2008-12-03 / Religion

'Found It'

Inspiration

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As Gale and I were entering a local store last week, I noticed that she reached down and picked up something off the sidewalk. Very soon I realized that it was a piece of money - a ten dollar bill! We knew that it belonged to someone, but what can you do to get a lost bill back to its rightful owner when dozens of people have passed by in a short amount of time?

We went on our journey through the store, and after a few minutes Gale noticed a lady who seemed to be looking for something. She got out of our sight, but then Gale saw her again -- worriedly looking down the store aisles. I approached her and asked her if she had lost some money, to which she responded with an upset appearance, "Yes!" I inquired about what she had lost -- it was a ten dollar bill. When I asked her if she would like to have it back, she lost no time telling me that she would. When Gale handed over the lost treasure, a sense of deep relief was evident. That young lady found what she was searching for!

As hard as it is to believe, Christmas is just days away. Most of us have a lot to do to prepare for all the festivities with family, friends and church. But again this year, we need to be careful that we do not let the real meaning of this great celebration get buried under all the activities. Maybe we all need to do a little looking to see if we can really find what we have lost regarding Christmas. After all, it was for the purpose of finding us spiritually that Jesus Christ came to earth on that first Christmas. We were lost in the spiritual deadness of sin -- hopeless and helpless. But God, in His great love for humankind, sent Jesus Christ to pay for our sins so we can, by believing upon Him, receive everlasting life. Some of the most precious and reassuring words of the Bible are these: "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, NIV).

What have we lost concerning Christmas that we need to try to find this year?

We need to find that Christmas is much less stressful when we focus on honoring Christ more and less on trying to meet all the unrealistic expectations that have been imposed on us by our increasingly materialistic society. Christ's birth in Bethlehem took place in the midst of simple (albeit, challenging) surroundings. Yet it seems that the more we lose sight of the real reason that we celebrate that great event, the more complicated and demanding the celebration becomes. Surely it is time for us to recall afresh that Christ came to make a difference in the lives of men and women for all eternity.

What have you lost concerning Christmas? Maybe you have lost the joy that it once brought to your heart, or the gratitude that you used to have regarding God's Gift to humankind. Have you lost the realization that Christ came because He loves you and wants you to live for Him? May we all look sincerely, so we can find what God really wants us to gain from Christmas this year.

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