Sunday bulletin

A few weeks ago I posted my Christmas list on our refrigerator. It’s a pretty typical list, a few useful, practical items and a few fun things. What’s on your list--a favorite clothing item, a DVD movie, a gift card to a nice restaurant? I doubt that any of us put a new car or a lake cabin on our list, at least not with any serious expectation of receiving it. There are certain things beyond the reach of friends and family, no matter how much they might like to give them.

Have you ever made a Christmas list to put before God? What would be on it? God has none of our financial or other limitations. “Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills...for the world is mine and all that is in it” (Ps. 50:10, 12). The possibilities are staggering! We might ask for good health, safety and blessings for our loved ones, continued employment, peace for our nation. The Lord can easily give all those and more. Yet we don’t always know what is truly good for us, so we want to add to our list: “If it be Your will, Lord. You know what is best for my eternal wellbeing.”

None of us would have any trouble making a long list for the Lord. However, there is one gift we might easily overlook if He didn’t tell us about it, and that is the gift of repentance. Repentance is a change of heart and mind. It is a change from excusing sin and taking it lightly to sorrowing over it as a terrible offense against God which makes us deserving of eternal death. It’s such a vital gift because without it we would see no need for the salvation Jesus came to win for us. His birth would have no life-changing significance in our view and we would ignore Him in unbelief.

So in these weeks of preparation for Christmas, pray for the gift of repentance. May the Lord through His law impress upon us the seriousness of every sin, no matter how small it may seem. May He crush self-centered pride which feels no need for forgiveness. May He give us heartfelt grief over our sin, so that we turn from it and want nothing more to do with it. Then we will be truly ready for the greatest Gift of all, the Son of God and Savior of the world.

-Pastor Michael Eichstadt (used with permission)

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