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Christmas is a special time to reflect on God making Himself available to the world. Without trust in God, individuals, tribes, and nations are left with no more than human knowledge, tradition, experience, reasoning, and wits to figure life out... to try to make life--and, for nations, the world--work well and peaceably; yet, natural reserves are not enough: there is no sense of gratitude toward God or thankfulness beyond self-accomplishment or the good deeds of others; and a direct connection between good from others and God's help stays out of mind.
In a natural state of mind, every new day brings a precarious position in a spiritual desert. Maybe that's why unbelievers or those on the fence tend to be angry about religion and to feel defensive about open professions of belief. Minds may open, however, at Christmas.
Otherwise, phrases like "God has blessed them" and "God is blessing us" can seem like pictures of presumption: "to go beyond what is right or proper and excessively forward.
Having walked in the dry fields of unbelief, I know the terrain. I remember Christmases without prayer or church. Thanks be to God for the many years on the green side by faith in God through Jesus Christ. Each Christmas is a time of rejoicing as Christians together and individually give thanks to God for sending Jesus, marveling at the fact that He came, and as the child of a virgin, made known by holy decree and possible in a hidden mystery.
I think that God's inspired, written Word shows that we can be presumptuous about what He has said through the prophets and apostles. Prophets inspired by God foretold One who would come. God so loved the world that He did give that One, Jesus, to come, to live, and to die...among weak men and women during time of an outwardly powerful yet inwardly dying empire, Rome.
His love is never ending. The spirit within us rises to praise Him in amazement: Bless the Lord, oh, my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name! (Psalm 103)
God allows us to presume that He is always faithful, based on His assurances of truth. He will never fail His own; He fulfills every promise to save, redeem from sin's power, to love, guide, bless, and help; He has pledged Himself to meet every need through belief, faith in Him.
How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put
their trust under the shadow of thy wings (Psalm 36.7).
Jesus Christ is true. This is sacred trust from God to us. The weak are strong in Him, the commonplace made holy. With amazement and need we lean upon the intrinsic giving within the mercies of God. His loving-kindness is forever. Man's desire for wholeness, safety, and security brings him to this divine love and faithfulness. What manner of mind would refuse God's grace?
What a work of grace, that God would leave the glories of heaven to come to earth, to walk among men and women, children and natural creation! Face to face: what a marvel, that God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to become its Redeemer!
Here's wishing a joyous Christmas and a blessed New Year for you and yours through Jesus Christ our Lord, the adored Messiah, who is the Savior of the world. Alleluia.
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