What more can we ask? What more can we do?
By George Yates
SBOM church health strategist
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given” (Isa. 9:6). This verse is packed so full of information that it cannot be exhausted in a thousand books.
Ponder for a few minutes what the verse says about your redemption from the clutches of sin and eternal separation from God.
To grasp only that one perspective is mind-boggling. Then there is the fact that the Creator of the universe came to earth to live as one of us, His most cherished creation. That is mind-boggling too.
We could go on and on about the implications of Isaiah 9:6. We certainly serve a gracious God, the only true God of the universe.
As we walk through this month of celebrations and joyous occasions, let us not only make memories of wonderful times.
Let us also leave memories of the love God has poured out on us by pouring out His love onto as many other people as we can.
Acts of kindness
What will you do this holiday season to share the love of Jesus with others — family members, neighbors and strangers?
The list of possibilities is endless.
- Bake a few extra cookies or purchase extra candy to distribute at random to neighbors or to others.
- Hand out greeting cards to strangers in stores, shops, medical offices, gas stations or other places you find yourself in during this season.
I plan to once again hand out $10 bills at random to cashiers, restaurant workers and others on the street, but gifts of kindness need not cost you money.
- Sit with an elderly person and listen to his or her stories.
- Share with people of other generations your appreciation for them.
- Stand at a store entrance and open the door for all going in or coming out, telling each one “God loves you.”
- Volunteer at a local store to carry items out for shoppers (but get the consent of the store manager first).
- Spend some time with children and teachers, sharing the love of God as He has loved you.
Let me encourage you to find at least one way to share the love of God with people outside of your normal circle of influence this holiday season.
Be certain you are not doing it for recognition or to put a feather in your cap.
Nothing in return
Do something for which you expect nothing in return. Perhaps your greatest blessing will come when you share the love of Christ anonymously.
Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord. You will be blessed indeed!
After all, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.” What more could we ask than what He has done?
Inspired by Christ
Christianity is a singing faith.Throughout the Bible, the people of God have sung about their Maker and Redeemer.
Indeed, many of the most beautiful expressions of faith in the Scriptures are demonstrated in song.
Think no further than the shepherd boy David, who would become Israel’s great psalmist and king. Music and song express truth and emotion that mere thoughts or spoken words cannot.
The life of Christ is the greatest story ever told, and Christmas is the story of the greatest gift given.
It should come as no surprise that the Christ Child has given inspiration to countless pieces of music through the years and inspires new ones each year.
Some of the greatest music and art in history, in fact, is entirely about Christmas.
Oklahoma Baptist Messenger
There is not a single moment where God is not loving and merciful to us.
When I cannot see the goodness in my situation, I remember to shift my focus not on what the world may see but to what God sees, knowing He is at work and has a purpose for every moment I find myself in.
I know the temporary suffering is bearable because He has promised to deliver us and to provide rivers in the wilderness. I am not alone through the wandering and struggles of this earthly life.
“Rivers in the wasteland”
This year, I decided to do something a bit different.
I tried giving myself new resolutions each month. So far it’s been really helpful.
Instead of feeling like I have to wait until the next year to get going, I can have a fresh start every 30 days.
“Making your goals stick”
Instead of demanding an answer, when I truly begin trusting Him as my Creator, I have peace knowing no matter how the answer looks or when it comes, it will be from Him.
“Trusting God when there is no answer”
Our main goal should be to live out the real meaning of Christmas as we journey through this December, making preparations and counting down until Christmas day.
How can we live out the real meaning of Christmas? Here are some ideas:
- Determine to keep Christ first in your Christmas. Make the season all about Him. Do not allow any event, responsibility or expectation to squeeze Him out or place Him on the back burner. He’s the main event. Center every day of your life around Jesus.
- Follow Mary’s and Joseph’s examples of obedience. The Christ-centered believer obeys God. When Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced she would be the mother of Jesus, Mary naturally was troubled but humbly accepted God’s assignment. Joseph also obeyed the Lord’s command (Matt. 1:24). Obedience fills the Christmas story. Obedience should fill our lives also.
- Forgive quickly. Christ came to give us forgiveness, and He calls us to forgive one another. Don’t let bitterness and past hurts hinder your Christ-centered Christmas. Make the effort to mend a fractured relationship.
David L. Chancey
This is my favorite time of year, and I think a lot of other people would say the same. I love the decorations, the food, the time spent with family and the focus on the birth of Christ. It’s usually a very busy time, but I do try to pause and reflect on the real reason for the season amid the hustle and bustle.
It’s not always easy. Sometimes we get so caught up in the places to be and the things to buy that we forget the meaning behind it all.
I challenge you to slow down this year.
I challenge you to soak in those moments with your loved ones and the awestruck look on a child’s face when he sees Christmas lights on a pretty tree.
I challenge you to give meaningful gifts that are a gift to more people than just the recipient.
Foley church shares Christ in parade
The first Christmas parade in Foley was three years ago. There were two church floats, but neither one said anything about Jesus. Two radio stations had floats but no music.
I found that strange and just plain not right.
As soon as the new year was started, I brought the lack of Jesus in Christmas to my family at Magnolia Springs Baptist Church.
Of course, all agreed a correction was needed, and we were the ones to do it.
I have a box truck just ideal for a rolling billboard. Signs were made covering both sides. They say, “From the manger to the cross, For you and for me.”
A CD player and music proclaiming Christ and Christ alone was provided.
Christian decorations were set aside for the truck cab and tailgate. We were all set.
The next Christmas parade in Foley, Magnolia Springs Baptist Church was represented with the decorated truck, Christian music playing loud and clear and a dozen members passing out gifts about the reason for the season.
Participating in the parade brought joy to us, and we pray our presence brought joy to all those hearing and seeing that Jesus was in the Christmas parade.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Mr. Berry shares this story in response to the Nov. 17 Rashional Thoughts editorial in which TAB Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Davis Rash asked readers to tell us how they are spreading cheer in their circles of influence this holiday season. Do you have a story to share? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Twitterverse
“We are only stewards of the world’s resources. They are not ours; they are God’s. When we find our security in Him, we can then give generously from what He has entrusted to us. This is our Christian duty.” #BillyGraham
Many are the churches that ask God to bless the plans they have self-manufactured.
Few are the churches, though, that beg God to reveal His plans and divine purposes and then depend on Him to carry them out.
Be the latter, not the former.
My child wore me out tonight as she said her prayers! She prayed for her teacher who has cancer and won’t be back to school and thanked God for healing me after my stroke. I’m done.
In a world torn by rage and anxiety, one of the greatest gifts followers of Jesus are called to offer is [a] simple, non-anxious (i.e., calm) presence. Not a presence removed from this reality, but a presence that refuses to be shaped by it.
“Preach Christ, and Christ, and Christ, and Christ and nothing else but Christ.” —Spurgeon
Lord, may our pastors preach this message clearly, and may we who gather be ready to receive this message. Lord, we need You!
American evangelicals are prone to panic about the waning faith in our nation. But we forget America is not the center of Christianity. The center of Christianity is seated at the right hand of the Father, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
Pray for the Lord to help Southern Baptists see the long-term value of their short-term commitment to serve overseas [and] for more churches in the U.S. to partner with IMB missionaries who live in hard-to-reach places.
A lot of talk in the sports world and in the church about “deserving” second chances. Good time to remember the words of Clint Eastwood at the end of “Unforgiven”: Deserve’s got nothing to do with it!” It is all grace!
“The mystery of our religion is the incarnate, crucified, risen and exalted Jesus Messiah … the living Lord, who for us and for our salvation … came down from heaven …” — Osvaldo Padilla, Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles