Be the practical arms and feet of Jesus this Christmas
When Jesus started His ministry, He went to the synagogue and read from the prophet Isaiah, stating:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,
because He has anointed Me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
You may be wondering, what has this Scripture got to do with the forthcoming Christmas season? My response is “Everything.”
Most Christians are aware of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, where Christ tells His disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
However, during the journey to discipling someone, there are times where believers have to take on board what practical support they need to give, before someone can accept the Gospel.
For instance, if someone is hungry, they are liable to want to eat a meal before being able to hear any Gospel message we might want to share with them. And if an individual is in financial straits, they may need support in dealing with their problem before they can embrace Christianity.
We also know being in prison can relate to a mental state. There are people imprisoned by fears, regrets, painful experiences, or unforgiveness, as well as those who are physically imprisoned for a crime they’ve committed. Whatever state a person finds themselves in, it’s Christ’s desire for them that they experience psychological and spiritual freedom.
During this Christmas season, let us ask God to anoint us and send us to be figures of hope and support to those in need, the spiritually blind or the oppressed. Let’s also find ways to show love and compassion and provide practical support to someone beyond our family or friendship circle during this special time.
This may entail us volunteering to serve Christmas meals at a homeless shelter; giving away Christmas gifts to children of domestic violence victims; living in a refuge shelter, or donating money to a charity that helps the disadvantaged and vulnerable. The list of things individuals can do to demonstrate God’s favour and love are endless.
Be the arms and feet of Jesus this Christmas. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. It’s something you’ve been anointed by God to do.
Our health is our wealth
One thing I have noted over the years is that we don’t always make our health the priority we should. And there are some who cite the Scripture: ‘For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come’ as a justification for not keeping physically fit!
Reading through the Old Testament, it is evident that many of the biblical characters were physically fit. For instance, Moses regularly climbed mountains to meet with God, including Mount Sinai which is 2,285m high. He’d have to be fit to climb that mountain! And the key mode of travel in Jesus’ day was walking. People could walk up to 20 miles a day. Some journeys took weeks.
It isn’t always easy to remain fit and healthy. There’s a lot of food temptation, and it’s so easy to develop a sedentary lifestyle, especially if you work from home or spend a lot of time at your computer, like I do. However, you owe it to yourself, your family and to God to aim to be as fit as you can, because prevention is always better than the cure.
Eating the right foods – taking supplements if necessary, incorporating exercise or movement into one’s lifestyle, and getting regular medical check-ups will help in our fitness journey, as will having an accountability partner.
If we fail to look after our health, we do ourselves and God a disservice.
Appreciating the real value of Christmas
When I was younger, testimony time was a regular feature in Black Pentecostal church services. The elders would preface their testimonies with the statement: “Thanking God for life and strength” or something similar.
I now find myself saying something similar whenever people ask me how I am.
Maybe it’s because I am acknowledging the passing of time, and that I am getting wiser (the new way of saying getting older), or maybe, just maybe, since the pandemic, the subsequent lockdown, and the loss of life, I, along with many others, have noted how truly precious life is.
That’s why, with the approach of Christmas, I’m not going to get too bothered about whether or not there will be turkeys in the shop, or if there’s going to be a shortage of toys because again, these are not the things that make Christmas special.
Instead, I’m going to savour the opportunity to see family and friends and celebrate the wonders of Christmas and the coming of Jesus Christ, the Hope for the world.
Written by: Marcia Dixon