It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But maybe not for the reasons you think. Yes, I love the holidays, the music, the chill in the air, the sweaters and boots, yes I love the decorations and the buzz you feel due to all the hustle and bustle. But the thing I love the most is the way I feel about the greatest gift of all time. A lot of people feel bitterness around the holidays – It’s too commercial, it’s only about consumerism, people spend too much money, it’s not about Santa, and on and on. And while there may be truth in those statements, I am filled with such joy, excitement and anticipation.
First off, it is YOU AND ME, the ones who know and love Jesus, who bear the responsibility to not only share the good news, but to be walking advertisements of what living a life with Jesus looks like. I am so thankful for the birth of Jesus, the GOOD NEWS his life and death are for us. It is the most incredible gift we, and all of humanity will ever receive. He lavishes his grace on us, he extends his mercy to us. All of these things are gifts. I can’t earn them no matter how hard I try.
This fills me with immeasurable joy. And it causes me to be filled with a desire to bless others. I want to lavish the gifts I have on them. I get excited about giving during the holidays. I give with zero expectation of anything in return, I give because I love giving and I want to bless others in Jesus name. I want to extend kindness to others everywhere I go when sadly so many are grumpy and stressed. I I love to smile at people ( picture Will Ferrell in Elf here). When I smile at someone I imagine a little beam of love extending from my heart to theirs. I take any and every opportunity I can to go the extra mile for people, just because. This year I made a bunch of handmade gifts. Bobby asked me one day, who are you making these for? My answer was, I don’t have anyone specific. I will know when it’s time. Christmas for me is not about the gifts, it is about the heart. How are you caring for the hearts of others? When I do this, my heart gets filled beyond measure.
I also love to look back at the year and evaluate it. What was amazing and memorable. What didn’t go as planned. The natural extension of that is to look forward to the new year. Lord, where do you want me to focus in the new year? Where are you guiding me? For 2024 I know the theme God is laying out for me. Do you want to know what it is?
2024 is the year of taking ground. It is the year of staking claim to the territory God has called me to. But it isn’t just me, it is for you too. God is calling us all to stand up and seed the ground for the Kingdom. As a follower of Jesus, you need to step into leadership. Christian leadership inherently takes ground. I will be even more bold in the new year about rising the tide. I hope you will join me, join us.
We are all called to lay claim to something that God wants to use for His glory, this is your year to do it!