Christmas is special to me for many reasons. I look forward to playing games with family, eating comforting food, snow, and seeing the faces of friends and family when they open a gift I selected just for them. It warms my heart to know that I can do something or give them something that can bring them joy. The satisfaction that I feel at that moment carries me until the following year and I look forward to feeling that way again.
Christmas is special to me because it symbolizes the birth of Jesus Christ who has given me a gift that brings me joy and sustains me daily. Jesus has given me a slate that he wipes clean every time I go to him and ask for forgiveness. Asking God for forgiveness is one of the simplest things (theoretically) that a Christian can do. It really is that simple, but it’s what happens afterwards that seals the deal. God promises to throw our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah7:19) but what do WE do with them? Do we beat ourselves up for things that we’ve done in the past? Do we ignore the lesson and avoid seeing what may have motivated us to do what we did so we can avoid doing it again? Do we allow guilt to paralyze us and keep us stuck in our past? Do we allow other people that know about our past to hold us hostage to it and not acknowledge the strides that we’ve made? Do we deny ourselves the acknowledgement of making different choices?
Not forgiving ourselves after we have been forgiven by God or the forgiver keeps us boxed in and trapped by our past. Forgiveness is a gift of the present; the here and now, the possibility of making a different decision in the moment. It is a gift of a fresh start and yet another chance at achieving a goal or pursuing a relationship. It is a gift of success out of perceived failure. It is a gift of relief from bondage. It is a gift of recognition of your imperfections. It is a joyous gift because you’ve set yourself free from your past. It is the gift of joy that everyone that surrounds you feels.
This Christmas, gift yourself with a fresh start, a clean slate, the freedom to experience joy in solitude and profound relationships. I am sure that this gift will be one that you will use over and over again.