an appropriate message for the end of the year. As we think about plans for the new year, we must be careful that our own ideas of "great things" do not subtilely replace God's will! Maria Eugenia and Sergio were out of town this week, but a family came up from Alicante to visit us. After the service we all went down to Alicante to enjoy a Christmas/New Year's meal with the Alicante church. In the evening we met with Lorenzo, Ana Maria and Maria and spent some time singing, sharing blessing from the past year, and reading the Scriptures together.