'Tis the Season

It’s December. We are now full swing into the Christmas season! Of course, as with everything else in 2020, this is shaping up to look different. There’s a certain sadness to that, understandably, because well, we are generally not too fond of change! As Christmas Day draws near I simply want to give us a few observations about finding joy in the midst of “the uniquely challenging “ season we’ve been in for the last 9 months.

A disclaimer, this is not, and never has been about a “holy day”, namely December 25. It is yet another reminder (a good one) about the “Christ event”. Most likely Jesus wasn’t born anywhere close to December 25. It’s a day that was picked for several reasons, to help Christians celebrate! It’s not listed in scripture, or commanded anywhere in holy writ. Christmas, along with Easter, celebrate the Christ event. All that Jesus came to accomplish for us. So in that sense, it’s certainly good to reflect on God‘s marvelous grace toward us. And in a very real way, we do that every Sunday as we meet to celebrate and worship. Having said that, we all like holidays... so I do not want to be Pastor Grinch.

Here’s a few thoughts for reflection:

Reflect on the beauty and wonder of it all!
This is a reminder of the incarnation. That the second person in the trinity took on human flesh, lived among us, and carried out the fathers plan of salvation. For you. For me. The old hymn “come thou long expected Jesus “ sings it this way “ born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a king!... by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne” This is awesome. By His merit, we are raised up! That’s the ultimate gift. The beauty and wonder of Christmas is that we do not earn salvation... because He did. For us. I am 63, I have not fully grasped all that that entails. But the older I get the more enraptured I am by the all encompassing wonder and sheer majesty of our salvation. It’s humbling and so, so good. Reflect on it often...revel in it...get lost in the wonder of it all.

Honor him by being his ambassador!
The call on our lives is not to bemoan the materialism all around us (although it is a good thing to evaluate in our own lives). Or to rail against Santa, or decry the commercialism. Our call is to tell about this wonderful savior that has broken through our spiritual darkness and moved us into his glorious light! Jesus has told us through the great commission, the great commandment, and a host of other references, that we are to be ready to let others know about the hope that is within us!! Our Lord has given us the task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5:20 states it this way “so we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us”. The heart of the Christ event... is Gods unmatched mercy and grace that you and I get to proclaim. Personally, I wish I always did this flawlessly… But I don’t. However, the older I get, the more I am understanding that there’s nothing more important than letting our light shine for him. Take a risk… Open your heart, to tell someone about the hope that you have found in Jesus. If you do, you’ll find one of the more special moments in the Christmas season.

Ask God for wisdom and boldness!
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…“ That’s a popular song this time of year that is only partially true at best. For those who are hurting, grieving, lonely, fearful, dealing with family bitterness and burned bridges, or have lost jobs, it can easily be the most painful time of the year. Remember that. None of us has a magical pill to fix those things. But as the family of God, we can come alongside those who hurt and or marginalized and literally be the voice of God that shows compassion, kindness, gentleness, grace and mercy to those who just may need it the most. Maybe this season you will be that person. Ask God. He will show you the people who may need your encouragement. And in so doing, you may just be the best gift they come across this season!

Find your Joy!
My niece often says this to her children. It’s her way to try and reign them in from fighting, sadness, selfishness. And it’s a good reminder for all of us. There is joy unspeakable in our Lord. Too often we miss it because of the harried pace of life or the stress that crowds it out. This past Thanksgiving, Karen and I were alone for the first time ever. We ended up later in the day going for a walk and 2 minutes in we said, "Let’s name our blessings." We did that for the rest of our walk and it was so good and refreshing. It’s one of the ways we find our joy. Find joy this season. It’s not found in anything we buy (or eat!) it’s found in resting in Gods goodness.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to drop Christmas treats off to your pastor...just sayin’

May the Lords favor, peace, and joy rest on you this Christmas season!
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Pete Nelson

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