May the joy of Christmas and hope for the New Year fill your hearts, minds and souls with love and generosity! Not just for presents, which were nice for the receiver, but also for sharing Jesus with everyone with whom you connect.
Here are 5 ways to celebrate Jesus with your loved ones all year round:
Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing – Jesus is the reason for the season! Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The Virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel. (Which means God with us.)
Forgive Others and Ask for Forgiveness – Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” Many of us this year lost loved ones. There will be empty seats at the table this season. How long will you allow unforgiveness to rear its ugly face in your life? Fill your table and your life. Forgive and let peace abide.
Serve Others as Jesus Served His Disciples – Jesus washed His disciples’ feet to teach them a powerful lesson. John 13:14: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” A sweet friend of mine named Kenya demonstrated selfless love this year when she decided to adopt a family for the holiday. She discovered a family online and went to visit them to assess their needs. After much prayer for direction and strategic guidance, Kenya “huddled up” with her church family to share and ask for assistance.
We sent the family out for a few hours, and before they returned we outfitted their home with furniture, food, towels, sheet, a washer and dryer, even a Christmas tree with tons of gifts! Kenya, this young woman of God, had a vision and with prayer and faith God’s love was manifested through people to bless a family. Hebrews 6:10 says, “God will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
Share Jesus and Your Testimony – It’s been a challenging year for many of us but God has been faithful. He has been present. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. God’s love is unchanging! Many of us faced loss, obstacles and hardships this year. We have survived and here we stand on the precipice of 2017 with a testimony of accomplishment, survival and still standing only by His Grace! 1 Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God…so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Give the Gift of Presence, Your Time – There are so many (if we open our eyes) who are alone this holiday. Invite them to your table. Still more who could use someone to run errands, help them with chores in their home. Reach out and touch someone, even if just for an hour. The nursing homes, hospitals, and assisted living communities have many who would love a visit. Philippians 2:4 says, “In humility value others above yourselves.”
Just as JESUS is the reason for this season, He is also the solution to our pollution!
Lord, we pray on one accord for changed minds, softened hearts and respect for our fellow man and woman. Let us not look at this as just another perfunctory holiday season, but give it the reverence it rightfully deserves. We pray the celebration of Your Birth becomes a sweet smelling fragrance across the land and overpowers the evils of this world throughout the New Year. Let every unkind word be met with prayer and every snarl be met with a smile.
Lord we pray for illumination and light. Oh Lord, help us to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. We pray that all will hear of its availability, given by Your Grace without cost or works. We all can freely receive this incredible gift when we come to Faith: to believe You are the Son of God who shed His blood for our sins. Let me thank You again, Jesus, for the greatest gift of all, too big to fit under any tree…Your gift of Salvation!