Where is your mind this Christmas season?
Let’s face it - this can be a tough time of year for many of us because, in addition to the usual daily challenges of life, we now face additional pressure created by a list of expectations that center around our preparations to celebrate Christmas with our families. These expectations are based on:
After all, God never set forth a specific celebration or tradition to remember or celebrate the birth of His Son. Christmas, as meaningful as it may be, is a man-made holiday. What God does ask us to remember is the sacrificial death of His Son for our benefit. The way we are instructed to do this is through the practice of communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). So, by all means, let’s enjoy celebrating Christmas, but not to the exclusion of what God has asked us to remember – the sacrificial death of Jesus which opens the door to a relationship with God, a new way of thinking and an abundant and eternal life.
Still, I believe that Christmas celebrations are meaningful and beneficial because they help me focus on a very important truth:
The God who redeemed me through the death of His perfect Son can also identify with me.
...an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:20-25)
Jesus once wore skin like I do and so He is not as far removed from my experience as I am sometimes tempted to think. Because of this, I can rest in and act on the fact that Jesus is not only willing to help me, but He can help me with understanding.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16).
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word empathize as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Where is your mind this Christmas season? Are you focused on your list of man-made expectations that leave us feeling too busy to focus on the why behind what we are doing? Or are you focused on giving thanks for and celebrating the gift that has been given to you? Through the celebration of Christmas, we are reminded that God gave us Emmanuel who is more than a Redeemer. He is also The Empathizer. He has the ability to understand and share our feelings. And His ability to empathize moves Him to help us.
If you are stressed out and facing tough challenges this Christmas season, you can know that He gets it and because He gets it, we can come to Him with confidence knowing that we will receive mercy and grace to help us help in our time of need. Now that is a reason to give thanks and celebrate! Oh come let us adore Him!
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About the author:
Hello! My name is Ginger Hill and I am a Christ follower and a wellness professional. Over the years, I have personally and professionally seen the benefits of healthy living and I have also seen the hardships of struggling to practice good health habits in the midst of a busy and sometimes stressful life. I am passionate about helping myself and others to live a healthy lifestyle and I believe that good health is essential in helping us to do the good works that God has called us to do. Because I am a work in progress, I write these blog posts to encourage myself and I share them with others in the hope that they may be encouraged as well.
Psalm 92:12,14 (NLT)
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