Christmas is over, and a New Year has begun – but if you are a Christian, it is only the beginning of something even greater. Steph Nickel challenges us to follow through with what we learned from Christmas themes.
Christmas Is Over
Well, it’s over for another year: the planning, the anticipation, the celebration.
When we take down the tree and put away the trappings of the season, do we simply slip back into life as usual?
It’s easy to do, but should we?
Though we may not give some of our gifts another thought, should we forget the Greatest Gift of All Time?
Though we may carefully place the lights from the tree and the exterior of our home in a box for safekeeping, should we ever do anything to obscure the Light of the World?
Though we no longer greet one another by saying, “Merry Christmas,” should we stop looking for authentic and organic ways to make the Saviour the focus of our conversation?
Of course the answer to all three questions is no, but let’s look at some practical ways to follow through on the Christmas themes of gifts, lights, and greetings.
The Most Amazing Gift – Only The Beginning
In the ESV, Romans 5:16-17 speaks of the free gift of God.
“The free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is the most amazing gift we could ever receive. One of the mysteries of the Bible is that this gift is free, and yet, it cost Jesus His life and we are instructed in Luke 14 to count the cost of
We can never earn salvation, but following Jesus is worth any cost.
Setting Things Aside
While we’re considering our goals for the New Year, are we willing to set aside those things that hinder us from seeing this “free gift of righteousness reign in [our lives]”?
Are we willing to get up early in order to begin our day by reading God’s Word and praying?
Are we willing to arrange our family’s schedule in such a way that we can do so with them?
Are we willing to keep our Sunday’s free so we can worship with other believers in Jesus?
If we don’t spend time studying the Scriptures, communicating with God in prayer, and fellowshipping with brothers and sisters in Christ, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to let our light shine.
Letting Our Light Shine
In Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV), Jesus says to His listeners,
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” .
Whether we’re bubbly and outgoing or shy and reserved, we can shine brightly for Jesus. However, we can’t do so in our own strength—nor would we want to. As we get to know Him better … As we grow to love Him more … And as we desire to express that love to those He brings into our life … we will shine brightly and God will receive the glory.
Rather than resolving to do more good works, let’s resolve to get to know Him better and regularly pray that His love will shine through us. Good works that overflow from a heart filled with love will make a lasting impact.
While our deeds may speak louder than our words, that doesn’t mean we should assume that deeds alone are enough. We must learn to share the truths of Scripture in authentic and organic ways.
Day To Day Conversations
Recently, a visiting missionary challenged us to speak of the Lord in our day-to-day conversations.
Some of us feel ill-prepared to do so. Still, we may feel rehearsed scripts will come across as insincere. And yet, if we haven’t given it any forethought, an entire day may go by without us speaking about the Lord to anyone—especially unbelievers.
At our staff meeting, the pastor challenged us to respond to the familiar question “How are you?” with something besides the standard “I’m fine.”
If our response gives the other person an opportunity to ask us about our faith, we may just find ourselves sharing the gospel more often. And a simple “Merry Christmas” won’t likely do that.
As we pack away the trappings of Christmas, may we focus on the fact that each day God gives us breath is a new beginning, a new opportunity to make Him known.
If you have enjoyed reading this post and wish to send us a comment or share a prayer request, please don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know.
Images courtesy of:
Sunrise over Earth – qimono
Christmas Tree – Roger Kirby
Bratislava Castle – LubosHouska
Conversation – James Oladujoye