The most WONDERFUL time of the year?

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It's the most wonderful time of the year, right? Christmas lights, trees, caroling, holiday parties, gift giving, and hot chocolate. The list can go on and on but how do we really feel?

Maybe you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, angry at all the crazy shoppers (especially the ones who steal your parking spot), dreading one more holiday party (what in the world am I going to wear?), trying to figure out where you're going to go for Christmas, stressing on who to get gifts for, or worried where the money will come from. Maybe it’s so stressful that you just say, "charge it to the card and I will worry about in January".

Let's face it. This time of year brings on holiday stress: NOT HOLIDAY CHEER.

It's the most STRESSFUL time of the year!

I don't think I am the only one who feels the stress, right?

As I sit here writing, my mind goes to all of the people who are buying gifts to fill a void or to be loved and accepted by others.

“Where do we draw the line on who we buy for?” “How much do we budget for each person?”

It hit me today. God is enough. He will never let me go hungry. He provides. Jesus is pretty clear about this in John 6:35.

Then Jesus declared I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

So why all of the holiday stress?

Why do we celebrate Christmas?

It's not about Santa, twinkling lights, Christmas carols, extravagant gifts or holiday parties. Those things are fun and festive. But it’s not about that.

It's about a birthday…a birthday that CHANGED THE WORLD.

This birthday was for YOU. This birthday was for me. This birthday was for all mankind.

I fear we are losing the true meaning of Christmas. I fear that we overlook a birth story that changed my future, your future, OUR future.

I think back to the birth stories of my two children and all of the vivid memories it brings.

I think about Mary. I think about Joseph. They were the chosen by God. Can you imagine their birth story of Jesus? Can you imagine the fear that Mary had?

But she trusted. She believed. She had faith in a God who will not leave your side.

So during this time of year, the most wonderful time of year, stop and reflect what makes it so wonderful. It's wonderful because the God of the universe sent HIS son to be born of a virgin to walk this earth to die a brutal and painful death for us.

The God of the universe did this for YOU.

Pretty wonderful, huh?

This is the greatest gift that anyone could ever receive. I encourage you to open your hearts. Open your mind and receive this gift. There is no earning or buying this gift. It's free. All you have to do is receive it.

We all make New Year's resolutions. What if this next year, you make the decision to pick up your cross daily and follow Jesus? Follow Jesus with all that you are.

If you don't understand this or if I'm speaking a foreign language to you, reach out. Ask. Taking the first step towards Jesus will be the hardest. After receiving him, it's a glorious ride.

Happy birthday Jesus! If you know someone who needs a gift this Christmas, share with them the gift of Jesus Christ.

Remember, it REALLY is the most wonderful time of the year!

Shayla