I've received a few early Christmas gifts this year and like any kid who is excited about Christmas, I've already opened them. I've been very grateful for the kindness shown and the thought and effort that has gone into the gifts. They have been very creative and even difficult to find, yet the meaning represented in these tokens are special.
Tonight I received a gift in the mail that totally shocked me. It was a Toronto Maple Leaf Jersey (the hockey team I follow) and it had Auld on the back. As someone who grew up in Canada following this team and watching Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night, a jersey like this is special in and of itself. But when I saw the name and heard the story from my wife behind this gift, it encouraged my heart like it hasn't been encouraged for a while.
I have no desire to go into the story as there are some things a pastor holds near and dear to his heart with the Lord, but these are individuals at Grace that I've gotten to know and share life with through some hard times. The grace and faithfulness of God has been evident throughout this year and it's been my absolute joy to live in Biblical community with these people. There were times when we all grew weary, but there is something special about getting down to the nitty gritty of life and watching God work in us as Christ followers walking this journey of life together.
This jersey will always be one of those gifts that encourages my heart to keep on serving the Lord together in community as the Body of Christ. My days aren't always going to be easy as a pastor, but night's like tonight will keep me believing with all my heart that Christ through His local church is indeed the only hope for individuals, couples, families and the world!
Be looking soon for this jersey on a Sunday morning!