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Categorized | From the Pulpit

How was Christmas?

Pastor David Ward

Pilgrim Bible Church

361 Pine St, Cedar Springs

So, How was Christmas for you? Was it everything you hoped it would be?

Back in the early seventies, when I was a kid, a relative spent thousands of dollars trying to find just the right presents for her two children. She stayed up over half the night trying to get everything in picture-perfect packaging. Fifteen minutes after the pajama-clad kiddos found the Christmas tree there was much squealing and excitement as they happily played… with the boxes and wrapping paper!  I think their Mother was still mad for weeks afterwards. After she went to all the expense and effort, to think that her ungrateful offspring would choose to play with the packaging!

Of course, as we grow older, it gets harder and harder to find just the right gift. More often than not, we make sure to save the receipt, just in case the recipient would rather have something else. How long has it been since you were overwhelmed and excited about what you found under the tree?

For too many people, the Holidays are marked by loneliness and disappointment. The expectations and the promise of the advertisements never even come close to all of their extravagant claims. We’re left with feelings of emptiness and discouragement. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Perhaps these feelings arise because we are looking in the wrong place for our fulfillment and happiness? The advanced gadgets of today will be replaced with a newer revision in months, if not weeks. Things we thought would last for a lifetime are gone all too soon.  

The truth is, happiness is not supposed to be found materially but rather in relationships. This was the overlooked key in all the holiday hubbub. Happiness and contentment are not found in an object. It is found in a person, Jesus Christ.

The Message of the Manger was that God had come to Earth. One of Christ’s names is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” The amazing discovery is that God wanted to leave heaven to step into our world. How deeply God values us is revealed in His willingness to not only walk with us but to die for us, on the Cross of Calvary.  The extent of His giving is demonstrated in that He not only visited some two thousand years ago but rather that He still chooses to visit any and all hearts that will open to Him.  

Our value as a person and our fulfillment in life are revealed in a deepening relationship with Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. Have you chosen to make that relationship a priority this Christmas season or have you allowed it to be crowded out by everything else?

As we stand on the eve of a new year, we have a golden opportunity to make our relationship with God who loves us a real priority in our lives. Don’t be distracted by the glitter of the advertisements nor discouraged by what may lie behind us.  Let’s choose to pursue the warmth and promise of the plan God has for us.

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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