But I know what can happen in real life: someone you deeply care about has hurt you or a past memory or injustice just can’t be forgotten. You know you should forgive but it’s just too hard!
Would it be too hard, though, if you knew that by not forgiving, you are hurting yourself as well as your family? Forgiveness is essential to your spiritual and emotional health. The other person isn’t affected by your unforgiveness, you are. And it can be a tool for transforming your relationships, if not your entire life.
As we celebrate our precious Lord’s birthday this weekend, let’s also remember why He came: so that you and I can have a relationship with Him, relationships with others and then spend eternity with Him. Let’s forgive and love others. Let’s end the year with a clear heart ready to serve our Lord for the New Year!
1. Remember that when we have resentment and bitterness, it only hurts us.
2. Never try to get even. The Lord says that revenge is His! (Romans 12:19)
3. Respond to evil with good. We are to pray for our enemies and those who mistreat us. (Luke 6:27)
4. Think about why you are on earth in the first place! Focus on following God’s will for your life along with your actions and reactions.
5. Realize that our Lord was despised and rejected and murdered. Yet, He forgave.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40
Advent Week 5: December 26 – Read John 3:16; 5:24
The word Christmas begins with Christ: the virgin-born Christ child, our Savior. The babe of Bethlehem was not merely a remarkable child but the Son of God. In His infinite grace, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was born into this world as a man, yet He never ceased to be God.
Jesus Christ in His infinite love did not begin when He was born in a stable and laid in a manger; He left Heaven’s best to come to this world to be the Savior of mankind. He was offered as a free gift.
God’s gift to the world was despised and rejected 2,000 years ago. In the life of every person who has rejected Him since that time, there has proved to be a fatal defectiveness. Only when we accept the free gift of eternal life through Christ can we know the true meaning of Christmas, the forgiveness of sin, and the life everlasting.
God gave His all for you. By giving Him your all this Christmas, you will reach others with the Gospel that they, too, may receive God’s gift.
In what tangible ways can you give Jesus your all today and in the coming year?
From the pamphlet, “Arrival – Preparing to Celebrate Christ’s Birth, Advent Mediations” by Billy Graham
Unreal expectations probably cause more heartache than almost any other emotion. We get our expectations up at this time of year believing that our Christmas “will be the best one ever!” We believe that when the family gets together “everyone will get along!” We believe that our presents to others “will be the best and everyone will love them!” And we just know “we are going to get the best presents…ever!”
Then reality happens and we could easily slide into disappointment. Perhaps the answer is to place all our expectations on the Lord. In other words, don’t let them be what makes or breaks our day or event. Give Him the day and receive what comes our way.
Seek His presence rather than earthly presents.
I love the poem, “T’was the Night Before Christmas” especially the line that says:
“The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap…”
I think I like the part of the poem regarding a long nap because I’m usually so tired during the Christmas season! But not just me, all of us are sleep deprived. Health officials continue to say that we need more sleep.
But did you know that dieters who got 8.5 hours of sleep nightly lost 56 percent more body fat than another group who ate the same diet but got just 5.5 hours of sleep a night!
So, let’s all remember to get our rest this season. We may not think we have the time, but our bodies and our health require it.
I won’t see you again until January so may I share the warmest of Christmas blessings to you and yours. Sharing this time with you each week is a tremendous joy for me. And I pray that the New Year will bring much joy and love to you!
God Bless You and Merry Christmas!