The story of Christmas is one that brings great joy. I fear that we are more stuck on short term happiness than long term joy. The truth of Christmas starts with the fact that we are sinners and need a Savior. Jesus came to be born as a baby and then grew to be a man who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. I believe most of my readers know this and have placed their trust in Jesus to save them from their sins. This should bring us joy. However, the sin nature is still active and brings struggle.
Despite the difficulties of life, the Christmas story should bring us back to joy. Joy for the ultimate gift that Jesus’ birth brought.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Jesus. Thank You that we can have joy through trusting Your Son. Please help us to put our own selfishness aside and bring us back to the joy that You provide.
Shepherds were not considered the elite of society. However, God chose to share the good news of Jesus’ birth with them. Luke 2:20 tells us of the shepherds rejoicing and giving glory to God. They are a good example for us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus’ to a humble birth. Thank You for the example of the shepherds giving You glory. You deserve all the honor and glory.
I have noticed how easy it is to complain. I think that has always been an issue, but it has been even more prevalent in the last two and half years. I know I should thank and praise the Lord more than I do, but sometimes it feels awkward. I want to work on changing that.
There is great wisdom in praising and thanking God. He has given so many good gifts. If you don’t know what they are, read the Bible.
Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for Who You are and the many wonderful things You have done. Thank You for the gift of salvation, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and Your Word that gives so much insight for life.
We talk a lot about hope. We hope things will go well. We have hope for a better future. Earthly hope is more of a wish. There is no guarantee. Heavenly hope is certain. For those who have trusted in Jesus, we know with absolute certainty that we will spend a glorious eternity with God. When I spend more of my time thinking about eternity – the sure hope I have in Christ – the more joy I find. If I think about my friends who know Christ and the future we will have together in heaven, I smile a whole lot more. If I focus on the here and now, I am more likely to get bogged down in negative emotions. While we need negative emotions to be honest about living in a sin cursed earth, we cannot let them dictate our outlook. This is a balance I will fight for my entire life.
The first step towards eternal hope is following God’s way by trusting in Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. Then we need to search Scripture to learn God’s way. I like the strength God’s way gives.
Dear Heavenly Father, there is so much need for true Biblical hope. Thank you for providing the way to find the joy that hope brings. Please help me to continue to seek Your way. I need You every day.
Last week, I mentioned the prophecy about Jesus Christ in Isaiah – He is Immanuel – God with us. I think we get stuck on warm fuzzy thinking of God being with us. The reason Jesus came was to save people from sins. There is nothing warm and fuzzy about sin. I think we struggle admitting the ugliness of sin in our lives. Maybe that is why we have so much grumpiness during this Christmas season.
I wonder if the remedy for negativity is admitting our sin and asking Jesus to forgive us. We might have more joy to share with others. I think it is worth a try.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus came to save us from our sins. Please help us to admit our sin and ask forgiveness. Thank You for the joy of being forgiven.
I don’t know about you, but I have noticed more grumpiness this year than other Decembers. The last two years have been tough for sure. We can get busy and focused on our Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s plans. I think we forget the real reason for Christmas – no wonder we have so much grumpiness. However, God is still good. Very good. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born as a baby. Jesus came to save us from our sins. What can bring more joy than knowing that?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to save us. Thank You for the joy You give. Please help us to share this joy with others,
I know many who have shed tears in recent times. There are all kinds of reasons for those tears. The Psalmist had many trials and difficulties. He took them to the Lord to find the help he needed. We don’t know when we will have the shouts of joy – sowing tears can seem like a long process.
I know that God always does what He promises. While the tears are heavy and the suffering can seem long, I know that we will reap with shouts of joy!
Dear Heavenly Father, please help those who are shedding tears while sowing for You. Please strengthen them. Help them to remember they will reap with shouts of joy.
I know I can struggle with being thankful. This week was extra hard. Work is tough with our new computer system issues and I had a coworker out on vacation. I also faced a health issue that went a direction I didn’t want. I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ. It sounds kind of scary, but in situ is my new favorite term. It means the carcinoma is believed to be contained. I will be facing surgery to remove the tumor and possibly some other treatment after (to be determined based on surgery results).
As I faced this week, I knew I would need God’s grace. This was my first mammogram, and I knew I was likely to need a biopsy. Not an easy thing for this introvert. There is also the emotion of dread if the results are bad. I struggle counting trials joy because it can feel like we have to lie. Brutal honesty – the biopsy wasn’t exactly fun. There were several hard things for my introverted personality during the tests. I didn’t want to take my worry out on the medical professionals providing my care. I spent a lot of time praying, both before and during the appointment. I asked God to show me His grace and make me aware of the ways He sent it. God came through with His usual generosity. My interactions with the medical professionals that day and after have been wonderful. They showed great compassion and care.
When I find it hard to thank God for a mammogram and biopsy or a diagnosis that requires surgery, I can easily thank God for the many evidences of His grace through trials. Medical research shows that thankfulness helps with healing. I will need that in the next weeks.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the kindness, care and compassion that You sent through medical professionals this week. Thank You for friends and family who are joining me on this journey. Thank you for the joy and comfort Your grace provides. Please help me to honor You throughout this journey.
I fear the concept of truth has been taking hits for many years. We confuse opinion with truth. We have to form opinions – it is in our nature, but I think we need to be careful about the basis for our opinions.
One thing I know for sure is that Jesus, Who is God, came to earth to be born as a baby. He grew up to die to save us from our sins. Many in the world today do not know the truth of Jesus. This has caused us to be at war with each other. If we were to focus on and cling to Jesus Christ, we could stop the warring. Jesus is the only way to peace.
I enjoy Christmas songs that remind us of this truth. One is the song “Glorious Light” by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Ian Hannah.
Glorious light! see the dawn of Salvation: Angels in white fill the skies with their wondrous song; Awakening earth with news of His birth; Join the hymn of the highest heavens!
Long has the world fought the song of the angels. Heavenly music is drowned by a warring world; Yet hope burns a light, that shatters the night; Turn your heart to the call of glory!
Glory to God in the highest! Peace to men on earth. Come and adore Him with wonder – Christ Lord of Heaven and earth.
Keith & Kristyn Getty and Ian Hannah
As I have said before, I pray you know Jesus. He is the only way to have peace and joy.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You for the beautiful music many have written about Your Son. Please open eyes to the truth of Who Jesus truly is. Please help me to be an instrument of that truth.