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christmas manger1Dear Cybersaltines,

It's Christmas Eve here at Cybersalt World headquarters.  The house is beginning to smell "turkeyish" and we're making the last of our preparations for a family dinner followed by Christmas Eve service at the church later tonight.  On behalf of Grandma Cybersalt and myself, I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a truly blessed and peace filled Christmas.  We also want to share with you our family Christmas card.  As a part of Cybersalt you have been a part of our lives this year (bigger than you know) and we thank you for that!  You'll find that card at: Christmas Card 2013.

I know that this e-mail will find many of you saddened and even struggling at this time.  As I was thinking about that fact earlier, a memory from after my grandfather's funeral - more than 30 years ago - came to mind.  I was a teenager and I was devastated by his loss (even though Alzheimer's disease had taken him from us years before.)  I remember riding along in a limo with my family on the way to the cemetery while all along the route people went about their business like nothing had happened.  My world was rocked and reeling but THE world was not.  My life had been stopped by a great chasm of grief but outside and all around our motorcade of mourning life tick-tocked with what seemed like yawning indifference and insensitivity. It's amazing how the presence of so many people and so much activity can increase one's sense of loneliness and isolation.

Magnified isolation and loneliness is the effect that Christmas celebrations have on the hurting and the broken.  But note that I said, "Christmas celebrations" and not "Christmas" itself. For Christmas itself is a reminder that God sees the isolated and lonely and not just those disenfranchised by the systems and sorrows of this world. Jesus, God made flesh, came into the world to rescue all of humankind from their sin caused isolation from and loneliness for God.  As if that wasn't amazing enough, he did this before we even asked or cared to ask.  He loved us before we loved him.

In a world that so often seems to not see us, God already has seen us and is reaching out. In a world that often feels like it couldn't care less for us, Jesus is ready to carry us.

So wherever you are or however this finds you, I pray that this Christmas reminds you that God loved you first and that He loves you now. I pray that you will be gripped by all that implies.

Sincerely,

Pastor Tim

PS, if you want to now more about that "Loved First" care God has for you, I invite you to listen to my message at:
http://westsidefamily.org/christmas/loved-first

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