December 22, 2014

The true gift of Christmas

My dad posted this on his Facebook page this morning and I thought it was a great reminder during this Christmas season! It helps me remember the true gift of Christmas: 

Three days to Christmas! Yesterday I made a suggestion to our congregation for the week ahead that I hope you will also consider. First, take a blank sheet of paper and write the angel's announcement in Luke 2:10-11 at the top of the page and then place the folded piece of paper in a gift box. Wrap it, put your name on it, and place it under your Christmas tree.
Second, this is not a gift to be opened with family or friends. Instead, at some point when you can be alone on Christmas Day, open the gift privately. Read the angel's announcement and circle the words "for you" or "unto you". Realize that Christmas is more than the celebration of the birth of God's Son. It is even more than the celebration of the birth of a Savior. It is more personal than that. It is the celebration of the birth of "your" Savior. As the angel announced,
"Today in the city of David there has been born FOR YOU a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (NASB)."

Personalize this on Christmas Day. Take the sheet of paper with the angel's announcement and begin to write down your painful regrets from 2014--words which should never have been spoken, actions you wish you could now take back, choices that moved you away from God instead of toward Him. Be as honest with God as you possibly can be and write them down. Acknowledge your sin before Him.
Having completed your painful list, read the angel's announcement once again. Confess your faith in Jesus' ability to forgive. He was born a Savior in order to take away ALL your sin. Place your trust then in Him and His power to forgive sin, especially the ones you struggled the most to admit. Commit your list to Him in prayer and then return it to the gift box.
Finally, with a grateful heart, take the gift box and place it in the garbage. On the days following Christmas Day, 4 million tons of wrapping paper and boxes will be thrown away. Because of the sufficiency of Jesus' love and forgiveness, allow your list of 2014 regrets to be carried away because this Christmas you are celebrating the birth of your Savior!
Will you do it? It may give you a fresh perspective on why we celebrate Christmas!

-Stephen Lowrie - 

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