Christmas SMILE #22 (Reason to SMILE #356): THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
There’s something about this time of year that brings out the best in people. Children begin behaving, doing their chores without complaining, offering to help around the house – mostly to secure their place on Santa’s “Nice List”! Families set aside differences and grudges and gather together sharing, laughing and embracing freely and wholeheartedly. Even strangers stop on the street, at the stores and in restaurants to greet each other and wish happiness and joy to all those around.
Sure, the holidays can also bring out the worst in some people. Crowds at the mall, busy city streets and noisy public venues can test anyone’s patience and place a damper on Christmas cheer. But with every “Merry Christmas” I hear as I navigate this busy season, I am reassured that the spirit of Christmas remains alive and well. And when I return each greeting with a warm SMILE and a Christmas blessing of my own, I am doing my part to spread love and joy to a world longing for Christmas Spirit and longing for the Hope and Peace it brings.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our Christmas Spirit endured all year round?
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
– “Let There be Peace on Earth” by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller
She sat alone in the back of a quiet sanctuary. It was her spot. She would sneak in the back every Sunday just after the morning service began. She’d listen as the songs were sung and the sermon was preached and then she would slip out during the invitation – a quick “pick me up” for the week. The problem is it never worked.
For some time now, her heart has been hurting. She has been walking through life as if in a fog that would never lift. She has been searching for answers, for an escape from the shadows that smothered her hopes and dreams. She has been longing for an end to her desolation but has not been able to find it.
As far as she was concerned, there was only one way out – only one way to end her burdens and suffering. She knew the darkness, the sadness, the dreariness of her life was a result of her own choices. She had thrown away her dreams. She had caused her own misery. Only she could end the pain.
She made her way to the back pew of the church one last time. Tears were streaming down her face as the pastor invited the congregation to pray. She had not prayed in years but she wanted to pray one last time. The weight of her burdens was so heavy she almost couldn’t stand. She struggled to her feet and made her way to the altar. She didn’t know what to say but as her tears drenched the altar, her heart began to plead with the Father.
“Lord, bring your favor to this desolate sanctuary.
Lord, shine your light into this darkened tomb.
Lord, pour your spirit on this tattered and broken temple.
Lord, may your presence fill this life anew.”
She thought this would be her last prayer so she held nothing back. She poured out her soul and laid the broken pieces of her life before the Lord. She cried out in anger, in desperation, in brokenness. She expected nothing but in the midst of her tears, she found everything. The Father that she had walked away from so many years before was waiting for her with arms open wide. He picked up her broken pieces and opened her eyes to the hope that only He can give. He wiped away her tears, picked her up and filled her with the light of His Love.
One last prayer changed her life forever.
Are you living in darkness as if you are walking in a fog? Do you feel like your life is a desolate wasteland? Are you haunted by the choices of your past? Are you pursuing things of this world, things that are leading you away from the Giver of abundant life? Are you ready to give up?
It’s time. Give it up today. Take it to our Heavenly Father and give it all to Him. You may have walked away. You may have made all the wrong choices but you do not have to remain in this desolation. He is waiting for you with open arms. He wants to restore you. He wants to take the broken pieces of your life and make them into something beyond your wildest dreams. He wants to heal your soul and love on you today. Don’t wait any longer! Pray!