Treasuring the lessons of Christmas.
Christmas is a beautiful time. The world somehow still resounds with the story of the baby in a manger, even though its depravity is growing by the second. People everywhere are ready to give and receive gifts and are filled with joy again and again when December comes around. I live in Australia and Christmas is a little bit different here. We are actually having our summer now as seasons have a different course down under (Australia is quite at the end of the globe). We do not have snow but stores are still decorated for Christmas and people still celebrate it. Snow was never my favorite and I always loved summer and longed for it to return when it was gone. As I am sorting through all the emotions that Christmas stirs up within us, I am reminded yet again that we can learn from everything. Years come and go and it is so important to take time during specific moments of the year, one of them being Christmas, in order to reflect upon life. As we approach the end of one year, we need to take time to evaluate and refocus our lives. Christmas is definitely a season for family and friends but make sure you take time away from the frenzy of people and activities (even church ones) and spend time alone with God. Go through the year that just passed together and allow Him to show you how you need to process this past year and also what attitude you need to start the new year with. Our lives are like a long string of precious stones and every year is a special part of its sequence and design. Though another year that is almost gone might seem like a small matter, we need to understand that, “[we] are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14b). “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). When we look at life in light of eternity, we start seeing everything in a whole different perspective. Don’t make the mistake of running blindly through life even though everything that surrounds us in our modern world wants to condition us to lose the real meaning of life and our purpose. If you desire to be a man or woman whose life will leave a lasting impact in the world, then strive to understand this one thing: no life that has ever been used mightily by God was wasted through carelessness and lack of focus. God is still looking for people who will be used as a voice that awakens the church of our generation from spiritual slumber and speaks of how fleeting life is. God never intended us to live our lives in the hurried pace of the world, His desire is for us to take time every single day of our lives in order to draw near to Him and seek the things that are eternal. Psalm 90 continues by saying, “Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (verse 11-12). Take time to reflect on the year 2016. How was your relationship with God during it? Have you drawn closer to Him or drifted away? If you have grown cold towards God, be encouraged to know that He is quick to forgive and restore you but do not take His mercy for granted! How happy are those that do not wait until God changes them but take the time to evaluate their life and make the necessary changes today! I pray that this Christmas will not be just another repetitive custom but that you will see it as a time to remind yourself that life is short and the only way to live a life that matters is by fearing God and seeking Him above all else. How are you living your life?