MattAndJojang's Blog

God. Life. Spirituality.

Christmas Letter 2013

with 12 comments

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How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!

~ Isaiah 52:7

This verse keeps repeating in my mind as I contemplate on the lovely Cordillera mountain from where I sit at a coffee shop situated on the top floor of a mall here in Baguio City.

Where does this serenity in the midst of turbulence come from?

You see, the past year has been a tumultuous year for Matthew and I. We were faced with so much stress that it has taken its toll on our health.  Twice, Matthew had to be confined in the hospital, while I suffered some setbacks as well (weakened by my hospitalization around this time last year).

However, although unpleasant, this difficulty we recently faced turned out to be a faith building exercise for us. We stand witness to God’s faithfulness as big and small miracles happened… before we knew it, our concerns were being addressed… issues resolved and very slowly but surely problems solved.

To say that we are awed and humbled is an understatement … Thank you, Lord!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our doctors who patiently and lovingly take care of us. In spite of Matthew’s stress related hospitalization, he recovers much faster now than before — a marked improvement.  I, on the other hand, am grateful for my home based work wherein I do what I immensely enjoy doing.

I cannot end this letter without mentioning this blog which is a source of joy for us.  As of this writing, we have 134 followers and have reached 192,963 hits. All in a span of 5 years. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine that we will be able to reach out to so many people through this blog. It excites us that we have developed friendships on cyberspace too.  We got to meet like minded individuals who share our beliefs, convictions and interests. A wonderful blessing!

Let me end this Christmas letter with a quote from one of Matthew’s favourite authors:

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.

~ Meister Eckhart

And we say, “Thank you, Lord” … Indeed, you are good!

Here’s wishing you a meaningful Christmas and a grace filled New Year ahead.

Matthew and Jojang

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Written by MattAndJojang

December 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm

12 Responses

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  1. Thank you for reminding me of the Isaiah verse. Nothing compared to the path that you have been on, when I’ve been going through some dark times and there seems to be no light or hope around, it is often a fellow traveller that comes along side and says in strength “Our God Reigns”. Can I be so bold as to share the following poem.

    The Sun’s not yet up in the twi’ morning sky
    And a grate of white ash is what greets my eye
    So kindle and tinder I must go and find
    For the camp leader’s tea must be ready on time

    But wait now, I see a small wisp of smoke
    And the promise that comes from this small piece of hope
    Sometimes it feels like its all dead and gone
    But ‘neath the white ash a flame-spirit once shone

    The ghosts of logs-gone lie as gossamer white
    Then yield to light breath in a flight of fright
    A fading pinpoint of deep glowing red
    Shows through the cold of the white feather bed

    Penknife and stick – some shavings must make
    To coax some life for this dying soul’s sake
    For those white feathers have kept it alive
    But now in the air – it may not survive.

    Shavings of pine put gently around
    And two shreds of paper that I have just found
    Light breaths are needed – This much I know
    Patience and care and it might just go

    The sweet smell of resin is starting to rise
    And smoke comes again – a pleasant surprise
    Some more light breaths are needed again
    In the hope to see that small bright flame.

    Lots of smoke now, and a small flame’s roar
    As I blow again gently – just once more
    A definite growl this time with the air
    And crackling pine – we’re just about there

    With a pop at the end my last gentle breath
    The smoke disappears and there’s flaming instead.
    With twigs and sticks it will soon be warm
    And the tea will ready in time for the dawn

    It would be so easy to just use a match.
    Build a new fire – just start from scratch.
    Better the flame and heat from before
    Best not to discard, but rather restore

    Our Father will not let embers go cold
    Even if smothered by ghosts of logs old
    He’ll breathe on them in just the same way
    All we need do is cry Abba today.

    Senan

    December 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm

  2. A beautiful poem of hope, Senan. Thank you for sharing.

    All of us go through dark periods in life. In the words of Dante:

    “In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost.”

    Just like you, I and my wife found hope in our faith in God and encouragement from friends who have gone through a similar journey. We are specially grateful for friendships like ours that have developed in cyberspace. It’s such a source of joy and strength!

    You’re right, even in the midst of trials and challenges “Our God Reigns!” And He never leaves us or abandons us. We can always put our trust in Him no matter how seemingly difficult or impossible the situation is.

    I and my wife wish you a Blessed Christmas and a Grace-Filled New Year!

    ~ Matt

    MattAndJojang

    December 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm

  3. This is our song with The Lord while we were at Baguio City – The Lord’s dwelling He has called us to reside for nine months ( June 1989-April 1990 ) and serve with your Dad at Sacred Heart Community. Thanks for the memories and MerryChristmas.You both are in our prayers and we hope to meet and share with you.

    Bert and Alice Nunez

    December 17, 2013 at 9:49 am

  4. We’re so happy to hear from both of you.

    It’s a beautiful song, and a great reminder of God’s faithfulness and presence. For sure, He is Emmanuel — God with us — especially when we need Him most.

    Thank you for remembering us in your prayers, and looking forward to seeing both of you.

    I and Jojang wish both of you a Blessed Christmas, and a Grace-Filled New Year!

    ~ Matt

    MattAndJojang

    December 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm

  5. Wishing you a very joyful Christmas and a happy and blessed New Year!

    Bill

    December 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm

  6. Thank you, Bill.

    In spite of life’s challenges the blessings always outweigh the dark periods that inevitably come with living. Really expecting a better year ahead for all of us.

    Wishing you, too, and your family a Blessed Christmas and a Grace-Filled New Year!

    ~ Matt

    MattAndJojang

    December 18, 2013 at 10:25 am

  7. Matt and Jojang,

    What an amazement it is to see another Christmas letter from you. It’s hard to realize that another year has passed. The time seems to go more quickly every year, and yet here we are – not free of trials, but strengthened through them.

    Do you know the work of author Madeleine L’Engle? I just read one of her poems this evening, that seems to sum it up so well.

    After Annunciation

    This is the irrational season
    When love blooms bright and wild.
    Had Mary been filled with reason
    There’d have been no room for the child.

    I hope that love blooms for you in every way this Christmas, and that the Child of Christmas brings you peace and healing.

    ~ Linda

    shoreacres

    December 18, 2013 at 10:43 am

  8. Exactly my thoughts, Linda! When I woke up this morning, the thought came to me that the years have gone by in a blur. Here we are, another year has passed: a mixture of good and bad, success and failure, victory and defeat, light and darkness. Yet, after all is said and done, still a year of blessing. And looking back my heart is filled with gratitude.

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful poem. I agree, love is what the Christmas season is all about. May the love of Christ illumine our hearts, and bring us joy and peace.

    I and Jojang wish you all the blessings of a Blessed Christmas and a Grace-Filled New Year…

    ~ Matt

    MattAndJojang

    December 18, 2013 at 11:06 am

  9. just read your letter and i’m glad i did.
    here’s a cute and hungry quote i’d like to share

    Brother, as you go through life whatever be your goal
    keep your eye upon the doughnut and not upon the hole.

    Like … be contented with what you have
    and not (wish) on the things you don’t have.

    joe

    December 29, 2013 at 1:18 am

  10. Likewise. I couldn’t agree more. Matt, can I add my favourite.

    “There are two ways to be rich. To have more or to want less.”

    Senan

    Senan

    December 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm

  11. Great quote, Joe. Thanks for sharing…

    ~Matt

    MattAndJojang

    December 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm

  12. Thanks for sharing, Senan. I prefer getting rich by wanting less…

    ~Matt

    MattAndJojang

    December 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm


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