“Dude! Did you see that?!” “What?” “2018…it just flew by like a shot in the dark!”

Welcome to December everyone! That is just about how most conversations are going right now. What a whirlwind of a year! And what an amazing time we all have had. The events, meeting new people, charting new paths and even revisiting old ones. Regardless of how fast it all went by, I am hoping that your year was filled with mostly good things and only a few troubles and that you were able to enjoy the ride, not just arrive.

We can’t predict our troubles; One story of troubles that comes to mind this time of year, happened a little over 2000 years ago in a little town called Bethlehem. A young couple had journeyed a long way only to find that they had no place to spend the night. So? Pitch a tent somewhere and make do you might say. We’ve all done that a time or two. Except in this story, the young woman was pregnant and about to give birth! By now you know I am talking about Mary and Joseph and the child is Jesus so what’s new? Everyone talks about this at Christmas time, after all, we wouldn’t have Christmas without Jesus. Let me continue…Joseph stepped up and asked the innkeeper for any place they could bed down, and the innkeeper suggested the animal stable in the back of the inn. Using what was available, they made it as comfortable as they could. The animals didn’t even seem to mind watching them prepare for the birth that was about to take place. They all remained calm, cool and collected. At least that’s how I envision it. But were they? I mean, here they are, hundreds of miles away from home, they’re tired and hungry, don’t know a soul around, totally depending on each other and of course, God. A God they had not ever seen. They saw angels, heard voices, had dreams, but they never really saw God. Yet they knew they needed to be where they were, not just because of a census, but because of their senses being led by the Holy Spirit. Their faith in the guidance of their heavenly Father was all they needed at that moment.

That’s a lot to take in isn’t it? Have you ever found yourself somewhere wondering why you were there? Have you had a dream that gave you a desire to do something that seemed too far out there, yet made perfect sense? Have you ever been in a hot mess wondering how you were going to get out of it? Or been stranded somewhere not knowing anyone or having a place to spend the night? Maybe you blew a tire or had a breakdown and didn’t know your surroundings well enough to get assistance. Maybe you have been in a decision-making process for your future, job changes, promotions, moves. Who do you trust? Of course! The same One Joseph trusted…God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He promised to always be there when we cry out, lead us when we are lost and get us out of trouble when we ask. The key is in the asking, that is sometimes hard to do. I know it is for me, ‘I can figure it out myself!’ is usually my motto, but I have found that the quicker I am to reach out and ask, the quicker the trouble subsides. When I try to think things through without the right guidance, it usually doesn’t come out too pretty. It’s like using a Suzuki manual to fix a Harley ignition switch…can’t be done. However, asking Jesus to be part of your life and using His manual as a guide to decision making can be done, and quite simply really. Just open your heart and ask. It’s the best gift you can give yourself and your family this Christmas!

Before I close this out, Rex and I want to take time to mention that this is Jerry Niver’s last year as Ohio State Coordinator. He and his lovely wife, Becky, have served well in this office for the past ten years and we want to wish them well as they move forward in the CMA Ministry. We salute you both and many thanks for your service!

Merry Christmas!!

Rex and Mary Gilbert

CMA Ohio State Coordinators

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