Hey friends! Christmas is in two days and we are so excited!
It's so good to celebrate with family and friends, but do we even know what we are truly celebrating? So many times it is so easy to be distracted by everything during this season. I know I can't speak for all, but sometimes the happiest time of the year can leave me feeling drained and even a little joyless. Isn't that crazy?
If you've ever related and felt the same way, or even may be feeling a little of this this season, it's okay. You are not alone, and hopefully I can bring to light a possible reason we may tend to feel this way in hopes that we can change it.
The Christmas season is wonderful. There are light shows, hot chocolate, baking, gifts, and plenty of other fun things that are enjoyable. All of these things in which we have maybe even participated in or plan to participate in, but something seems to still be lacking, and I think that's Jesus.
Even if we've heard the story of Jesus' birth countless of times, how often do we take time to truly dwell on and celebrate it? While all of the fun festivities are good and enjoyable, we can begin to push Jesus to the back and allow ourselves to be distracted by everything else going on around us. We get so busy that we don't even have time to stop and just be in His presence. We get so down and drained because while our soul longs to celebrate and be with Jesus, we are getting pulled every other possible direction. Then we wonder why we feel empty and lacking, and later realize we've missed out on the true gift and the partaking of the true joy yet another year. We've missed the real celebration! No wonder we feel the way we do.
While being diligent in doing all of our "to-do" lists and enjoying the joys that come this time of year can all be good, we need to be on guard and not let it take the place of getting to spend time with our Jesus. Psalm 16:11- "You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore".
So this year, I encourage all of us (myself included) to take time and STOP and sit in the presence of Jesus. Dwell on what His precious birth means to us and PRAISE Him for His wonderful gift. Re-read the Christmas story and keep it in the forefront of your mind so that we will be ready to share with anybody who crosses our path.
If any of you have yet to hear the Christmas story then keep reading because we've got a one heck of a story we'd love to tell you!
Mary, a young teenage girl from Nazareth who was engaged to be married to Joseph, was greeted by an angel sent by the Lord. The angel told Mary that although she was a virgin, she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to a son and name Him Jesus.
Confused and afraid, Mary asks "How can this happen?"
The angel assuringly explains to Mary not to be afraid because this Child will be the Lord's Son and that nothing is impossible with God. Mary believed and rejoiced in the Lord.
Just as the angel had said, Mary became pregnant and she went to tell Joseph the news. Joseph knew that according to the law, Mary could be Stoned to death for her apparent unfaithfulness. Being a kind man, Joseph, wanting to shame Mary no further than she already was, decided that he would divorce her in quiet. Then in a dream, God sent an angel to speak to Joseph. The angel told Joseph that Mary's story was true and that he was to take Mary as his wife and name the baby Jesus because he would be a Savior to his people. When Joseph woke up, he obeyed God and humbly took Mary as his wife in spite of the public humiliation he would face.
Now at that time, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census would be taken. Everyone had to go to their hometown to register, so Joseph was to go to Bethlehem to register with Mary. They traveled all the way to Bethlehem and once they had arrived, the time was nearing that Mary would give birth. They searched for a place to stay at nearby inns, but they were all too crowded to make room for them. So Mary and Joseph were sent to a nearby dirty stable to stay for the night.
There, Mary gave birth to Jesus. She wrapped Him in pieces of cloth then placed him in a manger (a trough used to feed cattle) where He, the Savior of the world, would sleep. Shepherds in the field nearby, who witnessed a vast sky of angels telling them that the Messiah had been born, came to behold their Savior, and nearby wisemen came to bring the child gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
This Savior of the shepherds and wisemen is the Savior of the whole world, including you and I- What an AMAZING gift! God, holy, perfect, and without sin knew that we were separated from Him by our sin and imperfections. In spite of this, He loved us enough to send His only beloved Son in heaven down to earth as a baby to pay the price for us by becoming the ultimate sacrifice for us. He lived a perfect, righteous life without sin so that He could take on all of our sin and put it to death on the cross He chose to die on. Then three days later He rose from the grave defeating, and having victory over sin! He was our final sacrificial Lamb, He was slaughtered so that we may choose to be covered by His blood and have eternal life with Him.
If this is your first time hearing this, or maybe it's just never been explained to you fully, you might be wondering how to receive this gift. Romans 10:9 says, "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." So in order to receive this gift, we need to believe in Jesus and believe who He is and what He's done for us, and declare it. How simply wonderful is that!
So I encourage you this Christmas, whether you know Jesus or not, draw near to Him, dwell on His gift specifically for you, and last but not least... tell Him Thank you! :)
Merry Christmas! Love you all!