From Pastor Rick
School is already under way and summer is drawing to a close. This is a time when we refocus from the relaxation of summer and prepare for fall and winter. I was in Hobby Lobby on August 12th and I had to maneuver around boxes of Christmas items as they began to set up their displays. They are a craft and home decor store where you can buy the stuff to make your decorations, so I can understand getting things out early, but four-and-a-half months early? We’re still in the dog days of summer! Some people have already started their Christmas shopping and the retailers have followed Amazon’s suit offering black Friday type sales in July.
I’m just amazed at how much time, we, as Americans, spend preparing for the Christmas holidays. We can buy our decorations in August. We do our shopping in July. We make our lists and plot and plan to get the best deals on the best presents for those we hold dear. We plan the feasts. We spend an inordinate amount of time fretting over a holiday where we splurge on ourselves and those we love. I’m not saying that gift giving is wrong, but when we obsess over it for months on end, there is a problem.
All the boxes, packages, ribbons, and bows have somehow piled up obscuring the Holy Day of Christmas. Christmas is a shortened version of Christ’s Mass marking the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. We know that and yet, we get caught up in the physical preparation for the holiday and in all the hubbub, we become greedy, hateful, rude, and mean under the pressure of pleasing others. That’s not why Christ came.
He came because He loved us and wants to give us hope and new life through His sacrifice on that cross. He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of us to transform us and make us more and more into Christ’s image. As we open ourselves to God’s Spirit living in us, He will bring forth “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23 NLT) in our lives. Wouldn’t that be a change from how we many times are treated and the way we, ourselves, treat others. God wants to bring that change in us.
So, as we enter fall, how would our lives be different if we started now preparing our hearts and spirits for the coming of the Lord? What would your life look like and how would your family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances be affected? Would they see a difference? Would they be drawn to the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that the Spirit produces in you? Would they see that a relationship with Jesus really makes a difference in your life and want to know Him too?
“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives” (Galatians 5:25 NLT).
Walking in the Spirit,