“Merry Christmas - 2015!”

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The Christmas holiday season is probably the most popular time of year for families to make sure that they find the necessary time to spend together so as to make priceless memories.

It is also the favorite time of year for old friends to rekindle relationships that have been too often shelved during the dizzying pace of the year. It is lastly an especially opportune time of year for Christian brethren to partake of special times of fellowship and ministry together to the unbelieving world surrounding them. However, this historically festive season is also a period of great loneliness for many for a legion of reasons. Lonely people from both the unbelieving as well as the believing community abound around us, many of them still possessing memories of joy-filled yesteryears or of much better days. Such thoughts often remind or even haunt them of departed loved ones, children now out of the nest, etc. Still further, much of this loneliness has a more intricate and varied explanation, as do its various fruits. Yes, this time of year seems to awaken, like no other time during the year, feelings of emptiness, which often lead to despair and chronic bouts with depression. Depression is an emptiness that issues forth from a fearful perspective on life that is quite often fueled by our regrets, guilt, physical maladies, or our own sin(s). In seeking to reach out to those who are spiritually lost, and in this condition; we must speak to them about the true abiding peace which can only come by knowing Jesus Christ in a personal relationship (Ephesians 2:14). But to the true believer who is caught in this web of gloom, we must speak to him as a beloved child of God. In fact, we should remind him of God’s love for him and also of God’s many promises to him, and then, call him, to plead them persistently in his private prayer times (Ephesians 1:3). Many notable Christians throughout the history of the church, including: William Carey, David Brainerd, and Charles Haddon Spurgeon, to name just a few; have struggled with depression throughout their lives. Thus, spiritual greatness is no guarantee that you will not periodically go through or be plagued often by spiritual depression. Therefore, dear child of God, let us remember what the normal complexion of a spiritually-healthy, imperfect church, looks like (I Thessalonians 5:14). And then, let us ask God to give us the grace, “to bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Last, let us never forget to pray for the many people, at this time of year, who need our love and encouragement. Oh may God teach us to teach them to “…hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence” (Psalm 42:5). I now leave with you with these helpful lyrics of the hymn-writer Edward Mote, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…all other ground is sinking sand.” Merry Christmas!

 

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