Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good weekend. This morning I cleaned the apartment and made a new chicken dish and went to get my new computer. I can’t use it yet until we call in and get certain things hooked up so I am using my old one now, Hope it won’t get too complicated. Tomorrow is the S.S. Christmas program and that is always a special time. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart,
Our gatherings for Christmas will all be smaller this year but even in the smallest get-to-gathers, I would suspect forgiveness is needed. We all get wounded by remarks said to us over the past years, things done to us and hurtful attitudes towards us; and some may feel relieved that this Christmas they are excused from seeing the ones who have caused their pain. But no matter what, we need to forgive! But forgiveness doesn’t mean we condone what they did or in any way approve of it, but it is really a gift we give ourselves as Father Haase writes about. He had to forgive his father for committing suicide when he was a young boy which left his mom, who had been a stay at home mom, to support him and his siblings. Forgiveness didn’t happen until years later when he was preparing for the priesthood and received therapy. He discovered deep down he was angry and  had to not only forgive his father for leaving the family in such a dire situation but he had to forgive God who allowed it to happen. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we forget things done to us but that we extend mercy for the demand for justice. Our flesh nature wants to get even, to play the victim, to feel justified in our responses, but forgiveness is really a decision we make and not a feeling. It starts with an act of our will but is more like a process that influences our heart. Just as Father Haase had to come to the realization that he blamed God and needed to forgive, maybe we need to forgive God as well. For some, the hardest person to forgive is ourselves as we have deep regrets. Our part is to confess those things which seem to lose their power when we admit it to another as well. We also have to quit ruminating over the past and just celebrate God’s grace. Paul came to know that as he says in II Cor. 12:9 (The Message) “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” He experienced God’s forgiveness for persecuting His followers and went on to experience much grace. Let us forgive others, forgive God and forgive ourselves.
Challenge for today: Recall someone who has hurt you and choose to forgive.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy