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At the Christmas season we are busy hosting and attending parties, buying and wrapping gifts, decorating and admiring the festive lights. It is a time for older generation families to get together and share in warm childhood memories, for young families to establish their own traditions of celebration and for children of all ages to anticipate the surprises awaiting them in colorfully and lovingly wrapped gifts. It is a season of love, joy and peace that is a center piece of our heritage and culture - we love Christmas time. All over the world, families get together to experience again the wonder and warmth of the holiday season.
This year our spirits are dampened by the harsh realities of terror, war, and economic hardship. Perhaps your spirits are dampened by personal losses, challenges or hardships. In times like these, how can we enjoy the festive traditions of Christmas? In the words of Anne Graham Lotz, "Just give me Jesus!" After all, Jesus is the Christ child for whom we celebrate Christmas. It is His gift of love and joy and peace that inspires us to want to give to our loved ones and others in Christ-like fashion. When the tinsel and lights and parties and toasts can not bring joy to hurting families, it is Jesus alone who can satisfy their needs. Jesus is the life giver, He is the star of hope in a darkened world, the light of life, the prince of peace and shepherd of hope for lost and suffering souls.
Just give me Jesus, and life has meaning. He can wipe away the tears of sadness and replace them with tears of joy. He can comfort the pain and emptiness of our losses and replace them with purpose and the fullness of His glory. He can lift our heavy hearts burdened by anger or fear or failure or rejection and fill them with His Spirit of hope and renewal. Just give me Jesus! He is the ultimate gift and gift giver. His grace is sufficient to meet all our physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
Are you suffering this Christmas? Are you at a loss as to how you can experience the joy of the season? Just accept the gift of Jesus. Lean on His promises, turn to Him for His comfort, rest in His compassion, and submerge your troubled soul in His grace. Is a loved one in pain? Are you at a loss for how to comfort them? Just give them Jesus. In Christ-like fashion, with a servant's heart, give them comfort, pray for them, encourage them, and in kindness provide the simple daily needs that lighten their load. Does the pain in the world overwhelm you? Are you at a loss for how to reconcile celebrating the season while others suffer so? Just give them Jesus. In Christ-like fashion, with a servant's heart, stop your hurried life to pray for our leaders, for our military, for the victims of terror, for nations shrouded in the darkness of false religions, and for spiritual revival in our own nation. Just give them Jesus.
We can make sense of all our suffering when it brings us together in one accord to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas - the gift of the Christ child, the greatest gift of all time, the gift of salvation. He was born to die, that through His sacrifice we might have life. In light of His loss, our temporal losses are in reality opportunities to demonstrate our own sacrifice for His glory. By accepting His gift of grace we experience His presence day-by-day and life for all eternity. This Christmas, just give me Jesus!