At the start of this holiday we celebrated the coming to earth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and willingly died for our sins. He did this so that we can be in the attendance of our Heavenly Father, free from condemnation, free from guilt and shame, and free from fear of what the future holds, which for those without Christ is death, and forever weeping and gnashing of teeth.  So this is the time to think about what Jesus means to you, your family, and friends. This is a time of giving, not receiving, at time of reflection on the blessings that God has continually poured out on us, even when we don’t see them. So with that, I want to leave you for this next two weeks, with a declaration. It is my prayer that each of you have a very blessed and special Christmas with family and friends. Celebrate how you will, but remember the very reason for your celebration. The world wants to turn this time of year into a secular holiday with no religious meaning to it whatsoever. They can try all they want, but this holiday is but for one reason, and that’s to celebrate the greatest gift of all time. The giving of God to the earth of a plan of salvation. A gift that cost Him dearly, as He would give His own Son for the ransom of many. So let’s go to Scripture today in 1 John and read our declaration:
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life – that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us- what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”  1 John 1:1-6   I know that there are lots of fears these days about the things that are going on in our country, and that we feel persecution is increasing, and what will the future be for our children and grandchildren.  But let’s draw strength from the Holy Spirit who comforts us in those times of fear and anxiety. Let’s remember the truth of Jesus, who tells us that He will never leave or forsake us. Let’s take our eyes off of what the world is doing and fix them on Jesus. Let’s go to Scripture to see the hope in those words like Hebrews 12:3-5 “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart. In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him, for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives.”  It’s a time for lifting our voices up in praise, and celebrate the fact that God cares so much for us, that He would go to the extremes that He has to keep us to Himself. These are times of praise and drawing closer to Him, not farther away, so go ahead draw close to Him and He will draw close to you. Honor Him with your worship and with prayer. Let’s let Him know how much we love Him and give Him the honor He deserves. Pastor Andy

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