How do we hang onto this?

Good morning everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “The awesome presence of the reality of God”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and realized that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “How do we hang onto this?”
 
In 2010 I wrote and published a book with the title, “Bringing it Home: A Post-Trip Devotional Guide for International and Domestic Short-Term Mission Teams.” The purpose of the book was to help returning missionaries process and hang onto the experiences and lessons from the mission field, and then incorporate those experiences and lessons into life back home. It’s often said that missions can be a “mountaintop experience”, and that “mission trips change lives”. Mission trips do change lives – if the lessons and experiences are kept and incorporated.
 
The same can be true for our Christmas experience. In his book “God Came Near” author Max Lucado includes a chapter with the title, “Christmas Night”. It was the true story of how late one Christmas night, he was sitting in front of the fireplace reflecting on what a wonderful Christmas season it had been. But now, the presents had been given and received, the wrapping paper and ribbons were in the trash, the Christmas meal had been eaten, the last carol had been sung, the visitors had gone home, and the kids were in bed.
 
Max’s thoughts drifted to what a joyful time of year the Christmas season is. People go to great lengths to be nice, generous, compassionate, and to share good cheer. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all hang onto that and carry it forward into the New Year? And shouldn’t we?
 
This celebration of Immanuel, God with us, is supposed to remind us that God is with us. All the time. It wasn’t a stand-alone event. It wasn’t just a birth, and that was it. The birth of Christ inaugurated a new era in human history. There was a significant shift in the spiritual world that changed everything in the physical world. Nothing ever would or could or should be the same again. The presence of Jesus in the world for thirty-three years, and His Holy Spirit living in the hearts of His followers ever since then, changes everything.
 
The celebration of Christmas does make a difference in the world every year – for a short-time. The world is always a better place for three or four weeks in December. But it’s up to us, the followers of Christ, to hang onto that and carry it forward into the New Year. Christmas isn’t supposed to be just a day, or even just a season. Instead, it’s a spiritual reality that should make the world a better place every day, all year long.
 
We’ll spend the rest of the month considering how we can carry the spirit of Christmas with us into the New Year.
 
God bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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