“I always thank my God for you. He has given you gracious love in Christ Jesus.” I Cor 1:4 (Simple English Bible)
One aspect of the Christmas message is giving thanks to God for His gift to mankind. I suppose this is reflected in the carefully wrapped gifts perched under the tree in the family living room. Like many kids, I couldn’t wait to go to sleep on Christmas Eve so I could awaken extra early the next morning and rip open the gifts waiting for me. Of course, my parents didn’t appreciate my 5am exuberance and enthusiasm as I jumped up and down on their bed in the cold darkness of winter.
I wonder if I’m also supposed to feel this way about God’s gift directly to me through His Son, Jesus. I believe that there are many gifts waiting for me if I but eagerly embrace the love and acceptance of my Father in Heaven. And the gifts He has reserved for me are far greater than anything I could expect under the Christmas Tree.
Paul is thankful for the Christians in Corinth. Why? If you read the letters he penned to them, you’d find that they had many problems and temptations. He even chastised them severely for their wayward ways. Yet, he is thankful for them? Huh?
Because Christ’s love was in them, too. Because they were part of Paul’s spiritual family. Because God had forgiven them as He had also forgiven Paul. Because the blood of Christ covers all sin.
Because we all have His gracious love.
“May gracious love and peace from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” I Cor 1:3 (Simple English Bible)
This week, the focus of the world will be upon our Lord. There will be candlelight events, worship services and special remembrances. There will be Nativity Scenes, special display lights and candles burning in honor of Christ. It is the one time that the world will be focused on Jesus. As much as the cash registers won’t stop ringing, it is still a good thing.
Recently, the buzz words for this time of year are “Happy Holidays!”, leaving out any mention of Christ or Christmas — a sort of universal, politically correct way of not annoying anyone. After all, it is the time of peace and goodwill for all mankind, isn’t it? We can’t insult anyone of a different persuasion or culture! Even though Emmanuel means “God With Us”, we can’t use it in case someone sues.
But Paul greets the Christians in Corinth with an embrace: love and peace through God and His Son. Virtually the identical message of Christmas time! And his greeting isn’t reserved for a special celebration or season of the year. Paul greets his readers similarly in other letters, too.
Shouldn’t this tell us something? Maybe we should be greeting people all year around with “Love and Peace in Christ!” Like, start a new trend. Bring a smile to someone’s face. Get people to think. After all, we are His children and these two commodities are solely needed in today’s world!
So for today: Love and Peace in Christ to all!
Pass it on…
“If you eat a slimy, horned toad every morning, nothing worse will happen to you all day!” A wise man
The economy is bad. The stock markets are down. The interest rates stink. No credit available. Money’s tight. The moon’s in Leo. And the fish aren’t biting…!
Don’t you get tired of it? Maybe you’re like me and all this bad news just seems to swirl around and around in a murky whirlpool. In fact, the only time I heard that was a good time, happened two years ago or five years ago — even then, I remember dire predictions and imminent collapses. So then, when really were the “good times”?
I think if I read the newspapers and watched the news on television every day, I’d be just as depressed and fearful as the next guy. The truth is that I only buy one newspaper a week (the Saturday edition) and only occasionally catch a news broadcast. Why? I’m too busy and don’t have time enough to see a TV anchor interview a reporter about his opinion of that the news is and then listen to an analyst or expert rehash it in yet another sound bite. And how much of the news can I believe anyway?
I would rather hear what my Father in Heaven has to say. I believe that my day is good no matter what happens. I trust in the Holy Spirit for His wisdom and guidance. I’m trying as hard as I can to follow the footprints ahead of me, made by my Lord.
Jesus never fails. If I am truly His child, then my Father will take care of me.
And that’s the best news I’ll hear all day!