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The "Lull" before a New Year, December 26th – December 31st , usually becomes a time of reflection. It’s a small gap in which we reflect on the past year, both the successes and regrets, while also looking ahead to a new year filled with possibilities. One of the best steps we can take during this time is to NOT leave Christmas behind!
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,
continue to live your lives in Him,"
Colossians 2:6 NIV
During the Christmas season we tend to be kinder, more patient, generous, grateful and joyful in anticipation of the season. Let’s not leave all that behind!
This is a New Year, and if we know Christ, we are living a new life! Think back to that time you placed your faith fully in Christ and asked Him to be your Savior and Lord. The moment you said "YES!" to Jesus and surrendered your life to follow and fully trust Him for your life now and for eternity.
The New Year is a time for refocussing...a reset. We may have veered away from God, but Christmas has renewed our faith. This year let's continue with Christ's Mass every day so that others may see Jesus in us and be drawn to Him for light, love and life!
"the one who says that he remains in Him ought, himself also,
walk just as He walked."
1 John 2:6
"Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Christmas cards we have received make a wonderful visual prayer list for the New Year! Keep them handy taking one out each day and praying for these special people in your life. Give God thanks for them. This is also a great idea for your family to do together during family worship or around the dinner table!
Snail mail has almost become extinct…except at Christmas. Take time to write an actual handwritten note to someone different each week or month of 2020; don’t just wait until next Christmas.
Recently one of our Awana leaders was sharing about the Bible being God’s letter to each of us. He wrote letters to some of the clubbers using Scripture personalized with their name. One of our girls hugged her letter to her chest and said, “I’m going to keep this forever!”
Whether it is a child you know, a relative you rarely see, or a coworker you see every day, a handwritten note received in the mail can shout – “You matter to me!”
Give an unexpected gift. We probably know what Jesus said recorded by Luke in Acts 20:35 – “It is more blessed to give than receive.” Sometimes at Christmas or birthdays we feel “obligated” to give gifts though.
Keep your eyes open, and when you see a little something special that reminds you of someone, give it to them now; don’t wait for a reason.
But also, let’s give of our words – a gift of encouragement. Hebrews 10:25 instructs us “but encourage one another,” and Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:29 that our words should be an encouragement or “gift of grace” to all who hear them. Words are free as far as money, but they may cost us a bit of thought and intentionality.
You’ll be the one to really receive the gift of giving! Christmas is a reminder of God’s greatest gift to us and is worth sharing.
Someone once said - "Give a rose while the person can still smell it." We are never promised tomorrow or next Christmas, so let's not wait.
Again, for no other reason but to celebrate life, have a party! When our kids were small, we would have an “unbirthday party” like Alice in Wonderland’s friends did. Let's learn to treasure and celebrate every day of life.
Create a special meal, invite friends, take a cupcake to someone, play with your children, enjoy the moments!
Life is too short to wait for an occasion; celebrate life, family, and God’s goodness … today!
Shopping during the holidays is so different from the everyday shopping experience. During the holidays people seem kinder, more patient, joyful, generous, and grateful to others and to God.
Why should this be limited to a few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Let’s choose to smile at others more, be aware of their needs, give more generously, and share the joy that comes from Jesus so others may find the hope only found in Christ!
A Scripture I read this morning captured my heart – “Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy;” Psalm 34:5a NLT
Let's radiate joy and reflect His love throughout this New Year!
How many times did we read or hear the Christmas story found in Luke 2 during this Christmas season? How often Jesus came to our mind daily as we tried to keep Him in the forefront of our thoughts. Let’s not stop now!
Let’s carry on! BlueletterBible.org has a really great Bible reading plan that takes us through all four Gospels chronologically. Don't stop with the Christmas story of Jesus' birth; get to know Who He is by reading through His life, His teachings, His miracles, how He treated and loved those around Him, and the greatest gift - His death and resurrection!
May January be a time of us beginning or continuing to soak ourselves in God’s Word. His Words are the only ones that can penetrate to the very division of our soul and spirit, our joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Hebrews 4:12) ... It changes us!
These six ways to carry Christmas into the New Year and throughout are pretty simple. We can’t do it alone though. Daily we need to spend time in God’s presence with His Word allowing His Holy Spirit to make us more like Jesus.
If we are not intentional about recognizing and enjoying His presence as we walk throughout our day, we won’t remember. We’ll fall back into the rut, the busyness of the ordinary.
In 2020, let’s choose to live BIGGER – God Big! Christmas is about celebrating God stepping out of Heaven to come and live among us; that's BIG! If we are believers in Christ, this is an everyday occurrence; He is with us always, not just during one small season of the year.
He is Immanuel – “God with us!” Celebrate – let’s not leave Christmas behind in the past; let's live it out for others to continue to see today, tomorrow and beyond!
This is also a great time to begin reading our Bible daily. There are several Through-the-Year plans available. If you are new to reading the Bible, start with our Beginner plans. Enjoy His Word - it's sweeter than honey.
Creative prayer plans and journaling can draw us into a deeper and longer quiet time with God too.
Special note: We do preview the websites to which we link, but are unable to peruse them completely. We try to check others' faith statements and make sure they do profess Jesus Christ as God's Son and salvation is found only in Him. It must, however, be your responsibility to personally dig into God's Word and allow the Holy Spirit to be your first and final teacher on all subjects.
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