TGIF RedStaters!  Welcome to today’s Water Cooler, RedState’s daily Open Thread.  Put the work aside for a few moments, and come join the conversation among friends…  Your topics are welcome – here’s a start…

Christmas Starts Today, or Everyday.

Whenever we decide.  But it has to be bigger than December 25th, doesn’t it?

Christians use this holiday to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Or more broadly, the fact that our God loves us SO MUCH that he would humble himself to become man, live with us, and then die to pay our debt.  It’s a big deal.  It has little to do with religion –  you don’t have to be religious to know and love that God.  It has nothing to do with being perfect.  Jesus promised the criminal on the cross next to his that they would be together that day, after death, in Heaven.

It has everything to do with accepting and admitting that you are not the center of the universe, and that you are willing to follow God’s path and directives rather than deviate.  You are willing to have faith that the one who is is the father of, protector of, savior of all those who will call on his name.  When we accept Christ, God gives us his spirit (biblical words include “helper” and “counselor”), and this spirit lives in us.

And then the tie to what many think of as the “Christmas Spirit” – giving.  This connection is not just our imagination, it’s biblical.  Jesus tells his disciples about that spirit, first using the analogy that good trees produce good fruit.

Luke 6:43-45

43“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Paul expands on this.

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

A common thread amongst new Christians is an overwhelming sense of gratitude to God for loving us, forgiving us our sins, and adopting us as his children.  We then want to thank him, and follow him as closely as we can.

Still being humans with freewill, we still wander off the path, fall asleep on duty where he has asked us to love our neighbor, and do things that we know we shouldn’t.  But with his spirit we have the strength to get up, ask forgiveness, and try again.

At Christmas, we tend to try a little harder.  Here’s a reminder to remember that you are not the center of the universe; the one who is wants you to love him above everything, and your neighbors at yourselves, and that if you want him, he’s yours.

One woman got it right here

I love you all, and wish you not just a Merry Christmas, but the gift of Jesus, the attitude of gratitude and peace and joy that come from being saved, and a long season in life where you will know the joys of giving as we have been given to.

Mike