This year was my second Christmas as a Christian. As I have posted before I have always celebrated Christmas by going broke buying presents and enjoying the magic of Santa and all the other Christmas fairy tales that go with it. There are a lot of other things I love about Christmas, such as the lights and the food and the family gatherings, but the center of it all for me was lots of presents and Santa Claus.
So when I became Christian I realized I had to completely change my focus on Christmas, if I was going to celebrate it at all. Every December the same thing happens. My husband works construction and he cannot work during the rain. December usually gives us lots of rain, and so my husband has a fair amount of time off. Our bills start to pile up, and with Christmas presents, it makes it a very tough month. Yet every December without fail I find ways to go overboard buying presents. Well, in the past anyway. Last year I had to make a decision that presents needed to be cut way back in order to focus on The Reason For The Season – Jesus.
Somehow we make it every year though. OK, not somehow. It’s always been God, I just never knew it before. This year was no different. It poured rain and my husband worked for about half the month or less. We were already behind on our bills and the stress of getting them paid and getting at least a few presents for each of my 4 sons was weighing on me heavily. Well, I can’t say this year was no different – it actually was completely different. Usually I would be caving in under the weight of the stress. I would be ready just find a hole to hide in, or just end it all, because I could not deal with it.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
I have had a serious problem with depression in the past and this time of year was always the worst. Knowing that we could not pay our bills, let alone afford presents was enough to take me into a deep, dark world where I would cease to function. But that was before God. Now that I have given my life to Christ and experience His healing salvation, problems are not the same as they used to be. I lean on Him when I am weak. I give Him my stress and struggles and ask Him for help. I literally was praying for a Christmas miracle this year, because I knew that we could not do any of this without Him.
When the stress came I prayed. When the fear threatened to set in, I rested in the shadow of the Almighty. I trusted in Jesus, and put all my faith in the One who I know has always provided for me. It was not easy. Days kept moving by and Christmas kept coming closer. I was so tempted to cave in to fear and depression over and over again. Instead I clung to my Rock and Redeemer. Oh how amazing it has been. Instead of trying to subdue the pain with drugs or alcohol, I felt peace, comfort. I felt safe.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
Jesus is the most wonderful gift we could ever get on Christmas day. We hear the story of His birth over and over every December. It is a beautiful story outlining the beginning of God’s plan to save us from ourselves. And it is so much more than that. The story of Jesus’ birth is awesome, but the reality that He is here now, our Glorious King, well that is much more amazing to me.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
And that focus is what got me through Christmas this year. Jesus has given this wretch a new life. A woman who would have easily spit in the face of Christianity, and took Jesus name as a swear word, has been redeemed. Saved. How can that be? How could God love someone like me? How could God continually bless my family and provide for us? I don’t deserve it. And yet He loves me so.
Oh how very humbled I have been this Christmas season. I have watched God provide a Christmas miracle for my family, and He is not done wowing me yet. He has more than provided for us though. He has more than sent us means to eat and pay bills and buy Christmas presents for our children. He has bowled me over with His never-ending and unfailing love. Oh how He loves us so…
I picture a little baby laying helpless in a manger, one cold winter night. The angels singing ‘glory, glory, glory!’ and a star lighting up the sky like a supernova. Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, in the form of a tiny little baby, giving up all His majesty in heaven to come here and be one of us. I see this and I realize He did this for me. Me. I am no one, I am not special, and I am a horrible sinner. Yet that is not how He sees me.
He sees me as beautiful, queen, co-heir, lovely and completely loved. Forever. Through all eternity I am His and He is mine. And so are you. Each one of us, who has confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believed in their heart that He died for us. Amazing. Wonderful. Miraculous. Maybe when I was praying for a Christmas miracle I was asking for God to provide for my family, but what I didn’t realize I would get was the best gift of all. A change in my heart – an opening to Him. Opening even more to His love and acceptance.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17
Being a Christian is much more than accepting Christ as your savior. It is a work in progress over the course of your entire life. The Holy Spirit is going to constantly move you to grow and mature in your walk of faith with Jesus. Every time I think that I have gotten to a great place in my relationship with Jesus and that I am understanding this Christian thing, I learn blown away by something new. Every time I reach a desperate low, I am taken to an all new high. I am so very thankful that Jesus came here to save me. Life without Him was awful and there was no hope, no reason to live. With Jesus I have not only the hope of eternal life with Him, but also the hope of everyday and the promises that He is fulfilling.
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11