Terry Paulson

The afternoon was filled with the aroma of homemade lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs and the sounds of a couple of dozen people chatting happily. Some called Janice an angel. She laughed and said, “I’m just an Italian New Yorker who likes food and seeing people mix.” But after a rough year, she confessed that this unique Christmas celebration had been a powerful experience. She said. "It's been really touching for me. I think when this is all over I'm going to go into a room and cry." Once again, Christ came through believers into another Christmas—“I’m not here to be served, but to serve.”

Overwhelmed with anguish, Dong Yun Yoon walked in the rubble of what had been his University City home. His wife, two children and mother-in-law had been killed when a fighter jet lost power and crashed through their home and burst into flames.

"I believe my wife and two babies and mother-in-law are in heaven with God, and He is taking care of them,” Yoon said. At his first news conference, Yoon went on to ask for guidance from people who have suffered "more terrible things." There was no lawyer standing next to Dong Yun Yoon seeking someone to blame and sue. Instead, his family, his pastor and members of his Korean United Methodist faith community surrounded him with love and support.

Yoon shed tears for his loss but also took time to comfort the jet's Marine pilot who ejected safely from his F/A-18D Hornet. He called the pilot “one of our national treasures.” "I pray for him not to suffer for this accident," Yoon told reporters, "I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could." Once again, Christ’s love shines through a believer into this Christmas season with the greatest gift of all, forgiveness—“I’m not here to be served, but to serve.”

As the economic challenges continue to grow, more jobs will be lost, more foreclosures will be made and more tears will be shed. This Christmas, as we look to the New Year, the opportunities to serve are only going to increase. Instead of impersonal bailouts using taxpayer money and debts future generations will have to pay, for Christians and non-Christians alike, this is not a time to ask for gifts, but a time to be a gift to your neighbors in need. This Christmas, may you be a Merry Christmas blessing to others in your midst!

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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