An article in the New Republic, dated July 1999, entitled, “Is Religion Good for your Health” cites a study that concludes that “lack of religious involvement [belief and the practice of it] has an effect on mortality equivalent to 40 years of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.” Without the joy, peace, hope and love that we anticipate during Advent and receive in Jesus’ coming at Christmas, we remain dis-eased people. And dis-eased people cannot be healthy. To be holy healthy, we must above all wrap ourselves in love; God’s love which the Scriptures say “binds everything together in perfect harmony”…a life-enabling balance of body, mind and spirit.
BRINGING IT HOME. I recently stopped at Jimmy John’s for a sub. Because it was rather early for lunch, I was the only customer in the place. As I was eating the staff began to arrive and began a conversation about their Christmas plans. One young man explained that he was going to his grandma’s for Christmas around the 23rd and that his Christmas celebration would continue at different times and locations on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day respectfully. The reason for all these different gatherings in different places at different times was because of one of his uncles. It seems he would not come to the family celebration if one of the other family members was present.
“Sound familiar?” Past indiscretions, a mis-spoken word, a moment of poor judgment has the power to divide families and keep them from ever enjoying peace and good will.
The message of Christmas is that Jesus came not to condemn, but to redeem. He came to bring peace on earth through the forgiveness of sin. That gift of grace is a very precious gift. Share it this year. Use it to heal old wounds and to reconcile all divisions. Let Christ truly be Immanuel-God with us- as He rules in your heart and accomplishes His purposes.
Merry Christmas! Blessed Peaceful New Year!