What is the greatest gift you can get someone?
I feel this question comes up every year during Christmas. Whether it's someone you love dearly or someone you're obligated to buy a gift for. We all know we have those.
This season, once again, I tell myself I'm going to enjoy it as much as possible without rushing through it and filling my schedule to the brim. I also started an advent that I absolutely love, but we're already in the second week of December and I'm kinda feeling overwhelmed with all that's on our calendar. Last Sunday was the start of our series at Summit called, Rise. It had lots of reminders that I needed to hear. One that stood out is, Jesus is our horn of salvation and this truth alone should be our celebration during this season.
Even though this was said in a service that is part of our Christmas series here at Summit, this truth is what we celebrate in Recovery every day and every week. Every Thursday night we come together as brothers and sisters in Christ to humble ourselves with one another, have a time of fellowship together, and worship as a family by praising God for all that he has done in our lives and how he continues to sanctify us. The greatest news is that God has completely and eternally saved us.
Because this is the greatest news in my life, why wouldn't this be the greatest gift I could give to others? Especially my family and friends whom I love so much, who don't know Jesus the way I know him. This morning I woke up burdened greatly for those friends and family. I know they don't have the hope and peace I carry every day. If they don't truly know who Jesus is, I'm pretty certain that they aren't celebrating what this season is all about.
During my time with Jesus in the mornings, I take time to thank him for his never-ending faithfulness to me and his perfect love for me. But I'm also reminded how grateful I am, not only for his love for me, but for his perfect example of how to love others.
Loving others, for a lot of us, is one of the hardest things we do daily. Sure, loving those who love us back is easy. But how about loving those who disappoint us or intentionally hurt us? Maybe total strangers or even friends and family who don't believe the same things as we do and are passionate about their own beliefs. These people aren't always the easiest to love. I have many people like that in my life and I know that I'm called to love them the way God loves me. How in the world could I ever be able to do this on my own? I know I can't.
In my own relationship with Jesus, I'm blown away by his constant grace and mercy in how he walks with me. And the way he teaches me and grows me is always done with such compassionate love. Because of my experience with my Savior, I'm able to strive to love the way he does. 1 John 4:16 says, “So we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him.” I desire to abide in Him and love like him, but when I fail, and I do miserably, he's right there to forgive when I confess. And He reminds me that his love for me is still the same. This is the beauty of who God is. His steadfast love endures forever.
So, if I know these truths and I can account for how great God’s love is for me, why wouldn't I want to share that love with others? This is also essentially step 12 (Having had a spiritual awakening as the results of these steps, we try to carry this message to others) of the 12-step program we do in Recovery.
You don’t need to be in Recovery to share with others what God has done for you and how he’s changed your life. We as believers should want to tell everyone how God has rescued us from our junk. And we should do this with great joy. So, for those in my life who don't know Jesus the way I know him, this is the greatest gift I can give them.
I've been asking the Lord to give me the wisdom and courage I need to ask the question to these who are dear to me, “What are you really celebrating this holiday season?" I know exactly what I'm celebrating. He's redeemed my life, given me the freedom I longed to have for so long, and he never stops loving me in spite of all my failures. I am completely and eternally saved. If Jesus has radically changed your life, share it without fear. Give someone else the greatest gift that's been given to you.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has a light shone.
Praise Jesus for the light that was shone on me. I am no longer in darkness!