Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Greatest Gift of All

Image by Aneta Blaszczyk

Times are tough this Christmas season. I know several people who are dealing with financial difficulties, who are facing losing their home because they can't keep up with their payments, who have recently lost loved ones from illness, old age, or in battle, who have been diagnosed with cancer, and more. It seems like things are falling apart, and everyone is desperate for some glimmer of hope. I have read updates on Facebook, received prayer requests from friends, and seen despair in the headlines. But, it's Christmastime. Shouldn't there be peace on earth? Whatever happened to goodwill toward men?

Twice in the last 24 hours God has quickened to my spirit John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

This is the true spirit of Christmas. This is what it all comes down to and what it is all about.

I recently had a breakdown. I would call it a panic attack, but I'm quite certain that it was just an all out attack on my physical body and my mind.

Things have been a little tough lately. We recently moved to a new location for my husband's job. We had some minor issues when we first moved in, such as old electric receptacles that the plugs fall out of, our computer power supply burning up, and an occasional lack of water due to a faulty tank that the landlord had to fix. Nothing major. Oh, and did I mention the gas tank finally rusting through and completely falling off of my husband's car, making us down a vehicle? Nothing major. Nothing life threatening. Not really much to complain about, either.

But, for some reason, I panicked. I had a difficult time breathing, my entire body seized up, and I started to shake and feel nauseated.

I knew there was nothing in my life that should be causing this type of reaction in me. I am a rational, reasonable person, and I don't typically get anxious enough over something to come into a state of panic. My kids are safe and healthy. My husband is fantastic. Life is good, overall.

So what was going on? I prayed through. I took a walk. I cried out to God. I evaluated what may have triggered the attack. I decided that it was just attack. There was no explanation for it.

Since then, I have been thinking more and more about what God has done for me, and for anyone else who wants to be blessed, for that matter. It is the reason that we celebrate Christmas that it all comes down to.

God sent His only Son to die for my sins. He made the ultimate decision all those years ago to send Jesus to earth in the form of an infant. He grew up knowing the same heartaches and temptations that I face every day.

God made a decision to sacrifice His only Son on the cross so that I could be forgiven for falling short on a minute-by-minute basis. Every wrong or poor decision that I make is covered in His blood.

God loved me so much that He gave of Himself selflessly so that I would not be separated from Him for all of eternity. Jesus is a free gift to me. All I have to do is believe and accept Him as my Lord and Savior.

When I think of gifts this year, the only one that really matters is the gift that God gave us in that manger on that starry night.

The angels declared, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men." (Luke 2:14) Things on this earth don't appear to be peaceful, and sometimes I think we've forgotten how to have goodwill toward men.

I have been pondering this verse for awhile, as well. It's God who needs to be glorified in our lives. If we are not glorifying Him, living according to His guidelines (which are all laid out very clearly in His Word), then how could we expect to have peace or goodwill toward men?

If we are not thinking on His word, then we are thinking on our own.

If we are not hearing or yielding to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, then we are not in obedience to His calling. Why should we expect peace and goodwill in our lives?

When we give God the glory, when we live according to His will for us, then we will receive of healing and peace and goodwill. These things come through knowing Jesus and following Him. Jesus was God's peace on earth. He was God's goodwill toward men. Our free gift...

This doesn't mean that life will always be easy. We will still face daily challenges. We will still have to say goodbye to those that we love. We will still struggle between our will and God's will for us. I would just like to point out that it is so much easier when we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is so much better when we receive of the gift that God gave to us, a gift that costs us nothing but believing. It cost God everything. It cost His Son's life. What gift could be more precious than that?


  1. Alycia, I know all too well (as of recently) what you are taling about in terms of that anxiety and that 'panic attack' as it has just recently happened to me. Thankfully due to my faith and the loving outreach of a few 'key' Christ hearted people (which I believe is our purpose here on earth) I am doing much better.

    Through each of these types of events that occur in our lives I believe we are refined into more compassionate beings. It is through our strife and pain that we can later sympathize with another person, know how they are feeling, and be able to walk them lovingly through the dark times back into the light.

    There were times in the Bible where Jesus cried. He felt pain and deep sorrow, so I do not believe that we should not experience such feelings.

  2. continued...

    In fact, the bible tells us that there will be a time for joy and for sorrow. For pain and tears. But, are we to wallow in the pain? No. Are we to ignore those in pain and tell them to just buck up and deal? No. Do we throw Jesus in their face and say He went through worse, so what do you have to complain about? No. We show the TRUE heart of Christ when we reach out a loving hand towards those who are going through tough times and are feeling the full impact of pain.

    The heart of a Christ-like person is the one who has compassion and empathy. It is through our pain we learn to put away our pride and see things from the eyes of someone else.

    I thank God for His Son. For the precious Lamb who had a heart of pure Gold. Who came to teach the TRUE way.


  3. This is exactly what I have been seeing this past few days, wondering about why this season of all seasons is so difficult for some and why so many are actually taking their own lives or taking the lives of others.

    I have been through some times, that if it were not for the Hand of God, I may not be here now. I have been so low down that I did not know if clawing to the surface was an option any longer.

    Look up and see the glow of our Lord, feel His warmth, and know that He is there to hold us steady.



Thanks for sharing your thoughts here at My Thoughtful Spot! I love hearing them!