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The true gifts of Christmas

Regular columnist Ruth Lilley reflects on the gifts which God gave us at that first Christmas, and continues to make freely available to us.

At Christmas time we remind ourselves of the wonder of Jesus’ birth. We remember that Jesus was born to Mary, a young girl whose obedience is amazing. Her simple trust in saying, ‘I am God’s servant; whatever God says I will do’, should encourage us all. The glorious angels and the bright shining star all gave a glimpse of the glory and majesty of this miraculous birth.
Imagine what it must have been like to hear about or experience that event for the first time. I can’t remember the first time I heard the Christmas story, but I am certain that I must have been amazed with all the glory and splendour of it all.
At Christmas time we look at Jesus, the babe in the manger. Yet, for me I take encouragement from all that Jesus came to be. Immanuel – God with us, meant that we can share in all that a life with Jesus brings.
In Jesus we find peace – perfect peace. We read how Jesus comforted His disciples and said,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  (John 14:27 NIV)
A peace that passes all our understanding, yet is available in an instant. With the Holy Spirit living within us, we can simply pause and find that peace. A gentle peace which gives us such strength. A peace that can be relied on when we fear and when we doubt, because that peace is real and true.
However, we need to allow that spirit of peace to grow within us. To allow the peace that comes from Jesus to be the truth that we depend on. Life can be busy, difficult and painful, yet when we let ourselves trust in Jesus’ peace, rather than the storm or the choppy waters around us, we can find peace by holding on to the truth that God is working all things out for our good.
In Jesus we have hope – a hope of a bright future. God sent his Son, because He loves us so much and because, from the very beginning, it was always God’s plan to live with us forever. Yes, this is a future hope, although I believe this hope is something we can experience here and now. When we choose to place our hope in Jesus, we find strength for each new day.
Life with Jesus also brings love – a crazy, extravagant love. A love that is lavished on us because we are God’s children. This tiny baby came and turned everything upside down. He came to fulfil His Father’s plan…to rescue us. Jesus broke the power of sin and death, so we could be set free. Jesus, our Saviour, took ALL of our sin, everything, so we could live in right relationship with God. Because of Jesus we are forgiven, we are redeemed, we are restored. We are loved so we can love. We are loved by a love that gave its all for you and for me.
Peace, hope and love – the greatest gifts we will receive this Christmas time.
The image above is from pixabay.com

ruth starkings 150CFRuth Lilley has recently returned to teaching at an infant school in Norwich. She also enjoys writing, and writes a regular blog called ‘With Every Sun Comes A New Day.’


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