My first orange picture in China
We each have different Christmas traditions in our families. Some open presents on Christmas eve. Some open one gift. We have certain foods we eat, songs we love to listen to, people we call and sing "We wish you a Merry Christmas" to on Christmas Day, gifts too big to wrap that you have to hunt them down, and the list goes on and on. Christmas is especially a time for gifts. We spend lots of time shopping for that perfect gift for each person and then more time wrapping it. We want each person to know how special they are to us and how much we love them. What is often not done on Christmas is the sharing of one gift. It is the most important gift of all.
This gift came to us one night over 2000 years ago in a stable. It came in the form of a tiny baby boy named J*sus. I have gotten some amazing gifts in my 42 years but none quite like this gift. All my life I had said that I knew who this Jesus was. I said I knew he was the son of G*d, born of a virgin, died on the cross and rose again. I just never knew HIM. THAT was the gift that was missing in my life and THAT was the gift that I finally got 5 years ago.I had always called myself a Christian but even though I had taken religion classes for many years, I never really knew him. I knew of Him but I had never had a personal relationship with J*sus Chr*st. It was in the darkest time of my depression after Christmas of 2002 that I found Him. He had come over 2000 years ago but was waiting for me to take His hand so I no longer had to go through anything alone again. I was at a point in my life that I didn't want to take my life but I had no idea how to live it. I was in jeopardy of losing my job and my home. I had creditors calling all the time because I wasn't paying my bills. My debt was greater than my income for I was trying to find happiness in purchasing things and having trinkets. Many days, I couldn't get up and go to work. When I did, I wasn't much use. I spent alot of time crying and even more time sleeping. My psychologist had me on 3 different medications for my depression and my anxiety attacks but it wasn't working. He couldn't hospitalize me unless I had thoughts of suicide. Then I found a counselor that could help me. It was the counselor that Isaiah had spoke of more than 2700 years ago... J*sus Chr*st.
I won't tell you that coming to know J*sus stopped all my problems or fixed all the situations I had gotten myself into. What He did give me was peace...peace in knowing that I could get through anything with Him as my strength. I guess that is why Isaiah called Him the Prince of Peace. I remember the first time He stopped one of my full blown anxiety attacks. I could feel His peace wash over me. It was like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. I continue to get that peace whenever I call out to Him for He is with me all the time.
Another name given to J*sus is S*vior. He has saved me from so much. He saved me from my anxiety attacks. He has saved me from needing 3 different meds. (I have been med free for almost 3 years now after taking them for 13 years) He has saved me from my fear of never finding someone to love me for all that I am and all that I'm not. He has also saved me from eternal damnation and given me the security in knowing that I have a place in heaven. This is because I asked Him into my life.
This gift is not just for me but for you too. He came over 2000 years ago because He loves each one of us. John 3:16 tells us For G*d so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever shall believe in Him shall have everlasting life. He came even though He knew that not everyone would believe in Him. He came because He loved you and the only thing He wants back is for you to love Him too...with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.
There are so many things that are unsure in our lives right now...the economy, jobs, health, investments, relationship issues. He is here to help you get through these things. You don't have to go it alone. All you have to do is ask Him to help you. He is standing there beside you with his hand stretched out to you...waiting...longing for you to come to Him so He can hold you and help you get through all the challenges you are facing right now.
Because it is Christmas, we need to hear His story...the story of His birth, for without His birth He couldn't have died for you. For those of you who are Chr*stians, I ask you now, is Chr*st a part of your Christmas? Is there anything you are doing for Christmas that tells others He is a part of you? His story is amazing and because of Him I am who I am. He has fearfully and wonderfully made me and He is using every good and quirky thing about me here in Ch*na. He too wants to use you for He has a plan for you. Don't you want to know what it is? Don't you want to see what that gift is like? Go ahead. Open that gift. You won't be disappointed that you did.