From Paul’s Pen

            Nineteen shopping days ‘til Christmas! It is a wonderful time of the year as we think about giving to others. Hopefully, we haven’t forgotten the less fortunate or those too overcome with grief to celebrate. This holiday season is a great time to focus on others instead of ourselves.

            While so many around the world celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, let’s view this with optimism. We don’t know when Christ was born and almost certainly it was not December 25th; however, both Matthew and Luke provide beautiful details about His miraculous birth. We also have some Old Testament prophecies regarding the same. And oh, what beautiful hymns have been written about the divine nativity. Sadly, we often wait until December to sing them!

            As we approach a New Year, we often reflect on changes to make (resolutions?) to feel better about ourselves. Perhaps it’s time for a different approach. Let’s seriously ponder changes we need to make for God to be pleased with us! Take a moment to read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 as we begin to consider changes in our lives for 2022. While there are probably moral and ethical adjustments we all need to make, maybe we also need to adjust our worship. Am I really giving as I’ve been prospered? Am I singing as the Lord commands? Am I reading my Bible every day? Do I allow trivial pursuits to keep me from the worship assembly?             “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2; NKJV).