Now that the Christmas season is in full swing and we even have some cold Christmas weather here in the deep south, I am now totally "in the Christmas spirit"! Each year as Christmas approaches, there comes this little 'click' in my spirit that allows me to fully embrace the joys and excitement of Christmas. I eagerly look forward to reading Christmas devotions and books, doing some Christmas baking, wrapping presents and attending festive gatherings.
But in the midst of all these festivities, a close eye needs to be kept on my heart. When too many activities and things that need to be done come at once, stress tries to enter in also. If I allow my mind to think on the list of things to be done, people to buy gifts for, food to prepare, creating a Christmas atmosphere for the home etc., insecurity, indecisiveness and a harried state of mind begin to attempt to steal the Christmas joy. Questions like "Is my gift good enough?", "How does my food dish taste?", "Do I have enough decorations up?" try to sneak in and bring emotions that cause distress. Instead of Christmas love and peace, my words may be sharp with my family and in my haste, the many opportunities to be a blessing at this time of year, turn into just "things to do". My home and family tend to get neglected.
Being watchful and aware that these things may creep in, it does a heart good to be pro-active! The first step is always with prayer, reading God's Word and time with Him. As we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate God's greatest Gift - His Son Jesus. Jesus came to earth as the bridge and only way to redeem our sinful natures and connect us with a holy God who claims us as His children. What a gift of grace! How undeserved by us and how loving and extravagant from God.
But this gift, keeps on giving! God's gift of grace lives in our hearts. He enables us - not of ourselves, but He equips us and covers us with His grace to give out to others. As our hearts reflect on His gift this season, thankfulness takes root and brings joy. Joy brings a desire to share, love and give our best to others. Each of us are also given talents and abilities which are God's gifts to us. Those little things that we are good at, can be used to be a blessing to others. Instead of following the temptation to be all things to all people, may we utilize the gifts that God has given us to bring glory to Him. Use those gifts to be a blessing this season. Whether it is cooking, making special cards, decorating, generosity, sharing a special verse or word, we have the ability to be a blessing to others and find fulfillment in the promise "it is better to give than to receive".
Before we begin each day this season, may we be mindful to put on God's grace. May His grace cover us everywhere we go and in everything we do this Christmas! Giving the gift of grace first in our homes and in our families will make our home sing and be eliminating distractions and keeping our focus on Christ, His peace will rule in our hearts.
One more thing! Courtney's challenge this week is to remember to REST! Much of the above can be brought on by fatigue. Avoid spiritual and physical overload by scheduling a few early nights. Take your Bible with you to bed and read for 5 minutes. Read in Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2, Jeremiah 23:5, and Isaiah 53. These are prophecies that were fulfilled by the birth and life of Jesus. They will bring joy, peace and strengthen our faith as we reflect and ponder of the power of God's Gift.
Remember, reflect and put on God's grace everywhere you go this season. You will bring joy to many and enjoy the best Christmas ever, because it will be rooted in your heart all year long!