I know so many people who don't think that the Christmas story is relevant anymore, and this crowd probably also didn't see Christmas right in front of them, or why it mattered to them. It's easy to miss it, isn't it? Are you going to seek Jesus this season, invite him to be "God with us" in your life? Are you going to marvel like Mary and Joseph at what God is doing in your very midst, at the promises that were made that are being fulfilled?
Prepare Your Heart: Thanksgiving
God desires for you and I to give thanks no matter what's going on in our lives, because it's good for us. God knows this is what we need to do. Gratitude isn't just about feeling good. Gratitude doesn't mean we have to be happy. But gratitude leads us to joy. It elevates us, at least for a moment, from the things of this earth into the heavenly realm.
Prepare Your Heart: Rejoice and Pray
This is rich with what we need today, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16: "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks.” Today we’re going to look closely at the “rejoice” and “pray” parts. Rejoice. Paul understood joy is the evidence of the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. He even says it's one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Joy is infused with hope.