I used to envy people with faith. I remember thinking 'it must be nice to have the peace that comes with believing that there is a God who cares." I wanted to believe, but for some reason I couldn't.
My sister became a Christian before I did. I trusted my sister and she started lending me some interesting books about faith in Jesus Christ. Then I started reading my bible and even going to church. As I opened my heart to Jesus, He walked into it and has been living there ever since.I remember the first moment I began to believe that Jesus Christ was real. I was 30 years old and I had been reading about Him as I ventured into my bible for the first time. One day it just came over me. He was real! Instantly I thought "why did it take me so long to see this?"
Did I change in that moment? Not really. Did something magical happen? No. But I had faith to believe and that faith has grown and grown and that faith sustains me and comforts me every minute of every day – even when I am depressed. The little bit of faith I had that first day long ago has grown and continues to grow and sustain me.
Ever since that moment I have lived for Jesus. I love him, I pray to him, I trust him and he takes care of me. Does he make my life perfect? No. But in Him I have a savior, a refuge, a source of wisdom and strength and love.
I believe there is a God who created the heavens and the earth. I believe that God sent his only Son, Jesus, to come to earth as a beautiful and vulnerable little baby, just the way we all started. I believe that Jesus, lived and walked as man on earth and as a result understands what we go through. I believe that I am a sinner who needs a savior and that Savior is Jesus. I believe he really did die on the cross to save us from our sins.
I don't love Jesus at Christmas any more than I love Him the other 364 days of the year. Christmas is just a time set aside to celebrate his birth. It's a religious holiday.
That special season, the season of Christmas has grown beyond proportions and there are more traditions surrounding Christmas that have nothing to do with Christ than those that have everything to do with him.
Some of those 'non-Jesus' traditions are fun like Santa. Some of them are burdensome, like shopping and cooking and being so busy attending all sorts of Christmas events that you don't even have time with your own family. Some of them are warm-hearted like the gathering of families and the singing of Christmas carols. It can be a lovely time of year or not.
Just in case you still need some help maintaining a manageable persepctive on Christmas, here is an excellent article "How to Survive the Holidays:Must I Spell it out for You?" written by Chipur. He is an amazing writer who knows first hand the challenges of chronic mental illness. The article is short and has some great tips.
In my 'Taking Control of Christmas Chaos' series I have referred a lot to Charlie Brown. Did you know that the originator of Charlie Brown also had depression? Did you also know that he was a Christian? Both of those come through in the Christmas special 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'.
The best part of that movie for me is when Linus tells about the true meaning of Christmas. Maybe you have seen it before? Maybe you need to hear it again?