Getting Ready For CHRISTmas
How ready are you for Christmas? What about within your heart? When you're with others, do they see Christ? How about within your marriage? Do you interact with your spouse in such a way that others, including your spouse, is given the opportunity to see God at work (without your blocking the way)? Are you communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ with AND without words? Do others (including your spouse) experience the grace of God while they're with you?
To further consider these questions, we hope the following poem by an unknown author, which we adapted for this Marriage Message, will speak to your heart as it has ours:
"Ready for Christmas!" she said with a sigh,
As she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high;
Then wearily sat for a moment and read
till soon, and very soon, she was nodding her head.
Then quickly spoke a voice in her dream,
"Ready for Christmas? What do you mean?
Ready for CHRIST, when only this week
not one nice thing to your spouse did you speak."
"Ready for Christmas while holding a grudge?
Why, how can the CHRIST-CHILD come and abide
in a heart that is selfish and filled with pride?
"Ready for Christmas, when only today
your spouse needed love and you turned him away
without even a smile to show that you cared?
The little he asked--it could have been spared.
Ready for Christmas, your circle's too small
why, you are not ready for Christmas at all!"
She awoke with a start, and a cry of despair,
"There's so little time I have to prepare!
"Oh Father, forgive me; I see what you mean.
To be ready means more
than a house that's swept clean."
Yes, more than the giving of gifts and a tree,
it's the heart swept clean that HE wants to see;
a heart that is free from bitterness and sin,
ready for Christmas--and ready for HIM!
Think about whether you're truly ready for Christmas. If you have bitterness in your heart, you aren't ready. If you have self-centeredness in your attitude, you aren't ready.
It tells us in the Bible that we're to have the same attitude "as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:5-8) Do you have this same attitude?
The greatest gift you can give your spouse and everyone you are with this Christmas (and throughout the year) is giving them the gift of the Love of Christ. If you don't know Him in a personal way, there is an Internet site we encourage you to to visit: www.needhim.com. It will help you to know the ONE who is the REAL reason for this season, and every other day there-after.
In closing, we'd like to leave you with the following words from "The Message" by Eugene Peterson who gives us a paraphrase from the Bible in Ephesians 5. We can assure you and your spouse if you put these words into practice you will give each other THE BEST possible gift for your marriage:
"Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent [deeply respectful] to one another. Wives, understand and support your husband in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not domineering but cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
"Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church--a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor--since they're already 'one' in marriage.
"No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That's how Christ treats us, the church, since we are a part of his body. And this is why a man leaves his father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become 'one flesh.' This is a huge mystery, and I don't pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband."
During the season of remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ, and from this day forward, we encourage you to remember to give each other the gift of loving and honoring each other "as unto the Lord." These gifts will bless not only your hearts, but God's as well! (And just so you know, we put links to some fun Christmas puzzles and quizzes on the Home Page of our web site at www.marriagemissions.com, as well as an added link in this Marriage Message that gives suggested "Gifts from the Heart" you can give loved ones).
Have a truly blessed Christmas!
Steve and Cindy Wright
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