Christmas Greetings to you!
Christmas truly is an amazing and beautiful time of year. Where we live, we have just received a beautiful blanket of snow. One of my favorite parts of this beautiful white snow is that it reminds me of the fact that with only a single thought proclamation, Jesus completely covered our sins, just as the snow covered all the brown dirty ground.
So what does this have to do with Christmas? With all of the beauty and wonder that surrounds Christmas, it can also be the time of year when emotions are plentiful, sleep is short, gatherings are abundant, and expectations are high. In the midst of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior, various thoughts can creep into the purest of minds. These thoughts can often form around unhealthy expectations, such as the desire for our children to be perfectly behaved at social gatherings, for our friends or spouses to give us the perfect gift, or for our bodies to magically transform to perfection because we approach New Year’s resolutions.
Expectations can sneak up without us really even catching on. Once we catch on to their existence, the question to ask is. . . “Have I created these expectations?” It has been my personal experience that more times than not, I have put more expectations on myself than anyone else. Over the years I am trying to become a little more wise to these sneaky expectations that can lead to disappointment, and even sin.
Jesus has but one expectation for us during this time of year. In fact, this is the single expectation He has for us each and every day we have here on Earth. That expectation is to love: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Luke 10:27). Sounds quite simple doesn’t it? Then why do I find myself so often so busy trying to fulfill a long list of expectations and miss the treasures He has put before me to to love Him and breath life into someone else?
As I began thinking of this Christmas blog post, I asked my family the top three things that come to their mind when they think of Christmas. Amidst the list were the annual spilling of candle wax on tights at the Christmas Eve service, Clark Griswold’s Christmas, and the look on the kids face when they peak around the corner to see if Santa made it to our home. But I think my son summed it up nicely for all of us; family, fun, food, and giving. In each of these treasured opportunities I pledge to use my energy, to love and honor God. I pledge to pause and ask the question will this thought, word or deed honor my Heavenly Father? I pledge to focus on today and allow God to take care of tomorrow. I pledge to be more mindful of everything I think, do and say.
I have received numerous reminders this Christmas season that every day is a gift and should be used as such. These reminders have come in the form of my children being spared from what could have been tragic during a gas leak in our home, announcement of stage 4 cancer results of a family friend, sudden death of a young father. It is in these situations that I am reminded that God has great plans for each one of us. Each new day presents the treasure of an opportunity to love & honor Him in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Unwrapping of treasures is not just for Christmas morning. Jesus sets out ahead of us each and every day and prepares personalized treasures for you and for me. It is my prayer that we will have the hearts of gratitude to acknowledge these treasures are from our Heavenly Father and to have the courage and tenacity to use them glorify Him.
This Christmas season, I am committing to not get caught up in my personal expectations that may lead to sin, but to focus on the one expectation that Jesus has for me and for you. That is to love Him and honor Him in all that we think, do, and say. I realize that accomplishing this may not promise an easy road for me. I also know that with the help of Jesus, all things are possible and he will supply me with the skills, tools and knowledge to accomplish this one expectation he has of me: to love.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declare the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
May you be blessed during this beautiful Christmas season, and encouraged as you unwrap the treasures God has for you each and every day. Merry Christmas!
~ Julie Frandsen
Some beautiful verses to treasure this Christmas season:
“And there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Luke 2:8-9).
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
“For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.