Wow! It’s hard to believe that we are already saying Merry Christmas. A neighbor put up an inflatable Santa with the countdown to Christmas starting on day 60, we chuckled, thinking Christmas is a long ways off. That seems like yesterday. This has indeed been a whirlwind year. So much has happened, I could tell you about the 200+ moves that we completed this year, or the 150+ pickups for auction that we provided, or maybe the 300+ homes I visited and clients I met with, but that wouldn’t be the best part of the year. I could tell you about my oldest son Sam, coming home to work with me after serving with the Marines for the past four years, or Mac who is a junior at VCU and is one of the happiest people you have ever been around. I could tell you about Scotty, who is a few weeks away from turning 18 and is thriving at MTC in the dental program. Or I could tell you about Ryan, who at 16 is the baby of the family and still lights up any room he walks into with his smile and friendly hug. I could even tell you about Elizabeth, who after 28+ years of marriage is still my best friend and the love of my life. I could spend all day talking about family and work and that would be great, but it still wouldn’t be the best.
Unfortunately the best and the greatest gift this year shone the brightest during the most painful days of my life. On October 31st my nephew took his own life. Hunter was born 3 months before Sam and even though he grew up 2½ hours away, our lives were very intertwined. I could spend the rest of the day talking about this tragedy and the emotions, thoughts and the pain that goes with it (a pain so intense that it has left us raw), but it’s Christmas and I want to get to the present.
Sitting with the family at the hospital on that dreadful day you realize that everything has been stripped away. What I thought was important the day before I realized was trivial. Over the next few days and weeks from sitting through the funeral to crying over an empty chair at the Thanksgiving table, one thing kept resurfacing. The hope we have in Jesus.
This hope isn’t the same as my saying “hope” you have a good day, or I “hope” Golden State wins the NBA championship again. No this hope is guaranteed by God’s promises. Hope for the future, that we will be redeemed. Hope for the present, that we are not alone, but are loved and have purpose. Hope even over the past, that our failures are not greater than God’s power to forgive and transform. Our hope for forgiveness, for reconciliation with God and eternal life, rests on the finished work of Jesus. The sinless Son of God, died to pay the penalty for our sins and rose from the dead so that we too might have life. Paul describes Jesus Christ as “our hope” and “the blessed hope”. Jesus not only came to bring hope. He is our hope.
Now I know when I start talking about God and hope in Jesus a lot of folks will start tuning out. But in reality nothing else matters, so how can I not share? I’ve heard the arguments: God is controlling, condemning, and close minded. My response would be maybe you haven’t met Jesus, I mean really met Him. Jesus, the son of God, humbled Himself to come to earth as an infant (Christmas is coming), led a sinless life, healed the sick and lame, and then was beaten, spit on and hung on cross to die for a crime he didn’t commit. His response? He prays! While hanging on the cross being mocked He prays “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Doesn’t sound very condemning does it? The stories go on: Jesus with the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the thief hanging on the cross next to Him, on and on stories of unconditional love, of God pursuing us, of God making a way for us to come to Him, in spite of ourselves. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This Christmas meet the real Jesus for yourself. Don’t listen or believe everything you read in the news or someone’s blog. Take time and read the Scriptures. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all tell about the life of Jesus. If you don’t have a church home, then we would love to invite you to our church. Crosslink Community Church on Route 11 across from The Village Inn. You owe it to yourself and your family to personally investigate the claims of Jesus and make your own decision.
Meanwhile, we wish you a Merry Christmas and look forward to serving you in the New Year.
God Bless, Greg & Elizabeth
Green Valley Auctions crew members. Stay tuned for more pictures to be added! (It takes a village to make sure every auction is well put together, which means we have numerous skilled employees and so it takes a few days to get pictures of every one!) 🙂