Look to God

“FROM THE PASTOR’S HEART” December 13, 2018

Good morning everyone,

Christmas is either the time of year for great joy or extreme sorrow. It is a time of polar opposites
for many people around the world. The ideal and reality are never quite the same. This is due to people’s
perspective rather than the actual time of the year. What allows this time of the year to be special is the reason
for the celebration more than the activities that are associated with the Christmas season.
God coming into the world as a human being, Jesus, with the expressed purpose of being the
ultimate sacrifice for satisfying the judgment of God against sin is the reason we celebrate at this time of
year (Matthew 1:21-23; John 1:14, 29). If Christ is the core of all that is done and focus of the celebration,
then the immediate circumstances of life are unable to affect the joy of the season. Sorrow over the death of a
loved one will still hurt, but joy is not quenched. Despair and hopelessness over physical circumstances is
rendered powerless to steal away the peace and love God provides through the ministry of reconciliation that
Christ has given to the Church.

It is important to never forget that God must be in the center of the Christmas celebration, but also to
keep Him in the center of life throughout the year. One example of how this can change our outlook is found
in Numbers 13:27-31, “Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with
milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are
fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of
the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the
sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for
we are well able to overcome it.”
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they
are stronger than we” (NKJV).

Life is not about what we can or cannot do personally. Life is about what God is doing, and how He
designed and is equipping and working through His people to bring about His will and reveal His glory. The
Christmas celebration has become diluted and stripped of the joy it should have because those who worship
Him have allowed themselves to get caught up in the distractions of what others have said Christmas time
should be about rather than concentrating on the reason to celebrate in the first place.
People lose their employment, go without essential needs, and are mourning the death of loved ones
daily. It seems more difficult at Christmas time than any other time of the year because of these false
expectations that have been forced upon the Christmas season. If anything, all those burdens ought to be made
easier at this time of year instead of harder.

A person can face unemployment, despair, hopelessness, and the lack of basic necessities of life because
God has come into the world to be a Savior who can truly empathize with those He created. God did not
come into a wealthy family but a poor one and was on the run early in His life because people sought to kill
Him (Leviticus 12:6-8; Matthew 2:13-18; Luke 2:22-24). God cares so much that He endured all that we face
and more in His lifetime upon the earth and died in our place.
It is up to those who know Christ to focus on the real reason for the season of joy during the
Christmas celebration. This can be done while participating in the festivities of this time of year, but still
expressing great joy even though things are not exactly the way we might prefer them to be because we know
that God is still sovereignly enthroned and has shown us His forgiveness and love even though it is not deserved.

Praying beyond the physical:
Father, help me set my eyes upon Your strength and great love rather than on the things of this world.
Jesus, help me praise You in all the things I do to proclaim the Gospel through this joyful season.
Spirit, help me look to You for strength to rejoice even when my heart is shattered at this time of year.
Pastor Tom

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