by Rev. James Wong
23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Heb 10:23-25 (NLT).
1. Strengthen your faith. Christmas is an exciting time for doing business, shopping, buying gifts and immerse ourselves in decoration, caroling and countless other activities. However, the purpose of Christmas must not be clouded by all these activities because the star of Christmas is Jesus Christ. Christmas is to celebrate the coming of the savior Jesus Christ who has been born for the salvation of the world. God loves us so much that he gave his son to us so that in him we find our destiny in eternity. Let us therefore “hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Hebrews 10:23 (NLT). Let us resolve to grow up in our faith and not remain the same. Spiritual growth is our personal responsibility.
2. Strengthen your acts of love and good works. Giving is part of Christmas. You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving. Many churches spend thousands of Ringgit just to give away gifts through programs like lucky draws, Christmas dinners and Christmas parties to signify the love of God through the giving of his son Jesus Christ. Christmas is a season where the public is most receptive to the messages of Christmas. The colorful decorations speak a lot about the celebrative mood of Christmas but acts of love and good works speak louder. So, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24 (NLT). Most people need some kind of motivation to perform better. In response to what God has done for us, let us outdo each other in being helpful and kind to each other. Imagine, starting with Christmas, we all do acts of love and good works from now on, we would bring happiness to countless lives in our family, workplace, neighborhood and church.
3. Strengthen your fellowship. It is during Christmas that we see many brothers and sisters and friends gather at church for worship. We need to move beyond being ‘Christmas Christians’ and form the habit of meeting each other as often as possible. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another.” Hebrews 10:25 (NLT). There are many reasons why people do not turn up often in church for worship as they go through different seasons in their lives. However, encouraging one another can help to keep the good fellowship we have in Christ. To encourage one another is to ask God to show us the other person’s strengths and to commit to people-building. Be determined to bring out the best in everyone we know and help people to grow to become what God made them to be. We cannot do this without spending time with them. Make a difference this Christmas and move out from our comfort zone. Make an effort to spend some time with those we do not know very well in the church. Let others feel that this is a church where they can feel welcomed and accepted.