In hard economic times like our world is facing, many are worried, stressed and depressed daily; with the holidays just a few days away, it seems to make all those anxieties grow even worse.
There is an answer and a solution to it all, and Paul writes in Philippians 4:4-7 - "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident that the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus".
Paul tells us to rejoice - repeating himself to emphasize the importance to us. I think the phrase in verse 5 where it says, "the Lord is near" could mean two things - 1. His return for the church, but also 2. his ever constant presence with us who are believers. It's that presence of his Holy Spirit that brings us into a place of his perfect peace - replacing the doubts, fears and anxieties brought on by the world.
Take the time this Christmas season to enjoy your family and friends. It's not how much you give, or how much something costs - it's always the little things in life that bring the best and the most memorable moments.
My daughter Sarah surprised me a year or so ago with one of the most invaluable gifts I could ever receive on Christmas - it was a dvd of a show that aired on TV when she was little, and we'd watch it each year. It was called "Claymation Christmas", and she said that her memories of that were to where she wanted it to be a tradition her new family participated in each year. Now I knew they enjoyed the movie when they were little, but I had no idea of the impact it made on their lives.
My son's most precious gift to me wasn't wrapped in paper; last year on Christmas Eve morning, I got a phone call from him, where he was telling me the names of streets in my neighborhood and that he couldn't find mine. He worked til midnight the night before, and then drove all the way down here to Florida from Nashville, to surprise his mama for Christmas. HE was my present, and there's nothing that can be bought anywhere that could ever come close to that!
Think about what you and your loved ones can do together this year that will bring cherished memories, instead of fretting about presents or the lack of them. I promise that your Christmas will be filled with the peace that came to us in the form of a little baby in a little town called Bethlehem.