December 2012 Update
Phil & Karen Coppola (1984)
Dear Prayer Partners,
Christmas is my favorite time of the year… a time of great joy, being
with family and loved ones, and the memories that come are often filled with powerful images of those who cared for me… my mom’s favorite soup tureen filled with chicken soup and ricotta-filled ravioli… going to Grandma Coppola’s house for Christmas eve… my first Christmas with my wife, when I bought her a rocking chair that was so big that I couldn’t get it in the front door. As I have grown in my faith, I have also come to cherish the story of that first Christmas, but perhaps not for the reasons that you might think. One of these days, when we all have the time, I am going to write a book called Forgotten at Christmas which will focus on all of those who longed for the And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him…(Mt. 1:24) Messiah, heroes of great faith, who are only given a glancing nod or a gentle smile in the pages of Scriptures… working class shepherds (yet unnamed),
shaken by a heavenly message and sent on a mission to seek the Savior… Simeon, content to live out his senior years in service to God (waiting for the consolation of Israel)… and most of all, Joseph, a man of such righteous character that he gave up his reputation,
gave up the moral high ground, gave up everything that he had worked to achieve in order to protect Mary from disgrace and then, the Christ child from the sword of Herod. Christmas reminds us that obedience to God does not wrap up into a neat little box with a ribbon on top… it is often messy (the cattle stall), misunderstood (How can this be?), and threatening (Where is he that is born
King of the Jews?)… Christmas calls for great faith and sacrifice… it takes courage, perseverance, and the will to serve no matter what the personal cost.
We are finishing our ninth year on the field of Cambodia and
look forward to furlough in 2013 and visiting with you, our faithful
friends. God does not promise that your gifts, your faith, or your
prayers will provide some tangible reward for “services rendered.”
However, with your help, we have been able to make a difference in
Cambodia training pastors and helping missionaries understand the culture and plant indigenous churches.
Thank you for all that you have done to make this year successful.
We are partners together in this ministry. We could not do this alone.
Neither the shepherds, Simeon, and Joseph saw the miracles
of Jesus, his healing ministry, or were witnesses to his death and
resurrection. Yet, they walked in faith, because they believed the
promises of God.
It is easy to get lost in the busyness of the season. So much to do…
so little time. Perhaps we should reflect on those whose character
was revealed by that first Christmas. The faith that went seeking for
the Savior. The perseverance that waited patiently for His coming.
The courage that obeyed God at great personal cost. That is the real
story of Christmas.
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