Focus of Thought:
Throughout the Christmas season we often spend time giving. To only think of receiving during this time is considered selfish. At the beginning of the holiday season, I made a list of everyone I wanted to buy presents for, but instead of feeling joyful about giving I felt overwhelmed. Memories of last year’s Christmas popped into my mind. All the worry of budgeting and making sure I bought the right gifts were too overwhelming. I barely made time to enjoy the true meaning of the Christmas season.
This year I decided that I would focus on receiving first, giving second.
Expression of Thought:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself” Matthew 22:37-39 [AMPC]. In order to give you must receive. Have you ever thought about how you love God? How did you accept Jesus into your heart? I love God and accepted Jesus into my heart by receiving God’s love. Receiving God’s love allowed me to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and intellect. Goodness has never started with me. The only way I can give love is to receive God’s love.
Receiving God’s love brought to my attention how I should love myself. I should love God with same fervor that God loves me. Of course, I can never match God’s love toward me, but in order to love my neighbor I must love myself. I must receive the way God loves me and mirror that same action, if I want to give anything with love to someone else. Matthew 22:37-39 can be summed up as such: I must love the Lord first and love my neighbor second, in order to follow these commandments properly I must receive God’s love for me to bestow that love to my neighbor. If I’m not loving myself correctly, I cannot give correctly.
This season I challenge you and I to receive God’s love that could only be properly given with his son Jesus, the reason for this season. When you do this, giving becomes second nature. We won’t have to be overwhelmed, because we are not compensating those gifts with the lack of love that we receive for ourselves.
Whether we give a small present, big present or just our time, it should all be counted through the love that God has given us to love ourselves. This might call for exercises in self-confidence. Giving should never be a heavy burden or God would have not given it as a commandment. “My yoke is wholesome (useful, good-not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious and pleasant, and My burden is light easy to be borne” Matthew 11:30 [AMPC].
This Christmas season as you buy and make presents that suits what you can do, it is enough and pleasing to God if you do it with love. The only way you can take part in love is if you receive God’s love. Remember to love Him , love yourself and love your neighbor. Merry Christmas!
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