One of the highlights of life in my residence is the annual Christmas party for the children of the staff. Everything is geared for fun and laughter. To see the youngsters enjoying themselves is a great tonic for the residents, all of whom have seen many, many Christmas celebrations.
The final event of the afternoon last year was the arrival of a gentleman in a red suit, with a white beard, bringing in presents for the young children. The staff had fixed up his walker with cardboard sidings so that it resembled a sleigh. The only problem was that as he progressed to where the children were gathered, parts of his "sleigh" came off.
Nevertheless, he kept going and safely arrived at the appointed location, even though his equipment wasn't all there. We all laughed, the children were thrilled with their presents, and the true Christmas spirit of sharing with love was very evident.
The man in the red suit is in his mid-nineties and lives in a suite on my floor. Sometimes, when I meet him on the way to breakfast, he will privately share with me his difficulty in arising that day. Nevertheless, when he arrives at the breakfast area, he virtually always responds to a query as to his health with, "Great! It's another blessed day in paradise!"
He is an inspiration to all of us as he positively strives to keep going, despite the physical challenges brought on by advancing years.
This made me think of the contrast with our spiritual life, in which we can get stronger as life progresses. If we have accepted Jesus as our Saviour, we are reconciled with God our Father, and even as our body fails, we can "be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." (Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV)
We are able to keep progressing in our sanctification with perseverance:
Hebrews 12:1-3 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV)
And finally, we can receive the ultimate gift:
Revelation 2:10 – Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (KJV)
Let us all keep going with perseverance as God gives us physical life, but much more importantly, let us each grow in our spiritual life to gain the ultimate prize.
Prayer: Dear Father, we thank You that we have been given an opportunity to be reconciled with You through the gift of Jesus, whose coming we celebrate at Christmas. Help us to accept the gift of salvation that He freely offers to us all, and then, to keep going with perseverance in our spiritual growth. In His name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Angels From The Realms Of Glory" (Lyrics)