Christmas was ruined, or so we thought. When I was a kid, one year instead of giving us Christmas presents, my parents decided they would just give us money. After all, my mom used to say, “Cash is always the right color and size.” We decided to open gifts that year after Christmas lunch. After we had eaten lunch, we gathered in the living room, only to hear my mom scream, “They’re gone! They stole all the Christmas money!” A family member had come and helped themselves to ham, pumpkin pie, and all the cash under the tree. That Grinch tried to steal Christmas!My dad recovered the dough as it wasn’t hard to figure out who ate, stole, and ran. The family member was given the option to come back, lay the stolen cash back under the tree, and ask to be forgiven. What could have been ruined turned out to be a pleasant experience in time. That family member’s sinful actions earned them being disconnected from the joy of family and Christmas momentarily. However, all was soon forgiven, and we all moved forward with exchanging gifts like it had never happened. My dad said we must forgive and move on. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” All the brokenness and sin that leads family to steal from family and any other “lesser” or “greater” sins can be forgiven through Jesus. While they earned some puzzled and disappointed looks that Christmas, we soon forgave – a gift that reconciles hearts. God gave us Jesus to forgive us from our sins. That’s the meaning of Christmas.Question: Like my family member, isn’t it time to lay your sins at the tree, Jesus’ cross, and ask for forgiveness? God will forgive and receive you back in the family.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.