i love my wife [we don’t have kids, but if you do have kids, that is one of the best presents you can give them – love your wife well. right now, we will have to model that for other peoples kids] and today she really outdid herself with my Christmas present.

i gave her a bunch of stuff – she gave me a bunch of people.

my friends. my wife gave me my friends for Christmas. and wot a truly great gift.

in her own words in the letter she wrote me that accompanied the bix box, she wrote, “i couldn’t think of a better way of starting out than a box full of love, thanks, encouragement, & spurring on from some of the people you have influenced” and inside the box was a collection of letters and cards and video clips and pictures from a bunch of my friends saying what i’ve meant to them over the years.

in a year where i have i think for the first time in my life [except perhaps for my standard seven/grade 9 year where the year could largely be defined as me sitting playing computer games] felt to a large extent like a failure (not in life or love or ministry as a whole, but specifically in my job which contains a lot of life, love and ministry in it) and probly largely just cos people haven’t come to, or stayed at, the meetings, it was a welcome adrenalin rush to the soul and just nice to know and see and hear that a difference has been made.

the best part is that it encourages and empowers me to keep running and persevere and go for this thing cos it is so worth it when you can even catch a glimpse of an effect it has in someones life. cos it is totally not about that at all. we are called to make a difference and we don’t need to hear when we do. it’s not about patting ourselves on the back and thinking ‘ah good job faithful one’ or anything like that.

in fact, the truth is that there is only one “well done” i am ever going to be listening out for and that is when one day i stand in front of God and i hope to hear “well done my good and faithful servant” – it’s always about an audience of One.

but having said that, it was one of the best birthday presents i have ever received cos as much as it isn’t ‘necessary’ or what we’re aiming at, it is just the raddest thing to receive – encouragement and love and meaning and hope and all that. and actually maybe it is necessary after all cos Paul often starts his letters by encouraging the churches and finishes them by highlighting individuals who have been an encouragement and strength for Him – and as much as the one day ‘well done’ from God is what we aim towards, it is the occasional audible voice in our ears that does just provide us with the boost we need to keep running, and fighting and not giving up

so thank you the beautiful val (there is a guy who comments on my blog saying i can’t call her ‘beautiful’ because the bible says we are one and so i indirectly complimenting myself and it is vanity – which makes me smile) for putting so much time and effort and love into my gift and just blowing me away with such an amazing present… and thankx to all my friends who responded with love and friendship and encouragement.

the best presents we can give, probably always, is presence. i feel like i have completely received that today. thank you. thank you. thank you. [wipes tear from eye. it is so good to be able to cry so freely for a change]