The people crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month. Then they camped at Gilgal, just east of Jericho. It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River. Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them,

‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.'”

Joshua 4: 19-22 (NLT)

For the past two weeks, in the Believing God study, we looked at the story of Joshua and the children of Israel at Gilgal. Gilgal means”circle” and illustrates the full circle necessary for the nation of Israel to complete before entering the Promised Land. This week has been a kind of Gilgal for me in several ways. Although busy, I have enjoyed the stuff of Christmas. Last year is just a blur in my mind since it was so dominated by my mother’s fall and final graduation…it was actually on this very day. But this year I made four kinds of Christmas cookies, mailed out Christmas cards (even with a letter since life has been so crazy), had friends over, and enjoyed being invited to friends for dinner. My heart was lifted once again as we enjoyed a wonderful concert, given in our community by a group called The Gatekeepers. Fourteen young people, with talents both vocally and instrumentally, delighted us with the traditional carols and sacred music of the season. We stood to our feet, rejoicing together in praise, as they performed the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. Yes, the miracle of life was given to us in the birth of the baby Jesus, the King of Kings and LORD of Lords. It feels good to have some of the traditional activities back, however, I have a much better understanding of the real substance of Christmas. Jesus is the one who took hold of my hand last year in my grief and held on while He led me along many paths this year. I am so thankful that I have His promise that I will never have to walk alone. If things get too hectic and the joy is missing in your home, remember that Gilgal represented a new beginning. Start over…today…and join in the hope and wonder of Christmas.