The other day I was trying to remember when something happened. Because I’m not as young as I used to be I could not place the exact time frame of an event until I sat down with pen and paper (super old school) and began making a list.
On one side of the page I listed the past ten years, and then beside each year I listed the significant things that happened during each Christmas season. Much to my surprise, this memory challenge did more than help me remember the age of an item in my home. Instead, when I looked at the paper, it provided a beautiful testimony of God's involvement in our lives. You see, what I didn't realize until that moment was that for over a decade every single Christmas season, God had revealed Himself in a significant and tangible way.
Starting with the year that a stranger (we call it an angel) left packages at our back door with a powerful promise that God saw and would intervene in our hopeless situation, every year since then has held a miracle of one sort or another. (Read about it here) No, they didn’t all involve surprise gifts and messages from God, but they were all miraculous in how they changed our lives. There was the first year after my Mom passed away, when the Holy Spirit gave us a peace that passed all understanding and taught us about giving to others out of our pain and the joy that comes from it. Other years included emotional and spiritual healing that came through challenges.
For instance, there was one of my personal favorites--the year that our board of directors insisted that we stop working through the Christmas season and take time to celebrate. This was a major challenge for us because we worked to avoid the pain of grief and loneliness that we felt. Even though this seriously difficult for us, it was life-changing and began the healing process in our hearts and minds.
There was the year that the Holy Spirit challenged us to overcome the chains of abuse we were living in by decorating our home for Christmas. Until then, we didn't decorate because we were afraid of how our father (who lives with us) would react, but that Christmas the Holy Spirit made it clear that it was time to stop letting abuse control our lives. We obeyed, and were so proud of the decorations we put up. It was a new beginning.
Then there was the year the Holy Spirit woke my brother up and said, “You need to go to the mall and buy a gift for your dad.” That year we learned that power that forgiveness brings to your heart when you release yourself from the chains of pain. (Again a great story)
We can't forget was the year that we were set free to enjoy the season....when the Holy Spirit miraculously moved in our hearts, removed our grief and restored our joy and love for Christmas. (Read Making Christmas Great Again) The stories could go on and on, but the point is this:
Looking at this scrap piece of paper reminded me that God is still in the miracle working business. The beautiful hope that we have is that God's miracle working, healing power didn’t end in a manger in Bethlehem. It didn’t even stop after Jesus rose from the dead. Instead, The power of God continues to do miraculous works of salvation, healing, and restoration in the lives of people today. Years ago when I was I elementary school I was part of a children’s play called “God’s Still Doing Miracles.” I still remember the last line of the theme song said, “God's still doing miracles, let Him do a miracle for you.” Today as you’re reading this blog I want to encourage you with these same words. The truth is that the hope of Christmas is more than just a quaint story of a baby born over 2000 years ago. That baby, Jesus, was God incarnate. He came to earth with a mission...to restore the relationship between God and humankind. Today, this same God wants to play an active, personal role in your life.
He wants to continue working miracles in your life. He’s not far away or uninterested, but instead He knows every need in your life, and He wants to meet it. He wants to have a personal relationship with you. He wants to heal you....body, mind, and spirit. He wants to help you overcome the issues of your past and your sin, and to make you into the person He creates you to be. He wants to play an active role In your life, leading you, guiding you, and making you into a miraculous testimony of His transformation power. God is still doing miracles today, the question is “Will you let Him?” You see, the one small part that we play in God’s miracles is our willingness to obey Him and follow His path for our lives. Looking back on my Christmas list, I see that was the only thing we had to do...obey God’s Word when He spoke to us. He did the rest. And yet, that is such an important key: God won’t move where He isn’t welcome. So today the choice rests with us: Will we welcome God to do miracles in our lives? Will we follow the example of the shepherds who welcomed God’s miracle or will we be like the innkeeper who said there was no room for God? I pray that this Christmas you will open your heart to all of the miracles and challenges that God has for you. God’s still doing miracles, let Him do a miracle for you.