One of my favorite hymns has always been "Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing." It is one I often sing when I want to tune my heart toward God. The first line says, "Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise."
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the holidays don't call forth songs of loudest praise from many people? Why? Because of our focus. We become focused on our circumstances instead of on Christ.
Let me encourage you with the last stanza of this hymn I just mentioned: "O to grace how great a debtor, Daily I'm constrained to be! Let Thy goodness like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee; Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love; Here's my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above."
This holiday, I want you to get a bulldog grip on God's great goodness and don't let go. Don't let the holy days into hollow days. Make this holiday a holy time for you and your friends and family.
One of the things we do as a family on Christmas morning is to have breakfast together before we open any presents. Each family member reads a Bible verse and then I will tell what the Christmas story is all about. Then, we thank God for the greatest gift of all — His Son Jesus. Here are ten ideas to help you turn the holidays into holy days this year:
1. Make your first priority each day to spend time alone with God. Here are some verse in which to meditate during this time: Isaiah 53:1-12, Matthew 16:24-26, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Ephesians 1:1-11, Colossians 3:1-4, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Hebrews 4:14-16.
2. Pray for the opportunity to witness to one person about Jesus Christ.
3. Invite your neighbors over for a Christmas Open House. Make the central focus of the evening the reading of the Christmas Story and the Easter Story.
4. Get a list of names of people at a nearby nursing home who do not have family to visit them during the holidays. Put together a Christmas basket for one of these people including toiletries, homebaked Christmas goodies, and encouraging Scripture verses such as Isaiah 41:10.
5. Make a "Christmas Gift for Jesus" out of a jar or small box. Decorate it and put money in it on a daily or weekly basis. Then, give this gift as a love offering to a needy charity.
6. Take some time to ask yourself, "If I could give one gift this Christmas to someone, what would it be and why?" Ask God what He would like you to do about that gift...then do it.
7. Ask the Lord to lay upon your heart the names of unsaved men and women. Write down their names and let this be your New Year's Resolution list to be a part of the process of leading them to faith in Christ...by sharing with them, giving to them, showing them the love of Jesus.
8. Ask friends and family to think of at least three gifts they can give each other throughout the coming year that doesn't cost anything.
9. Don't forget to communicate the Good News of Christmas with your postman, the person who does your lawn in the summer, the dry cleaners person, the newspaper delivery person, and others who serve you throughout the year.
10. Spend a couple of hours taking inventory of your life — listing your possessions that mean the most to you. Make a list of those possessions you have in Christ that money cannot buy. Spend the next few minutes talking to God about both of these lists.
When we come to Him in repentance and faith, we are empowered-and expected-to live the Christian life not by trying, but by trusting. Faith is not only how we receive salvation, it is how we walk, day by day, in grace. Only by faith can we extend forgiveness to others, share God's truth, and leave a godly legacy. As the tapestry of your life unfolds, may you begin to see the wonders of living each day, moment by moment, a life of faith and forgiveness.