My children know the struggle and the blessing of divorced parents. It’s not a popular thing to talk (or write) about, but it’s a reality in the lives of half our population. My children were adults when the separation occurred, but it still has had repercussions in their lives. Not the least of which was navigating the holidays. To make life as simple as possible, I insisted that all established traditions remain intact. I wanted them to be at their maternal grandmother’s home for Thanksgiving; we celebrated there for all twenty-plus years of their lives. I have encouraged them to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with their mom – in their ‘hometown’ – where friends and family have traditionally gathered.

At times it’s been a struggle, but there have also been blessings. I gather with the children for a couple days after Christmas. And as one daughter put it, “Hey, it’s not perfect, but we get to celebrate Christmas twice!” I’m looking forward to them being at First Baptist Greenville on Sunday morning, December 27…

In a way, we get to celebrate Christmas twice at First Baptist. The Candlelight Service will be held on Sunday evening, December 20. This is one of the most well attended services of the year. In addition to candle lighting, we intentionally give generous gifts to the Lula Whilden World Mission Offering that evening. Our goal this year is $125,000. We are over halfway there. I’m hoping you’ll be overly generous at that service and ensure we meet our goal. Then, on Thursday evening, December 24, we will gather for our Christmas Eve service. Charles Tompkins will share an organ recital with us, I’ll be sharing gifts with all the children in attendance, we will celebrate communion take up an offering for our Local Relief Fund. We get to receive and share gifts – celebrate Christmas together – twice this year. And it has nothing to do with struggle or separation. We just like being together, being with God and being a faithful, generous witness in God’s world…

— Jim