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  • By Pastor Andy Plank

The truly BEST gift ever!

December 19, 2021

All week, I have been dealing with the most vile, nasty stomach bug known to mankind. It started in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, and as I type this on Saturday morning, I am still feeling its effects. I never knew a person could feel so bad, so many different ways. I also realized that as I go through my life, I take a lot of things for granted. For example, I never thought twice about the ability to eat (and hold down) solid food, roll over in bed without the world (and my stomach) spinning round and round, and being able to get up and move around with strength and confidence, just to name a few. It has been very disconcerting. I am pretty good about telling God “Thank you for all my blessings”, but this little week of playing “Let’s run to the little boy’s room one more time” has made me realize I am not so good at realizing all the specific ways God blesses me. It’s not that I am trying to be proud or arrogant, it’s just that I don’t stop to think about all the things in my life that really are blessings. As we speed through this Christmas season, I can think of a couple of big blessings that, if I’m not careful, are accepted without enough thought and thanks. First, I have made a mess of a lot of things in my life. Some of these things are small while others are whoppers. As a matter of fact, the holes I dug for myself not only caused a rift between me and others, more importantly, they caused a rift between me and God. It was a rift I couldn’t smooth over myself and here is where the blessing comes in, God knew I couldn’t smooth it over myself so, now get this, HE came and smoothed it over for me! That’s what this season is all about. Immanuel, God with us, means that because God came and lived among us and finally died as an atoning sacrifice for us, we humans can be right with God again, no matter how big of a hole we dug for ourselves. I need to remember that, not just daily, but constantly. Living in light of how much God loves us and the sacrifice Jesus made for us will cause us to live differently, act differently, and love differently. Second, the gift of Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving, because in spite of my best efforts, I keep digging holes for myself and I keep making messes. I John 1:9 reminds us that as God’s children, if we will confess our sins, the blood of Jesus continues to forgive these sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and THAT is something to celebrate and remember. That’s why you can have a really MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Be blessed and be a blessing . . . Andy


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