It’s almost Christmas! People are going to send out some Christmas cards. It’s an outreach to some relatives and some friends; it’s not just to provide jobs for the postoffice. These people (that’s you . . . ) need to be encouraged to write — in their own words — about God’s magnificent love that we each desperately need to personally accept.
“Aaaack,” some will frown or declare or yell. “I don’t want my relatives and friends to label me a Religious Nut.”(Please be patient and read on. This is only 654 words long. You can do it?)
So, the problem is what to say and how to say it? We’ve been drowning in pressure to sit down and shut up and be tolerant of every one’s notion of life and death.
Here’s where the smiling pastor and genial home group hosts need to step up with practical how-to, after making this issue a matter of serious prayer.
This is what I want to tell your pastor and the leaders: Set aside for a couple of weeks that sermon on humility, that one that invokes a tweak of response when you remind us how bad it is to feel a sense of accomplishment for some challenge in life we’ve overcome. Postpone that sermon on gossip, that one that makes us question our caring when we tell each other what we saw or heard about that old lady in the fifth pew.
Now’s the time to lay it out plainly: each of us needs to face up to our shortcomings before the LORD, to confess, to repent, to ask for forgiveness, to personally receive salvation. Now is the time to open that Bible and get the story straight.
Even if you knew how short of time Aunt Mabel has left before a serious car wreck, how short of time Uncle Jesper has before cancer does him in, or even little Punkin isn’t going to make it to Christmas next year — you are their relative or friend. Picture how happy you’ll be to see them in Heaven when you arrive there the day after Easter this year.
“Well done, good and faithful friend. Enter into the joy of Forever with your Savior Jesus.” Can you picture this being said to YOU by the LORD? (He knows your name, of course, and I don’t when I’m writing this.)
“But. . . But . . .” Some reader may be sputtering about now. But?
The missing part of this is our lack of understanding about God’s Holy Spirit. We’ve hardly heard about this powerful Person of the Trinity. The words you bravely and prayerfully write to your relatives and friends will be underlined and emphasized in the quietness of each person’s heart and mind by the Holy Spirit.
Even if Grandma Sally is slipping into a coma at hospice she can still hear. Your voice telling her of God’s love and God’s plan of salvation could be heard and she could accept Jesus as Savior. The Holy Spirit can use your small, but brave, efforts and translate the Good News into just the words Grandma Sally needs to hear.
Christmas is way past the Santa Claus stuff, beyond the presents and songs and decorations. It ought to go past our familiar traditions into a new step of faith. You and I are the ones who need the challenge. Consider God’s Christmas presence.Stop. Think. Then, act.
So, don’t stew about the exact words you will write on that piece of paper that you’ll mail with the Christmas cards to everyone on your list next week. God’s Holy Spirit will point out to each recipient the part He wants to emphasize about how to get right with the LORD. Tell about Jesus, tell about Heaven.
Do your part; make this the best Christmas ever for lots of people. The blessing starts in your own heart.
Goodbye worry; hello, LORD.
By Elaine Hardt ©2012