There’s something about the Message translation of the Bible that says it as it is. Jesus has some challenging things to say: ‘Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, Sir’, and ‘That’s right, Sir’, but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, home-owner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on!’ (Luke 6:46-47).
He challenges us to put His words deeply into the fabric of who we are. It’s not enough to do noble things, be busy night and day in His service. He looks on the heart and He longs to see love in our heart attitude to others; the nature of Jesus. Ponder those Gospel accounts again and look at His loving mercy towards others, His kindness, His amazing acceptance and forgiveness, and His genuine response of love for those who cross His path.
‘Our Father is kind; you be kind ... Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticise their faults … Be easy on people … Give away your life … Giving, not getting is the way. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds’ (Luke 6:35, 37-38, & 43-45).
Christmas is often the time when families get together. This should be a time of joyful reunions and family bonding. Sadly, statistics clearly indicate that the most challenging time in the whole year for our relationships is the Christmas Period. ‘Family’, for many people, is a difficult word. For many, it is an unbearably painful word, bringing back traumatic experiences of abuse, sibling rivalries, broken marriages, upset and sadness.
This is the time when we can find our love and forbearance most taxed; our divisions and heartbreaks brought most rudely and agonisingly to the fore; our losses most missed. And perhaps, our guard most down. Maybe now is the time to be bringing these situations to Him, choosing to invite Jesus to be Lord of this area in our lives.
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