nativity scene manger christmas desertAren’t you glad it is Christmas? You can settle into your favorite chair by the fire, watch the twinkling lights on the tree, and sip hot chocolate from your favorite Christmas mug. Finally, you can breathe, just breathe, as you enjoy a quiet reflective moment in the stillness of your own home.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure you just chuckled when you read that and grunted, “Sure must be nice.” To be honest, that’s not really the way it is around my house either. For most of us, it seems life’s accelerator gets stuck to the floor the week of Thanksgiving and stays wide open until we coast into the first week of the new year, running on the fumes of exhaustion. It takes a couple weeks of January just to recover from the holidays!

But it shouldn’t be that way. We may celebrate Christmas, but do we fully celebrate the greatness of God? What if Psalm 46:10 dropped into the middle of this flurry of holiday activity and actually landed with an impact. “Be still and know that I am God.”

Unfortunately, most of us are so overwhelmed that we fail to reflect on the passing year or to glance at the year ahead. This Christmas I’m determined to fight for that reflective moment and I challenge you to do so too.

Here’s why: We need it.

Throughout the Old Testament, the word “remember” is used a significant number of times. God reminds His people often that He will “remember” the covenant He made with humanity, Adam and Eve, the fathers of the nation of Israel and others. He will not forget what He has promised.

But God also admonishes His people to, “Remember the Lord your God.” There are so many passages that call us to remember the greatness of God, but one that generally sums them up is Psalm 77:11: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.”

Why is remembering so important? I believe it is because we are too quick to forget. Seldom do we spend enough time remembering God’s goodness to us, which is exactly why we must fight through the commercial clutter that engulfs Christmas and remember God.

Even now as I think through 2017, I am reminded of wave upon wave of God’s grace and mercy extended to me, my family, friends across the state and around the globe, and to us as Tennessee Baptists. God is good, all the time!

We simply must not forget what God has done throughout 2017 in sustaining us and bringing us to the threshold of another year. God is so faithful. As I Samuel 7:12 says, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

However, we must also look ahead. No, we should not be presumptuous, but say with James, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15). In humility, we must look for the Lord to go ahead of us in the work He’s called us to, secular and sacred.

I think about Joshua, standing on one side of the Jordan River. The people’s inheritance lies on the other side and in the future. I can see him looking through the sunset contemplating all that must come to pass, and then God speaks. “ … Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses” (Joshua 1:2-3).

As we peer through the fog of the holiday season and into next year, we must clearly see the presence of God waiting for us to arrive in January.

We must see the vision He has called us to in 2018, and we must be confident that He has gone before us, recognizing that awaiting us in the future’s uncertainty is the certainty that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Then, we must proceed full of confidence in His ability — not ours — to accomplish what He desires to accomplish through us.

I really do hope you find yourself in front of that fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate contemplating the goodness of God in the past, present and future. From all of us here at the TBMB, we hope God blesses you with a very Merry Christmas.

It is truly a joy for Jeanne and me to be on this journey with you.

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