Have you ever been skeptical about someone and were hesitant to get to know them?
Then you decide you will make an attempt to get to know them just to see if you connect?
Surprisingly, you do connect and the person is so different than what you initially thought. And now you just can't spend enough time getting to know more about that person?
And one of those people for me is Jesus.
Now if the name Jesus throws you off, I get it, it used to throw me off too. If someone would simply say his name, I would tune out of the conversation. So if you’re there, I get it and honor where you are.
But seven years ago I decided to learn more about Jesus. I was skeptical. I asked a lot of questions and I did my own studies so that I didn't take someone else's opinion on as my own.
And I became quite intrigued.
What I have come to learn about Jesus is that he was a patient, kind, compassionate, and forgiving man. He met people beyond the surface at their heart. He was selfless, humble, and charitable. He was always willing to put his desires second to other people's needs. He walked with purpose and gave us an example of what it looks and sounds like to live out love towards others.
I wondered...what if I put these truths into practice in my own life? What would happen? Well, I can wholeheartedly say, that my life has been transformed when I have (imperfectly) put these truths into practice. I have received a fullness in my heart that I had never experienced before.
And then this year cancer came to visit.
I looked at cancer for a while but realized I wasn't going to get anywhere staring at the problem, so where did I look?
I looked to Jesus to guide me.
What did he do when he met adversity?
Four things stood out to me were that he accepted the hand he was given, he prayed, he trusted the path God had for him and he loved others.
And so I did my best to follow that guidance through my journey this year. Also, when I would sit in a doctors office, on the radiation table or in my chemo chair, I would open my palms and picture Jesus kneeling beside me, holding my right hand with his head bowed in prayer. I felt comforted, strengthened, and peaceful in those moments.
I share this with you today because it is Christmas and for most of my life, Jesus was not a part of my Christmas. But now he is as I recognize that Christmas is the celebration of his birth. My life has truly been transformed because I invited Jesus into it and I wanted to invite you today to...
Pause. Breathe. Pray.
And just take a moment to consider getting to know Jesus better. Maybe if you do, you will be surprised like I was and will also gain a new perspective when you say Merry Christmas.
No matter what you decide, I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas! And if you don't celebrate Christmas, I wish you a merry day!
With love, peace, joy, and hope,
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." - Isaiah 9:6