Hello Year

The trappings of Christmas started coming down this morning. As always, Mrs. Blather had transformed the home into a cheery, festive environment of warm holiday cheer back in mid-November. But by 1:00 this afternoon, it was all undone and transported to the rented storage room. Now the living area seems a bit naked.

Last year at this time I tweeted, “Goodbye, 2009. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” That was my snarky way of indicating that it had been a tough year. Indeed, it had been the most challenging year of my life up to that point. As had the previous year, 2008. Then came 2010, and I came to understand that I only thought the previous two years were tough.

So basically, if you’ve spoken to me at any time in the last three years, you’ve encountered me in the most challenging year of my life. Hopefully I was chipper. If not, forgive me. The truth is, “tough” is a very relative concept.

Persecuted believers around the world have a better handle on what it means to live through difficult times. The plight of the Christians of Iraq is particularly heartbreaking. After the expenditure of much precious American blood and mountains of treasure, today’s Iraq is one of the worst places on the planet to be a follower of Jesus Christ. How can this be?

The latest bloody attack on Iraq’s Christians was brutal in its simplicity. Militants left a bomb on the doorstep of the home of an elderly Christian couple and rang the doorbell.

When Fawzi Rahim, 76, and his 78-year-old wife, Janet Mekha, answered the doorbell Thursday night, the bomb exploded, killing them, Mekha’s brother said Friday. Three other people, apparently passers-by, were wounded.

May I ask you to prayerfully consider beginning this year with a gift to Voice of the Martyrs? It’s a wonderful organization doing important things in some of the toughest spots on earth. You can do so here.

As for me and my clan, we’re expecting great things from 2011. We’re looking for breakthroughs, restoration, and fresh opportunities to do meaningful, difference-making work.

May it be the same for you.