Christmas and Easter give a wonderful New Year
As I sit here contemplating something to write for the new year, I thought why not continue the idea from my Christmas devotion, The Christmas Principle, that Jesus is with us. As you know, the birth of Jesus allowed God to become flesh to dwell among us, thereby starting the beautiful love story of God sacrificing Himself to be with us. But even more so, Easter is the event we celebrate His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection, which absolutely paid the penalty for our sins so we can dwell with God. (Matthew 1:23; John 1:1,14,18; Romans 3:22-24). Hence, the name, "Christmas and Easter Give a Wonderful New Year."
God has always wanted an eternal relationship with us, that is why He created us, but then sin happened and changed everything (Ephesians 1:3-14). But we can't catch God off guard; He knows all things, so Christmas and Easter happened.
His desire for an eternal relationship is described starting in the Old Testament through the idea of covenant. Covenant in the Bible simply means, a binding relational agreement between God and His people in which God makes assured promises and expects certain behavior back. There are a number of covenants in the Bible. The everlasting covenant or new covenant, is the central one. It's the one that gives us a beautiful eternal relationship with our God through Easter. Our responsibility in this covenant is belief or faith in Jesus and what He did for us on Easter. Thus giving us God's assured promises of forgiveness of our sins, an eternal relationship with Him and Jesus dwelling in us through His Spirit. (Ezekiel 37:26-27; Matthew 26:26-29; Romans 8:1, 10-17; 2 Corinthians 3:5-6).
God dwelling with us is very amazing, isn't it? Yet, because of what God did for us, we can now dwell with Him. What exactly did He do for us? He went from His throne in heaven to being born on the earth, to live a life that was surrounded by hardships, struggles and suffering so He could lovingly empathize with us, and to putting aside His eternal nature to die a tortuous death on a cross to pay for our sins, not His. Yes, Christmas and Easter are an eternal love story that I still find hard to fully describe. (John 3:16-21; Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15-16; 1 John 4:9-10).
Life application: Since Jesus dwells within us, make a New Year's resolution to stop worshipping idols (1 Thessalonians 1:9b). Idols in our modern age aren't the worship of a golden or wooden something that represents a false god as in the Old Testament, but it is anything that grabs your attention more than God. This could be yourself, or a relationship, yes even your kids, or maybe something you want more than anything, or your home. I believe, you have the picture. If I am honest with myself, everything humans have to offer, or the world's gifts, never hold the lasting hope and happiness I yearn for; only what God offers me in Jesus Christ. You too?
What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." 2 Corinthians 6:16 ESV®
This New Year, if you don't already memorize God's Word, start. I memorize the Psalms. Take your time and enjoy His words to you. Memorizing allows my mind to hear God's words so I can walk with Him and love Him, in a deeper and more personal way. If my old brain can do it, yours can. Read Psalm 1 and Mark 12:28b-30.
Because of Christmas and Easter, Gini