With Christmas shopping budgets in full swing as we look down our lists of those “needing” gifts; may we not neglect the greatest gift that EVERY PERSON on your list truly needs. You see, regardless of age, personal preference and even geographical location, the ultimate desire of every soul remains the same.
When we consider what really matters, we will never find it in a store of any kind. Lasting contentment and the sincerest of joy will never be tied to a sale rack, address or even “striking it big”. So, what should we put on the top of our shopping lists? What should we prioritize most as the marketing schemes convince our society that “happiness” and even “joy” is found through the reconstruction of our physical self, pleasure injected from a needle or even through the ownership of the latest name brand line? Simply stated, the top of each of our lists needs to be Jesus Christ. Sound a bit overreaching? Allow me to expand upon this point.
Lasting feelings of hope, love, security, acceptance and unquenchable peace are found through a right standing with Almighty God. Period.
As Thanksgiving is now behind us and our culture counts down to the day of Christmas—even if it is no longer politically correct to even mention the day of Jesus Christ’s physical birth by name—many feel great stress and anxiety as this season of artificial holly, fir scented candles and credit card bills take center stage. And if we are not careful, in the midst of this season of sincerest of Joy, we too can fall prey to the never-ending cycle of “more” that continue to be pumped out through marketing plans and storefront windows. Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, should it matter how many lights are on our homes, if we bake as a family or even if we cut down our own Christmas trees? Of course not. Yet, if we allow our culture to define the season of Christmas, we will find ourselves striving to keep up with the latest “do it yourself” Christmas project and feeling as though you are missing out on something. And the truth is, you would be right.
The truth of Christmas is centered around a noisy outer room of a home in Bethlehem, where Joseph and his betrothed wife Mary needed to stay for the night while she gave birth. You see, she had been with child—not of Joseph, but of the Holy Spirit of God. And it was time to deliver the Child who was called Jesus. He is the very Son of the Living God. And due to His full diety and full humanity (also known as the “God-Man”), He was able to live a sinless life that we could never live. Why is this relevant? And why does this matter in 2017?
I am so glad you asked! You see, the world that we see today is broken. The Holy Bible records that when the Earth and all of creatures of the earth were created, God declared them as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). It wasn’t until Adam and Eve rebelled against God, through disobedience, that sin entered the human experience (Genesis 3:6). And as a result, they were separated from God (James 1:14-15). The perfect union with God that humanity had known within the Garden of Eden was lost (Romans 5:12). But! This is the where the joy of Christmas comes in! It was after that act of rebellion, that in His great love, God launched the greatest rescue plan to save His creation (Romans 5:17). And the fulfillment of this plan was through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). Jesus came to redeem and reconcile all of humanity back to God (John 3:16). And by admitting our wrongdoings and believing that God raised Jesus from the dead, we will experience the greatest gift of all; peace with God (1 John 1:9-10). And this peace with God includes eternal life, unquenchable joy, and hope that endures for all time (John 14:26-27). How? Because as a follower of Jesus Christ, we can rest assured that we have the victory over every heartache and adversary because we follow the Risen King, Jesus Christ (1 John 5:1-21). Amen!
Ladies, to each heart reading, may you be encouraged this very minute! I give testimony to the fact that even now, hearts are being led to repentance and are seeking the Lord Jesus with full hearts. Believers of Jesus Christ are presently doing the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:3-5) and rejecting the lies of culture that happiness and “inner joy” are found through laser treatments and other sources with high price tags, rather than through the completed work of Jesus Christ.
This is an exciting time to be a follower of Jesus Christ! There are so many hurting and desperate people—right in our own zip codes (Matthew 25:40)! May we be used by Jesus Christ in this season of greatest joy to share the hope of reconciliation with Almighty God and everlasting peace with those who are in dire need. May we continually run to the feet of our Risen Savior Jesus Christ as we shine His light to a lost and suicidal world; a world that is killing itself with striving, addictions, power grabbing, worship of people, piling of possessions as well as sexual promiscuity.
May we be filled with the love of God and the unwavering spirit of Jesus Christ. Remember, Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost; that includes all people regardless of age, gender, religious affiliation, mother tongue or nationality. May we spread the news of the true definition of Christmas joy! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to reconcile all of humanity back to Almighty God through the great exchange of His righteousness for our rebellion…think about that for a minute. God loved you, me and the rest of the world SO MUCH that He sent His only Son into the world to suffer and die in our place, so that we could regain right standing with God. What a good and truly loving God. May we rejoice in the reality of Jesus’ birth and thank God for His great love, that was manifested through the birth and years later the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave to atone for the wrong doings and short comings of every single person who has ever drawn a breath.