Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Christmas Message

To all my family,

I say this with all sincerity that I miss you all very much and I wish we could be there to celebrate this special night together.  I want to continue our traditions with my new family so I've written my own Christmas message this year.  I pray that you will enjoy it as much as you have enjoyed the messages my Dad brings to us every year.  It's probably one of the things I am going to miss the most about Christmas Eve with you all tonight.  I love you all very much.  Merry Christmas! 

Christmas is a special time of year.  It's the only holiday recognized almost all around the world and is not just celebrated on the 25th but the whole month of December.  Think about it, that's one twelfth of the year.  This season is a whirlwind of the holiday routine: lighted houses, ornaments, presents, Santa, TV specials, church services, tinsel, wreaths, stockings, and eggnog.  One thing is for sure...when Christmas comes, you can't miss it.  It's everywhere!  But tonight, I want to bring us back to the reason why we all gather together during this time every year.  

Have you ever realized that when you look up an event on your calendar, you are using Jesus Christ as a reference point?  Jesus' birth divided history into BC (before Christ) and AD (anno Domini, in the year of our Lord).  Every event in history and today is dated by how many years and days it has been since Jesus appeared on Earth.  Even your birthday is dated by his!  Tonight is not just a night to celebrate being together as a family but also to celebrate the birth of God's Son who was brought down from Heaven in the form of a man to give us the ultimate gift...salvation.  It's a night to celebrate that Jesus loves us, that he wants to be with us, and not just with us...but FOR us.  

John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  The entire reason for Christmas is the love of God.  The love he has for us and everything in the universe.  He created us for his enjoyment and everything on Earth for our enjoyment.  God could have created a colorless, tasteless world but He didn't.  1 Timothy 6:17 tells us that God "richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."  Our sensitive ears for music and rhythm, eyes for all the colors of the world, and taste buds to experience all the incredible flavors as well.  The Bible doesn't tell us that God has love, but that God IS love.  Love is the essence of God's character...his very nature.  The reason everything exists is because God wanted to love it.  If God didn't love something, he wouldn't have created it.  He loves it all, even when we mess it up with our sin, he still has a purpose for it.  He is unconditional and loves us regardless of our thoughts or actions.  His love is unchanging.

Some people often feel alone at Christmas.  Maybe right now you feel like God is not with you.  But his presence has nothing to do with your feelings.  Emotions are unreliable and can change easily.  But there is good news for us.  We can't hide from God!  Psalms 139:7-8 says "Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there."  No matter where you are God is always with you but you must tune-in to His presence.  No matter what situation you are going through right now, God is there.  He promises this to us in Isaiah 43:2-3 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."  In Hebrews 13:5 God ensures us "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  God will always be with us because He loves us.

But just because God is always with us, it doesn't mean it is to condemn us.  Many people feel like God is out to "get" them but it's quite the opposite.  When the angel came to the shepherds, the angel said to them "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."  As a matter of fact, 365 times in the Bible, God tells us to fear not the things of this universe.  That's one for everyday of the year!  I want you to know that God is not mad at you but mad ABOUT you.  He doesn't want to rub in your mistakes, he wants to rub them OUT.  That's what Jesus did for us when He came to this Earth and died on that cross for us.

None of us knows what we'll face this next year, but we can know that God LOVS us, God is WITH us, and God is FOR us.  One plus God is a majority in any situation.  This is what we are celebrating tonight...the fact that God sent Jesus on this night thousands of years ago FOR us so that we can be WITH him forever because he LOVES us. I pray that God touches your heart with this message I've brought tonight.  It is not a coincidence that you are listening to this message on this very specific night.  May God continue to touch and bless your lives in this year and the next.  God bless.

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