Enlarge Your Heart = Enlarge Your Experience of Pain and JOY! It is a paradox! At this time of year, it is hard to go shopping without seeing someone on the street corner begging for money or food. The holidays are full of families that are struggling to buy even one present for each other. There are children that might not experience a happy holiday because of the fighting in their house. The struggles of single parent homes weighing down the burdens on a child are endless. You would have to be blind, or deaf to not see or hear the “pain” that surround us during this time of year.
At the same time, this time of year is full of JOY, HAPPINESS, MIRACLES, and GIVING. You would also have to be blind or deaf to not notice the presence of these amazing qualities during Christmas. There are families that are being helped by churches to provide meals and presents for their children. There are shelters providing warm meals for the homeless. There are food drives in local cities and food drives in churches to provide meals to those in need.
So, it is a paradox! The story of Christmas and Santa Claus started with a Saint. He has many names, but Saint Nicholas is one of them. Saint Nicholas saw a need; he enlarged his heart and chose to not place blinders on his eyes. The Santa Claus of today is based on a real man, St. Nicholas of Myra.
Who was St. Nick?
The history of St. Nicholas states that he was born into a wealthy family. His parents died, and left him a large sum of money. Nicholas didn’t keep any of the money though. One of the events in his life tie him to three young ladies that were about to be forced into prostitution. He threw bags of gold into their windows to help them get out of their tormented life. His life was full of his “enlarged heart” actions, and the people chose him to be their bishop. As a bishop, he was imprisoned. St. Nicholas didn’t spend a life of ease, and relaxation. He saw pain, suffering, and gave from his heart. He believed in someone else that did the same thing.
God saw the misery and pain on earth. He heard the groans coming from earth due to SIN.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. ~Romans 8:22
God’s heart was enlarged toward us, and he sent us a gift, a Savior…JESUS CHRIST. It was promised hundreds of years before it came to pass.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. ~Isaiah 7:14
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~Isaiah 9:6-7
God gave Jesus Christ to us freely, knowing that He would be a sacrifice. St. Nicholas gave his gold away and stood for Christianity under oppression. He was imprisoned. Maybe, just maybe St. Nicholas knew that this “free gift” of everlasting life was worth it. It was worth all the risk and suffering. Jesus is worth it. Do you think it is worth it?
You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life. ~Luke 21:16-19
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. ~Luke 14:27
Is it worth it?
YES, St. Nicholas thought it was worth it, and so do I. We give gifts this season to celebrate the free gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior. The story of Santa Claus points directly at Jesus.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16
There is one more promise for us that believe in Jesus. He is coming again, and what a joyous event that will be. Here is that promise…
Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what He has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. ~Revelation 22:12
He is coming soon, and the hour is unknown. If you haven’t accepted the FREE gift of salvation, please let someone know today that you want to receive it. Do not go through another Christmas Season not having the assurance of eternal life with Jesus Christ. Send us a message at email@example.com and we will rejoice with you and pray with you.
Merry Christmas, ENLARGE YOUR HEART, and shine for Jesus…whatever the cost, it’s WORTH IT!!!!
Dove recording artist Sarah Groves, Beverly Weeks and Sherry Jennings will share from their own personal struggles and how you can be set free from your bondage in the name of JESUS! That's not all! We will have over 50 vendors on site with shopping, a concert and a TONS of PRIZES!!!! Tickets are on sale at www.bridgechurch.cc Bring your church groups! Bus and van parking is available!
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