“Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.“
It was love that turned God ‘s heart toward us, the sinful and lost. It was faithfulness that led God to provide a way for us to be reconciled to Him. Jesus came to teach us righteousness and help us live in eace. These are the true gifts of Christmas.
“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19
The phrase “Jesus is the reason for the season” is always popular this time of year, and it’s true. Christmastime is meant to celebrate the birth of our Savior. But I’ve often asked myself why Jesus would choose to come down from heaven and live among us. This verse gives me a clear answer. He not only chose to leave heaven for us, but truly was compelled to come. Why? Because of how much He loved us – it’s that simple and that wonderous!
“Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength.”
Henry Ward Beecher
“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7
“I’m not afraid of the devil. He can’t handle the one to whom I’m joined.”
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.“
1 John 4:4
“And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of a servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed…“
Luke 1: 46-48
Question to Ponder:
When life seems too full, are you able to keep your focus on God? Do you make time to worship him no matter how busy you get?
I wonder if Mary ever felt overwhelmed with all the miraculous things going on around and inside of her. It’s inspiring to see how she chose to see her rather intense situation as a gift a favor from God, and to lift up a song of praise!
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”
Wow, that’s quite a list of wrong behaviors! If I’m honest, I’ll admit to being guilty of pretty much every one of them at one time or another. But now I understand that the second half of this passage applies to me, too. As a follower of Christ, I’m not left stuck in those behaviors. Instead, God has offered me a new list of ways to live in love.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’.“
For a lot of my life I’ve dealt with the temptation to have more, and during Christmastime this struggle has been especially intense. I’ve often wished I could buy better presents, and decorate the house more beautifully. But all that ever did was make me frustrated and even a little resentful. That’s no way to spend the holiday. I’m so blessed that God showed me two important things about my heart in this area:
– I was guilty of making money an idol.
– God would always be faithful to meet all my needs.
That freed my heart to concentrate on what really matters at Christmas – celebrating the birth His Son.
“...he will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber.”
Psalms 121: 3
From the first time I held each of my children, I’ve had a desire to protect them. The feeling was strong from the start and hasn’t wavered, even as they’ve grown up. It was quite a revelation when I made the connection between my parental instincts and God’s. He is our heavenly father and we can rest under his protection, no matter how old we are.
“A gift opens the way
and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”
I’ve always enjoyed gift giving. There’s something special about the process of figuring out what present will have the most meaning to a family member or friend. As a Christian, I’ve learned that one of the most important gifts I can give anyone is my testimony. Sharing how I came to know Jesus and what He’s done for me offers others a glimpse of this life-changing Savior. There is no better gift I could find for anyone!
“If God is your partner, make your plans BIG!”
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”