Realizing that December is here is unbelievable. How quickly the year has passed. The last month of the year is usually the most eventful. People are busier than ever, spend more money than usual, search for a present for that person who has everything, and write a long list. Every person has his or her own list with which they must contend.

This page that you have just begun to read is meant for seniors and is written from their perspective. However, it is irrelevant whether you are in this age group or not, so just keep reading. One day you will also be in that group. This has occurred to me often when I remember what I have heard from older people. Occasionally, I catch myself using similar sentences.

It is a fact that when we get older, we have experienced more and, in most cases, have learned more. As we age, we view December through different eyes and evaluate occurrences differently. What may appear important to others, we may assess and delegate to a lower level of importance. One needs to understand the real meaning of a situation.

Yes, we do celebrate Christmas in December. No one knows with certainty the exact date of the birth of the world’s Savior, but that is unimportant. Important is that God came into our world through His Son Jesus Christ. Somewhere and at some time, it was decided to celebrate Christmas on this date, and that is how it has remained.

For me, the date is not important, but the joy that became available to all people is. It is almost impossible to understand what is behind this love of God. Jesus expressed this once as: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This love is what has also won my heart. It is higher than all and overshadows everything else. Christmas is more than just a flood of presents, parties, and gatherings. I am not speaking against these occurrences, but just want to place them in their proper priority and not lose myself. I want to celebrate Christmas properly. I can do that even when I am older, weaker, and unable to get out among people. I am even able to celebrate Christmas alone. I can take my Bible and reread the words about Jesus becoming man, or I can read about the signs in the Old Testament by the prophets announcing the coming of Jesus. Like a common thread, Jesus Christ is present in all the Scripture. He is the major theme of the Bible. When I think about why He came and realize that it was for my sin, I am amazed and can only thank God. What did Jesus say? We who believe in Him are no longer lost but are saved. Thanks be to God!

Then the thought of our own personal end needs to be mentioned. How could I travel towards my end without fear if I did not know where I was going? Christmas does not only remind me of the love of God, but also brings hope into a lost world: the hope of eternal life. Even if my body becomes older, if I am in need of help, and when I reach my final end, I will awaken in a better place, a place of unimagined beauty. All this because approximately 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, and His death on the cross gave us an eternal home. This December, I want to remind myself of this and be joyful because of it.

There is another side to this discussion that is connected to December and needs to be mentioned – the coming of the New Year. December 31st ends another year, and a new year begins thereafter. For many people, this changeover brings with it unknowns and worries. This fear is understandable because for us humans the future is hidden. We do not know what lies before us and what the new year may bring. We have no control over the time before us, and therefore we just need to accept what will happen. The more we think about this and conjure up potential scenarios, the worse our situation appears. Sometimes it may be friends who influence us through their negativity, and soon we are singing along in their song.               

Let me remind you of the situation that is related in Numbers 13. You probably know this story; however, we will let the Word speak to us. It happened that Moses sent out twelve spies (read verses 1-20, please) to check out Canaan, which lay before them. God had promised this land to them. After 40 days (verse 25), the spies returned and gave an account of what they had encountered. Ten of the twelve spies said they were unhappy with what they had seen. They mentioned that these people were giants and arrived at the conclusion: “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we” (Numbers 13:31). In a short time, a plan to return to Egypt had materialized. However, two other spies had also been in the same situation and assessed it differently. They included God in the picture, while the others appeared to have left Him out. In Numbers 14:9, we read that Joshua and Caleb said: “Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” In their fear, the one group forgets about God, while the other group in their fear places their hope in God.

For instance, if we had been one of these twelve men, how would we have assessed the situation? Surely we would have aligned ourselves with Joshua and Caleb! We would have put all our trust in God. We think that is what we would have done. So when December comes with its worries about the unknown future and wants to rob us of our sleep, why do we not align ourselves with Joshua and Caleb? Instead of letting the “giants” occupy our vision, let us look to Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). 

Dear brother and sister, why do we let the devil make our life difficult? He is the one who shoots “fiery darts” (doubts, fears, and worries) at us (Ephesians 6:16). We need to hold up “the shield of faith.” Therein lies our security, and through that we can eliminate the fiery darts. We will be surprised how our wonderful God will carry us over the threshold into the new year. He has assured us of His nearness and help! Trust Him.

Why do we not decide today, no now, to ignore the difficulties and instead look to the Lord who knows how to deal with all our difficulties?

December – we celebrate this month with joy and full of hope!

Harry Semenjuk

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