I have a confession to make.

For the first time (I can remember) in my adult life, I started listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving!

It was the day before Thanksgiving, to be exact. And I was prepping sweet potato casserole and caramel apple bread pudding. And for some reason, I decided to turn festive tunes on my Spotify, breaking my self-imposed rule to wait for two more days.

But you know what? I enjoyed it so thoroughly that I’ve decided to ditch the rule forever. After all, shouldn’t we be eager to celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus? That fragile baby in the manger altered all of history and rectifies our eternal state. I’d say that’s worthy of some cheerful melodies.

Maybe starting those Christmas songs earlier in the season, before life gets so frenzied, will offer me more opportunities to reflect on the lyrics of my favorites, as it did on this day when I went renegade and celebrated early.

I’ve always liked “Oh, Holy Night.” It paints a poignant picture of that mysterious night when our creator God became incarnate with few even noticing. But this time, as I listened while mixing the coconut, pecans, brown sugar, and butter into a topping, the words “His law is love, and His gospel is peace,” grabbed me.

What a beautiful statement! “His law is love, and His gospel is peace.”

I’m grateful to serve the God who tells us the entirety of the law can be summed up in this, to love the Lord your God with all you heart, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.

I’m beholden to the Prince of Peace.

In a world that seems divided—incompatible even—on so many topics, it is refreshing to be reminded that the Christ who came humbly to a stable ushered in an order of love and peace.

That reminder made me even more thankful when Thanksgiving came the next day.

I’m praying your holiday season will be full of love and peace.

As you pray for The Boaz Project this month, please remember:

-to pray for Christmas to be a season of love and peace for all of the orphans we serve.

-to ask God for safety and effective ministry for our team headed to Russia Dec. 9-20. This team will be visiting our work on both sides of Russia (a nine-hour plane ride apart), delivering Christmas gift

s and sharing the joy of Christmas with the children they meet.

-to thank God for little Joylin, who has been added to Bethel Children’s Home. She was abandoned by her parents because she was a girl, but has brought tremendous joy to all at Bethel.

-to pray for additional team members for our upcoming trips to India and Kenya.

-to thank God for the protection He has granted Comeback Ministries’ Children’s Home following the encounter with the member of a militant religious group. You all have been praying this past month, and God has answered!

What’s your favorite Christmas hymn or carol, and why?

Thank you!

P.S.—If you missed the following blog posts about this month about being a good short-term mission team member, you may want to check it out. Because whether you’re considering taking the plunge and signing up for your first mission trip or you’ve taken 30, intentionality goes a long way toward making your cross-cultural experience all it could be. You can read more here.

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