Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Gift of Love

Here I am, up early Christmas morning before the family. Merry Christmas! As I was waking this morning, I started thinking of the many people who are having anything but a Merry Christmas. I began praying for them to focus on the Father's gift of Love more than on their own selves. The enemy of our souls so wants to distract us from that.

So many people are depressed, angry, confused, and/or anxious today--the day we celebrate the Prince of Peace sent as a light to our darkness. Most of these desperate people do not know that this gift of Love has truly been given to them. A gift does no one any good until they receive it. It doesn't matter who gave the gift. It doesn't matter what the gift is or how much it costs. If the recipient of the gift does not take the gift in their hands, open it and use it for it's intended purpose, it will continue to be useless. So today, I offer a prayer for all the lonely people. Yes, they are lonely if they have not received the gift of Love, even if they are surrounded by many friends and family. Father, I pray that today many will have eyes to see that gift of Love You have given them when You sent Jesus. I pray that many will not only see the gift, but they will embrace it and receive the Prince of Peace into their broken hearts.

Now for the many Christians who have received Emmanuel, God With Us, but are still depressed, angry, confused and/or anxious today, Lord please remind them Who is in control! They are doing exactly what the enemy wants them to do when they focus on themselves and all the issues that they think are causing their depression or anxiety. I pray that they would look within, but that they would look deeper within. I pray they would look deeper than the layer of the present circumstances of the mess in which they find themselves. I pray they would look deeper than the layer of the past memories of the many people who have let them down. Help them to see deep within that gift of Love they took in years ago--the gift that keeps on giving, if they will only keep receiving! I pray that they would stop allowing the enemy to rob them of the "peace that passes all understanding" (Philippians 4:6) and the "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8) that they have in Jesus!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Senses of Christmas

I had the awesome privilege of speaking at the Peachtree City United Methodist Church Women's annual Christmas brunch on Saturday. It was a joy to see people from the past, including ladies whom I taught their children when I was a music teacher years ago and fellow teachers from my years at Huddleston Elementary school. Thanks goes out to PTCUMC Women for inviting me! Everything was beautiful and it was a delight to be there!

The topic of my message was "The Senses of Christmas." I used the article I wrote with the same title for my monthly column, "Sensesational Musings by Tammy Melton" for (BTW, you may click on the title of this blog post to be taken to the page to read the article...scroll down to the bottom.), but I added more about Christmas being a time to remind us to serve.

Christmas is the holiday above others that appeals to our senses. You can probably taste that hot spiced cider and feel the warmth it brings to your body and soul even as you read this! And as much as we may say we are tired of hearing Christmas music, imagine a December without it! As we gather for all our festive parties and church presentations, let's not forget the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus indeed left His throne of Glory to come experience the five senses for us that first Christmas day.

Why did he do it? He did it for us. “...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28) Jesus is the ultimate example of a true servant. (See Philippians 2:5-8) Servanthood is the opposite of selfishness. He gave it all. He gave His life so that we can have eternal life. We've all heard the saying, "Nobody's perfect!" That goes along with the Bible that says we have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory. The Good News is that God Himself, the perfect one, came to take our place. Now we get the best gift of eternal life! That's what Christmas is all about!

How do we thank Him? 1. by receiving the gift for which He gave His life and 2. by serving others as He served us. I encourage you to give money in the red bucket when you pass by a Salvation Army bell ringer. I encourage you to find someone less fortunate and bless them this Christmas. When we do, we will help to soften the hardness of hearts in a society that tries to push Christ out of Christmas.