Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Enduring a Christmas Cold

Only a day after being exposed to someone who has a cold, I now have a running nose and a headache. No one likes catching a cold, though it is to be expected during this freezing December month. But for me, the timing is unfortunate because I have to meet a deadline today. With this cold, can my eyes endure staring at the glaring computer screen while my brain try to squeeze out every creative juice from its cells? 

To get inspiration before I tackle the demands of the day, I turned to my devotional book which was given to me as a Christmas present a few days ago. On top of the page where a bookmark is inserted, I found these words:  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:7). I read the entire chapter four which is the context of the said verse. Though it refers to the Apostle Paul's physical hardships and sacrifices in bringing to people the message of Christ and the cross, I began to see how the verse could be speaking to me about enduring a common cold. As I continue to read, I remembered my two friends whose dear family members are in the hospital right now for life-threatening diseases. Another friend's aging mother has also been in and out of the hospital and their family spent Christmas at the hospital room. 

In all his dangerous encounters and near-death experiences, the Apostle Paul didn't lose hope because he was convinced that God's power was sustaining him so he could fulfill his calling. He even penned these paradoxes for those with colds today and for those who are spending the holidays on their hospital beds or are giving care for their loved ones who are sick: We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed. At all times we carry in our mortal bodies the death of Jesus, so that His life may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).

Keep yourselves warm and protect yourselves so as not to catch a cold. May I also ask you to say a prayer  for those who are sick and for their caregivers? Most of all, let's thank God for sustaining us these past days, weeks, months, and this whole year which will soon be gone. Praise God for His enabling grace!

Monday, December 24, 2012

God with Us

On the eve of Christmas, I received news from a friend that made me think about the future. I tried to brush off the worrying thought and it was easy to do that because of the preparations for Christmas Day. But this morning, I received  a text message: "The real message of Christmas is this: We are not alone. Jesus is our Immanuel (which means God with us) Matthew 1:23."

I remembered the news again and then the words "God with us" kept ringing in my head. God with us. God with us. The whole Bible verse is actually this: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and you will call him Immanuel--which means "God with us". The verse refers to the birth of Jesus Christ--the Son of God who became man, like one of us, to later on die on the cross to save us from sin. Jesus is with us. He walked on the earth then, He is walking with us now. 

I have planned some things for next year, but I don't know how things will really turn out. I don't know all the details that will take place in the next few months, but God does. And today, on Christmas Day, He is reminding me that He came to this earth to be with me wherever I am at all times. God is with me and  He is  also with someone who thinks He is alone today. He is with a father working overseas, away from  his family and desperately missing home. He is with the typhoon victims waiting for relief goods and relocation. He is with someone who is afraid, uncertain of the future. In whatever situation--good or bad--God can be trusted to be with us and carry us through. 

Merry CHRISTmas!