Happy Christmas, Merry Birthday.

It’s been a while but I feel led. Here we go.

This Christmas is different from any other Christmas I’ve ever experienced. It should be for you too. Every year we should be closer to Jesus than we were the year before, yes? The Word of God, the Holy Bible, tells us so. My relationship with my Savior is so much tighter today than it was 12 months ago. Shoot, it’s tighter today than it was a week ago. And it’s not at all because of me. If it were up to Crystal, I’d be laying on the couch vegging in front of the TV stuffing no-bake cookies in my pie-hole. I wouldn’t be writing this. I wouldn’t have prayed today or made it to Bible study. I wouldn’t have read my Bible yesterday, or the day before. I wouldn’t have smiled at the rude lady in the grocery store. I wouldn’t have taught Sunday school yesterday. I wouldn’t have counted to ten when my kids were acting up. I wouldn’t have even gotten out of bed this morning.

Life is hard. PERIOD. Inside a relationship with Christ, or outside a relationship with Christ, this world is difficult. Jesus never promised to make it easier, just more fulfilling. He is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. He and He alone can satisfy. He is the only way to joy! You know that nagging in your heart? In your soul even? That feeling of “never good enough” or always “wanting more”? Those feelings will never permanently go away without a relationship with YOUR Savior. Can you quench them temporarily? Yep. But they’ll always return. Maybe not tomorrow, or next month, or even next year, but they’ll be back. You can put that on a cracker and eat it!

Realizing Jesus’ love for me was the best, the absolute best thing that could’ve ever happened to me. And trust me when I say I’ve had some pretty amazing things happen to me: I have been blessed with two amazing children, I have an awesome husband and a┬árockin’ marriage, I have a roof over my head and food on my table, my son was SAVED from CANCER! All of that is wonderful and amazing but, the realization that without God none of it would be possible is the best of all. He is the reason for EVERYTHING! Every single good thing comes from the Father. All of it. And, Romans 8:28 promises us that HE WILL work all things together for the good of those who love Him. ALL THINGS!!! So even the crap I’ve gone through (again, a good deal) has been blessing upon blessing!

I say all of this to paint a picture. The picture is of a wretched sinner (that’s me) who does not at all deserve the love of God. Not only do I not deserve that love, I don’t deserve life at all. If the Bible is true, absolute truth, I deserve death for sinning against my Holy Creator God. And I am NO DIFFERENT than anyone else created by that same God. We were ALL created in HIS image. Every last one of us. The murderer, the slanderer, the gossip, the adulterer, the abortionist, the rapist, the pedophile, the racist, the liar, the fibber, the fake, the real, ALL THE SAME. In God’s eyes, we’re all the same, and He loves us ALL THE SAME. None of us deserve His love but He gives it FREELY! Thank you Father!

The great I AM sent His only son to die on the cross, bearing all of OUR transgressions, so that we may have eternal life with Him in Heaven, if we believe by faith. All the sins of the world were laid on my sweet Jesus. Your sins, my sins, past, present, and future. He died for ALL OF THEM and ALL OF US. But it didn’t stop there! Three days later he was raised to life, by the power of the Holy Spirit and his heavenly Father! Hallelujah! Hallelujah that I, a wretched sinner deserving death, now have abundant life here and now! Not only that, but I will be with my Father for all eternity! Praise God for his unfathomable love. A lot to take in, huh? Jesus is the “Overseer of our souls”. He takes care of us.

So this Christmas, celebrate the birth that led to the ultimate gift of salvation. Celebrate the ONE TRUE KING. Celebrate Jesus Messiah, Emmanuel (God with us). Celebrate abundant life! Celebrate death to death. Celebrate freedom in the name of Jesus. Celebrate chains falling for forgiveness of sin. Celebrate the end of slavery (for we are no longer slaves to sin). Celebrate the only relationship with eternal consequences, your relationship with Jesus. Merry Christmas.