Photo by Gareth Harper on Unsplash
This week, as I thought about my friend's Facebook comments about Christmas not being about giving or receiving gifts and all the crazy commercialism associated with the season which we are bombarded with, I got to thinking about why I believe.
I have been blessed with having been born to Christian parents who had me in church every Sunday, every Wednesday night, every revival service, and every Vacation Bible School I could possibly attend. My parents were very involved in the church too. Dad was a Minister of Music and Mom played the organ, sang a few duets with Dad, and taught in various areas with youth.
However, that scenario, though awesome it might have been at times, didn't make me a Christian, didn't save me, and only had a little effect on why I believe. Mostly because I was young and, as most young children do, I had to find out what I believe- the whole "I know better than my parent's thing." Also, as I said last week, my parents or Christian friends cannot get me into heaven. I have to make the decision myself.
As life would have it, I became a Christian in my college years. Actually, I remember asking Christ into my heart as a 6-year-old but a lot of things happen along the way so I rededicated my life. After years as a youth and in college having seen many hypocrites and Christian double-speak I got away from attending church. I never got away from God- for which I am very thankful. I didn't attend church regularly and begin to hang out with people that I probably shouldn't. Fortunately for me, I didn't get into any really bad trouble but life wasn't what it could have been. As I went through this period of "rebellion" I wasn't aware that God was watching out for my best interests or what was best for me. But, He was.
As I have struggled throughout my life with chronic health issues, I have seen God's Hand come alongside me and make the impossible come true. He directed me to doctors who knew about my health issues and were able to help. When some doctors shared some not-so-good news, God's strength was provided to get me through. Or, give me comfort when the struggles were difficult to handle. These times showed me God and His Love for me.
Throughout my career and life, there were many times when God directed me to the right job or to make the right choices or finding the right home to live in. As challenges came along, God was there to guide me in the right way. Many times, maybe even most, I thought that I was just living life. Later when I would look back, think over something, I learned it was God.
Later in life, I had to take care of my parents while they were ill and subsequently passed away. The time caring for my mother was very challenging but God worked through my wife to help us with some challenging parts of her care. God comforted and gave me a peace beyond understanding when it came to her passing. When it came to taking care of my father, I had to do it by myself hoping and praying that I would make the right decisions. There were so many times during this time that I knew God was there helping to make the right decisions, directing the doctors to do the right thing. Many times, these were the hardest days I have had to do in my life but I knew God was there.
For me, first and foremost, to think about a God who would send His Son, Jesus, to be born in a lowly manger, live a short life of 33 years, then be willing to be crucified on a cross for my sins is more than I can comprehend. This love for me goes beyond what anyone in my life has ever done for me. I have only had a few friends in my life who would have that much love for me. It is explained in this verse-
“For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes
in him should not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16, (ESV)
Yes, I believe. Not because I was told to but because He is alive and has shown His Love for me. Christmas is a time to celebrate the Gift of the Birth of a Saviour.
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