Christmas should be a time of spiritual renewal for everyone. After all, we are getting ready to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. But, there are Christmas programs, special services, shopping for gifts, parties, family gatherings and the list goes on and on. So, at times it’s easy to become tired and cranky from too many events, too many crisis, too much pressure and too little time.
Years ago, I attended a meeting where we were to spend all day interviewing future ministers. In the midst of this busy Christmas season, I was not thrilled with the idea of sitting in a meeting all day long. But, then I heard the amazing stories:
- A businesswoman left a thriving career, friends and family to serve three rural churches.
- A counselor attended Bible College in his spare time and is serving a church part-time until he completes his education.
- A successful contractor moved his wife and children from a thriving city to a small town.
- A minister’s son who swore he would never follow in dads footsteps…. did!
- A nurse who’s heart warmed by God’s Holy Spirit became involved in spiritual healing.
- A Vietnam veteran who fought and survived while others died dedicated his life to God.
Each person faced multiple problems of low income, attending school, leading a church, maintaining a family life and trying to spend personal time with God. In any other profession this would be a formula for disaster. Yet, each one was passionate about the future and their relationship with God.
What was their secret? How could they be so enthusiastic in the midst of such obstacles?
Peter, facing similar obstacles was asked the same question: “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts his praises! My body rests in hope. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown me the way of life, and you will give me wonderful joy in your presence.” (Acts 2:25-28)
Peter never denies the difficulties life presents, but he makes several important statements:
- The Lord is with me. Knowing God is with you gives purpose and meaning to your life.
- I will not be shaken. Refusing to allow today’s obstacles to overcome your faith.
- My heart is filled with joy. A celebration of God’s continuing love and guidance.
- I have hope. The obstacles will pass or be overcome, but God’s love endures forever.
- You have shown me the way of life and joy. Thank you, God!
These enthusiastic new ministers reminded me of how God continually turns ordinary people into special servants. This is what I believe God has done for you. As we celebrate the Christmas season, my prayer is that God will continue working living miracles in you and in me.
You too have a story to tell. A story of God’s hope and encouragement in the midst of the obstacles you face. As you think about your story, remember this:
- The Lord is always with you.
- You will not be shaken for he is right beside you.
- Your heart will be filled with joy.
- You have hope.
- God has shown you the way of life.
Have a blessed Christmas and a joyous 2014!