Christmas, what memories that word brings to my mind, memories of bright moon-lit nights, of watching out the front window to see when the car carrying Mom and the kids and my aunt and uncle would turn down the driveway. My excitement heightened by the Christmas tree and the anticipation of what my presents might be, the smell of the food that Grama and my aunt were cooking in the kitchen. The temperature was sub-zero, the sound of car doors closing and the crunch of footsteps on the hardened skin of snow brought to a fever pitch what I was feeling. Now we were ready, we were all together at last and the fun could begin. No Christmas memory is better than that. It was all about family then and it still is.
When the festivities were over, the food was eaten, the presents were opened, the capstone of the evening was when Grama would go into her closet and bring out a big box of “Delicious” apples. Each of us could have one. We kids would be right there. That was a time when “Delicious” apples really were delicious. Cold and crunchy, the juice would drip down your chin, it was a treat we looked forward to every year.
During those days, days of childhood, God was not in my world. I was wrapped up in family. When I was eight years old I came to live with my maternal grand-parents and this was where I spent the next ten years. It was common for my grand-parents to be in church for any function and they saw to it that I was involved in children’s programs, Sunday school, choir etc. But, it was not until I was 15 years old that I met Jesus through my Dad’s sister. That experience changed my life.
Later, in my mid-thirties, when I was married and had two sons, I had an experience with Jesus that drastically changed me…I chose to allow Jesus to be Lord of my life. He set me free and I loved Him for it. God became the center of my world. I was set free from focusing on myself; my soul was delivered and I was healed.
God has provided what He calls the “Glorious Liberty of the sons of God” to any who would love Him, follow Him and obey Him. You are never more free to be who He created you to be than when Jesus is Lord of all the parts of your life. I hope you have chosen Him.
We are fast approaching another Christmas holiday. The world of today is vastly different than the world of my childhood. Some things have not changed. God remains God and He still is love, Jesus is neither a baby in a manger, nor the crucified Christ, but rather the risen. victorious Priest and King. What has changed is the world.
Change and decay are part of the whole world system, it was not designed to last forever. Yet within the heart of every human being is life, put there by God. Death is foreign and we don’t want to think about it or talk about it. Aging is hard because the world glorifies youth. The world is slowly dying, decaying and man is helping it along the way. Nowhere is this more evident than going into the stores to purchase presents for Christmas giving.
Tolerance is the world’s objective. Wishing a stranger Merry Christmas is anathema, someone may be offended, however, to tolerate is also to alienate. America is still the land of the free and the home of the brave, so I decided I would continue the tradition of wishing people Merry Christmas, only a few wished me a Merry Christmas, some paused not knowing what to say when I greeted them with the old familiar greeting. Isn’t that sad?
My mentor taught me acceptance with love for those who are different in faith or life-style than mine. God is not the one who damns people, not yet; for the Christmas story is God reaching out to a lost and dying world saying, “This is my offering to whoever will receive it.” There never is condemnation from God, only conviction of our own sinfulness against a loving and holy God and a decision that each of us must make to receive or reject His offer.
America, as we have known it, is changing rapidly. And, in my opinion, not for the better. The great consolation that I have, is that it means that we are closer to the Lord’s second coming. Each day as the darkness deepens around me the light of the Kingdom of God gets brighter and this gives me hope, this is the anchor for my soul; I hope in God, I trust Him, that is my bottom line.
Christmas will come and it will go. The stores are full and gifts will be bought and given. Sales will take place and bargains will be purchased. Life will go on. But, what memories will we have of this year? Will 2012 be a year that we remember the “reason for the season”, the time of family together once more or will it pass like every other day into distant memory? The choice is ours.
As for me, I choose to remember that I am God’s child, His daughter and He is my Heavenly Father. I am thankful. I choose to remember that Jesus came to bring abundant life, to destroy the works of the devil and He accomplished His assignment. I choose to remember that the Holy Spirit was given to us that we might know and remember the things that Jesus taught. Christmas is all about family, God’s family and our human family. He gave and for this reason we give.
The Blessing of the Lord be upon you today and into the New Year! Joyfully His