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The True Joy Of Christmas

 

The true joy of Christmas is not about eating nice food. Nor is it about having family around yourself to celebrate. It’s neither wearing fine clothes nor hearing carols being sung around the corner. All of these are good in themselves, in moderation of course, but they do not make up the true joy of Christmas. Never even be part of the ignoble Black Friday sale before Christmas time, there is nothing Christlike in it. Because you can still have all of them but lose the joy in pursuit of worldly festivities, in trying to imitate the world’s ways and the world’s vain pleasures.

But heart of hearts, the true joy of Christmas is in being grateful for God’s gift to the world; the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We didn’t deserve him then nor do we deserve him now, because its only the grace of God even till now. And whatever Jesus asks of us we only do it in loving obedience to the will of God.

I appreciate each one taking time to meditate and celebrate the gift of the Savior Jesus to this fallen world we live in. And since we have received this most solemn faith by the Spirit of God, let’s continue to celebrate Jesus not just on Christmas but each day we live.

To sum it all up; you can only find the true of joy of Christmas in being grateful and obedient to Jesus Christ every time and everyday!

 

25 tips to prepare spiritually for Christmas

christmas

I know that it’s not yet December and still I feel inspired to share 25 tips to prepare spiritually for Christmas. A head start in preparation should be of good help for you.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ Jesus our Lord. Do remember that almost everyone has celebrated their own birthday at some time or the other. Many love to celebrate the birthday of their friend and loved ones. It’s a way to express their love for the gift of life their own have received. And here we have someone even more greater, the giver of life, Christ himself. How much more are we to value his birth and his coming to save us from sin and death?

Let’s read the following scriptures:

  • For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:7)
  • She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21)
  • And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:8-11)

the crib

So now here are 25 tips to prepare spiritually for Christmas:

  1. Read the scriptures about Jesus, especially the reason why Jesus had to come as a man on earth. Read as much as you can. (A little head start, please read 1 Peter 1:20, Hebrews 9:26, Acts 2:23-25)
  2. Meditate on the scriptures pertaining to the birth of Christ. (Please read Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah 7:14, Jeremiah 23:5, Micah 5:2, Luke 1:39-45, John 1:9-14)
  3. Pray by yourself alone in God’s presence even more. (read Matthew 6:6 which says But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.)
  4. Don’t neglect to pray in groups as well, especially with your family (read Matthew 18:20 in which Jesus said; For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them)
  5. Learn to sing praises to the Lord. If you are good at singing already you might as well sing with your family and Christian friends. If not, then do try by yourself first.
  6. Eat well but in proportion. Do not overeat no matter how nice the pie looks like. This is not a time to gain weight but rather to seek God.
  7. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in God’s will. Try to realize what the Spirit wants you to do this Christmas.
  8. Repent of all sins that you are still stuck in. Our Holy God is best praised by a holy worshiper. So truly repent with your heart and ask for pardon and mercy from Christ.
  9. Feed the poor and needy, the widows and orphans in need. You may not be able to feed all of them in your city but surely you can feed at least one. Some churches around this season have a feed the poor program, so you might like to check out with them if they need some help from you.
  10. Tell others about Jesus Christ to non-Christians. Again, you may not be able to reach out to the whole area that you live but you can always speak a little bit here and there to your non-Christian friends who might be curious about the Christian faith. Why not invite them to a Church service that preaches Christ as the Savior of the world.
  11. Speak about Jesus Christ at home with your family. Even if all know Christ, it’s still good that you as a family reaffirm your faith and unity in Christ.
  12. Send out greeting cards (or emails for those in the fast lane) to all your friends and dear ones away from home. Let them know that Christ came into the world for them and cares for them.
  13. Reach to your family especially your parents or anyone whom you have not been in contact for a long time. Speak kindness and encouragement to them. If there are differences see to the best that you can to reconcile in good faith with them. (This point was not what I intended to write today but feel inspired to write anyway. Maybe it’s God’s message for some people who will be reading this)
  14. Write poems unto the Lord. I’m not talking about publishing them. Rather its about penning your good thoughts about Jesus back to him. It might be your first time but I’m sure the Lord will appreciate your heart into expressing your love to him in poems. (There is no compulsion to do this but do it as you feel inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so. Maybe the Lord wants you do some other art form)
  15. Refrain from worldly passions which distract you from the will of God. Do not get entangled in unseemly entertainment, hobbies etc.
  16. Manage your time. I mean schedule your leaves and work or study timings to spend quality time in prayer, Bible reading and praising God.
  17. Submit your plans to God. As the year is coming to a close and a new year will begin, think of all the things you want to do in the future. Don’t be a in a hurry nor anxious but do it with an open mind ready to accept the grace of God.
  18. Pray for the persecuted Christians. Not every land on earth is free from violent bigots. A lot of Christians suffer persecution and injustice just because of their faith in Christ. Pray that they come out of prison, pray for their dignity, pray for their peace and safety.
  19. Do not overspend. Christmas is not a time of splurging and getting into debt. So do not waste money on unnecessary expenses. Keep yourself out of the grasp of materialism. Jesus is going to look at your heart instead of how richly you spend, so don’t worry if you can’t afford a lavish Christmas.
  20. Be free of legalism. Jesus came to set you free. Do not get into the trap of anything falsely called tradition but only makes you go into a guilt trip to do things to earn the grace of God. If the grace of God can be earned, then it’s not grace at all.
  21. Rest in God. An often neglected teaching but one must find one’s true rest in Christ Jesus. It’s that you must believe unto God to give you rest. Take time to receive his rest.
  22. Don’t get too busy in the things that one does to generally prepare for Christmas such as the tree lights, decorations etc. These are just external ways to celebrate and can be a distraction from the true meaning of Christmas if you are too focused on it.
  23. Avoid undue fights in relationships. Whether its home or church do not waste your time getting into foolish arguments on petty issues like the choice of food and drinks, Christmas carols, clothes etc.
  24. Be safe. Though it may seem a physical tip it’s much related to your spirit as your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Avoid any contaminated food or drink. Don’t try dangerous stunts just for a camera shot that you want to share with others. Hope you get the idea.
  25. Be thankful to God. Christmas is the time to thank God for sending Jesus Christ his Son on earth as a man to save us. So do express your gratitude to God.

Train yourself to help others

There are times when people will need help from you. They might need your prayers and also encouragement to to what is right. Sometimes they might need to be corrected gently. Then again they may be in need of godly counsel from you. Are you ready for it? If not then train yourself to help others.

Please avoid saying that you are not equipped so you can’t help. That may be true but what stops you from getting trained? You can even get trained in church at times besides you can always learn from the Bible. Please avoid saying that every time a troubled person comes all you will do is refer him/her to your pastor or preacher. There are times when it makes sense to directly refer them. However there are times when you can at least a short pray and speak Biblical exhortation before you send the person to your pastor or preacher.

You don’t need to be an ordained church minister to help others in need. Does giving food to the poor, need you to have a theology degree? Certainly not. Does being kind to a person who suffered an accident, need you to first attend a seminary? Absolutely not. Don’t ever let any legalism stop from doing what is right and in your power to help others in need!

Christ be with you.

Training oneself

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

Training oneself physically helps you stay fit and agile. Regular exercise prevent excess weight gain. To climb mountains, a person undergoes a lot of conditioning both physically and mentally. This helps one climb up and down the mountain safely and effectively.

Athletes and soldiers exercise almost everyday, so that they can be in prime fitness whenever needed. Even animals such as dogs and monkey do some form of excercise, which looks very amusing to me. Astronauts in space are needed to excercise to maintain optimum muscle function.

So I surely can say that physical training is good for you. What physical training you need to follow is up to you. You would need to a bit of personal research, though speaking to a professional can help too. If you are on medication take your doctor into confidence about what training program you intend to do.

Now, 1 Timothy 4:8 doesn’t say not to excercise physically. It rather shows that spiritual training or training for godliness is much more beneficial than physical training. Physical training helps us in this life. Spiritual training helps us in this life and the after life as well.

Now what does training for godliness include. It includes reminding yourself of your new nature in Christ. It includes honoring the sacrifice of Jesus in partaking of the Lord’s Supper. It includes reading the Bible with the intent to grow. It includes hearing the Gospel regularly. It includes
remembering the prophecies in the Bible. It includes using the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It includes avoiding being a ‘solo’ player in Church but instead helping others in it. It includes training yourself to pray in all forms, such a silent and vocal prayer, praying in tongues etc. It includes training yourself to worship Jesus with all your mind and strength.

So by now you may notice that spiritual training includes a lot of things. You need to train yourself against all attacks of the devil to steal your faith. You need to carry your cross daily. With mass media you can also read or hear and watch a lot of sermons on various spiritual topics.

I used to train myself a lot in casting out evil spirits. I didn’t bother to listen to any critic but decided to only use a bibical approach and avoid any foolish mystical stuff. This benefited me. On a few occasions that came up suddenly I found myself casting out demons though I was not an excorcist. This gave me a chance to preach the gospel even more to the affilicted person.

A point in spiritual training is that you must never overdo stuff and instead be balanced. I mean it’s really extreme to read books only on healing others most of the time but neglecting the overall training in godliness. With all due respect, you might become a good healer from God but you could miss on fellowship with other church members due to being constantly busy.

Too much emphasis on excorcism will make you concentrate on trying to detect spirits even in normal people. It can really annoy people in the business world if you are constantly talking about demons instead of work. You need to therefore take all spiritual training which will also teaches when and how to behave in a particular social setting.

With that said you must train for godliness in all areas adequately. If you are weak in a particular area like counselling a terminally ill person then do take help from people who are known to be proficient in that area. You can even ask the Lord to give you wisdom in that area and he will give it to you abundantly and without adding reproaches.

Take up training for godliness not in fear but with a desire to glorify God. Happy training!

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