Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My First Real Christmas

After 26 years of living without acknowledging Jesus Christ in my life, in October of 1976, God opened my heart to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and I became a Christian.
I tell that story in a recording made in 2007.

But at this Christmas time, I want to tell what that meant way back then as far as Christmas is concerned.
It was a stunning change, actually!
Christmas to me had always been a nice time to get together with family, decorate things, and give and receive gifts.  At times it also had a note of sadness and emptiness that I’m sure some of you may identify with, due usually to remembrances of days gone by with the questioning thought from the old song, “Is that all there is?”
But after being “born again”, becoming a Christian, Christmas was totally, totally, different.
All of a sudden, it MEANT something!  It was the birth of, not jut THE Savior, but MY Savior.  It was the time when God actually came to Earth as a man!  Emmanuel, God with us!
Everything was different.  I loved people like never before.  I saw the Christmas decorations and carols and gift exchange and hot chocolate and Christmas dinners and all the hoopla as REMEMBERING that Christ the Savior is born!
Even the “meaningless” stuff had new meaning for me, because it marked the birth of Emmanuel.
And it was the first time I understood that He wasn’t just born to be a “good example” or even a “good teacher”.
He was born to DIE on the cross for my sins, so that I could be forgiven and have eternal life with Him forever.
I couldn’t earn my own salvation with good works, it had to be a free gift.
And He offers that gift to ANYONE who will come to Him, who will believe in Him, who will trust that He died for our sins, and rose again from the dead.
And that Christmas, for the first time, I loved Him for who He is, and what He’d done for me.  And I still do, 37 years later.
That really was my first REAL Christmas, KNOWING the Son who was “given” by His Father.
I pray that you, dear reader will know Him too, if you don’t already.
“You shall call His name ‘Jesus’ for He shall save His people from their sins” – Matthew 1:21

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