I’ve been struggling with a fever for days. Today I found myself on the floor at the foot of my Christmas tree, which happens to be a cross. As I looked up at the well-light, decorated cross tree, I considered the goodness of God.
Our God, holy and almighty, stooped down to us. Not only did He stoop down, sending His one and only Son to live life in this broken world and die on the cross, but He continues to stoop down again and again, meeting us where we are in this broken world.
This is grace. Reaching down and lifting up to where you are. No one demonstrates grace like our Father. We cannot earn salvation. We don’t deserve it. Yet He gives it freely to all who believe. When we believe, we are called children of God—and co-heirs with Christ. We go from sinner to saint, from dead to alive.
Every day, we need this reminder of His grace. You may feel down today, but you will not be down forever. You may feel pain today, but you will not feel pain forever. Breathe in some grace today, and then pour it out as well. We all need grace.
“He stooped down to lift me out of danger from the desolate pit I was in, out of the muddy mess I had fallen into. Now he’s lifted me up into a firm, secure place and steadied me while I walk along his ascending path.” – Psalm 40:2 [TPT]
We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are to share Jesus, to show everyone Jesus, to point to Jesus. This is not something that we can take lightly, and it’s not something that we simply pick up on when Sunday comes around. This is a 24/7 call from God. We don’t need to have a title, hold countless degrees, or have a class we teach on Sunday to obey this command. The Great Commission is all about a way of life.
Around the holiday season, we have Christians who wish to not offend anyone and to include all people, and so they say “Happy Holidays.” There are also those people who simply say “Merry Christmas,” whether they are believers or not. Then there are the others, the Christians who hear someone say “Happy Holidays” and feel this great need to “correct” the person. I’ve seen people tell a person they were “doing it wrong.” When I hear this, I think the person talking needs to consider that quite possibly they are “doing it wrong.” It is important to remember that Jesus wants us to share the Gospel, not shove it down someone’s throat. Jesus wants us to show love, not to put ourselves on a pedestal. Remember, we all fall short.
This holiday season, I hope you remember the importance of taking Jesus with you, and that it continues on throughout the new year to come. I also pray that you remember the importance of the 3 A’s.
Approach with care. Put yourself in the position of others. Remember that we are all unique. Do not try to force someone to see things your way. Jesus never forced someone to believe in Him and we can’t either. (1 Corinthians 9:22)
Absolute truth. Do not attempt to change the Word. Stand firm in your faith. It is okay to accept others, but it is not okay to try to tweak the Gospel. You can change your methods and your approach, but the Truth never changes. (Romans 1:18-25)
Always show love. God is love. If you are truly representing God, you are showing love. If you are not showing love, rethink your motives because if love isn’t present, God is not in it. (1 John 4:8)
Recommended Further Reading: Romans 12
The weather has been very peculiar lately, but I am not going to complain. At a time when we typically are feeling the below freezing chill, we are able to enjoy temperatures that near the fifties. Today the warm weather combined with some precipitation, which brought some fog into my area. Since I was a little girl, I always loved fog. It was definitely fun to look at what was “not there” and try to imagine it as it was the day prior, when everything was in clear view.
Just as fog distorts and covers up what is always there, so do we have periods when we cannot see God. We know He is there, but He is silent. Or perhaps we have so many outside noises around us that we are unable to hear Him or see Him at work. Maybe we are not looking at the big picture because we have our focus elsewhere at the moment. Either way, the truth is that God is always here. Sometimes we need to simply take the time to look, and to continue pressing forward with our walk of faith, knowing that God is with us.
Certainly we are to live by faith, as 2 Corinthians 5:7 asserts we should, “live by faith, not by sight.” When Jesus appeared on the road to Emmaus, he was there. The men did not know it until it was revealed later, but it doesn’t change the fact that He was present. When Mary Magdalene was crying at the tomb with Jesus there watching, He was there despite her not knowing that He was the One present. She thought He was the gardener until she heard Him speak. It doesn’t change the fact that He was there with her.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). John 1 makes it clear that if we believe, we are children of God. With Christmas day coming in the week ahead, it is important to not let the hustle and bustle of the holiday season create a fog around the true meaning of Christmas. As children of God, it is important to follow Christ as we celebrate His birth and the hope we have in Him. Christmas is not a time for fruit cake, but a time for really showing the fruit of the Spirit as we celebrate God and His love for us, and hope breathing.
“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:8-9 [NIV]
The most precious Christmas gift!