Christmas should be a time of spiritual renewal for everyone. After all, we are celebrating Jesus’ birthday. But there are Christmas programs, special services and family gatherings, so it’s easy to become tired and discouraged from too many events, too many crisis, too much pressure and too little time.

Years ago, I attended a meeting where we spent the day interviewing new ministers. I was not thrilled with the idea of sitting in a meeting all day long. But then, I heard the testimonies and stories:

  • A businesswoman left a successful career to serve three rural churches. 
  • A minister’s son swore he would never follow in dad’s footsteps, then he did!
  • A nurse, touched by God’s Holy Spirit became involved in spiritual healing.
  • A Vietnam veteran survived when others died, then 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 facing such daunting obstacles?

Peter, facing similar obstacles said: “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 difficulties, but makes several important statements:

  • The Lord is with me. Knowing God is with you gives purpose and meaning.
  • I will not be shaken. Refuse to allow obstacles to overcome your faith.
  • My heart is filled with joy. A celebration of God’s continuing love.
  • I have hope. The obstacles will pass 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 extraordinary servants. This is what I believe God can do for you. As we celebrate the Christmas season, my prayer is that God will continue working living miracles in you and in me.

You have a special story to tell. You are a story of God’s hope and encouragement in the face of obstacles. As you prepare for Christmas, remember this:

  • The Lord is with you.
  • You will not be shaken.
  • Your heart will be filled with joy.
  • You have hope.
  • God has shown you the way of life and joy.

So, my wife, Mell and I wish you a blessed Christmas and a fulfilling New Year, all directed and guided by the amazing grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as we remember and celebrate his birthday.