Christmas is upon us and this is one of my absolute favorite times of the year! While it’s become a commercialized holiday for those in the secular regions of society, Christmas has taken a very special significance in my own personal walk with God.
As I mentioned in one of my previous Christmas posts (you can check it out here), my favorite Christmas song is “O Come Emmanuel” because it was the song that I was listening to when I accepted Jesus. This song really helped me understand why I needed Jesus and was the tipping point that led me down the right path to deepen my faith journey. Before I truly became a Christ follower, I didn’t understand why we need Jesus in our lives. I believed in God and thought that was enough, but it wasn’t until I really found my faith in Jesus that my life began to change for the better.
If you’re not familiar with the song the lyrics say “O come O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, who mourns in lonely exile here, until the son of God appear. Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel has come to thee o Israel!” Before my faith journey led me to a deeper relationship with God, I never realized that we are all basically Israel being held captive by the influences of the enemy until Emmanuel (God is with us aka Jesus) came to save us through His sacrifice. Listening to this song in the midst of a lonely, depressing Christmas season one year, I finally understood that Jesus was the piece I’d been missing. I’d been miserable trying to find a way to get people and God to love me, when He’d already shown me that He loves me more than I could ever even fathom by sending Jesus to make everything right!
Faith in Jesus and fostering a solid relationship with Him is one of the weapons God has given us (His children/ faith soldiers) to ward off the fiery arrows of the enemy. To help offer some context, Roman soldiers of the era (the time when Paul was writing his letter to the Ephesians) would carry large, thick shields for protection, so Paul tells the Ephesians to use the shield that God has given them for protection.
“And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop the burning arrows of the Evil One.” Ephesians 6:16
In Roman battles, burning arrows were often used to distract the other soldiers (not necessarily meant to kill them). In this same way, satan uses his own fiery arrows as a means to distract us from the path and the purpose that God has meant for us. God, in all of His amazing wonder and knowledge, has provided us with a solid, thick, sturdy, almost door sized shield to help keep us on track through our faith in Jesus. Our faith is what keeps us focused.
I know that if I’m not fostering a daily conversation with God and studying His word, it’s much easier to become distracted by various things in the world. This distraction leads me to forget or otherwise neglect the good works that God has planned for me to do (Ephesians 2:10) in order to further His kingdom. So make sure that you are taking time each day to be in relationship with God, study His word, and allow Him to guide you and use you for His good plan.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Faith is based on believing in what you can’t see, so without effort on our part, it’s easy to get distracted by all of the other things in life that you can see. You know, the things that always seem to require your urgent attention. Things like work, worrying, dating, household chores, errands, and even leisure activities. None of these things are inherently bad, but if you’re not careful to stay grounded in God’s promises and keep your shield of faith at the ready, they can easily take your time, effort and attention away from God’s bigger picture.
So this Christmas season, be sure that you are taking care to have your shield strong and ready when the distractions (usually from the commercialism associated with this season) try to derail you away from what this season is truly about… Christ and His birth as the greatest gift of hope God could ever give to His beloved children. So put up your shield and Rejoice! Christ has come for you Israel!