A Reason To Celebrate

by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

The best of all is, God is with us.”

These were the last words of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, when he died in 1791. This truth has transformed his life that he uttered this statement twice before he breathed his last.

We have lost many reasons to celebrate because of this pandemic that has been dragging on for almost two years now. Many, if not all of us, lost family and friends. Some lost their livelihood. We all lost our sense of freedom to be able to do whatever we want like freely meet friends and travel to places.

But when you come to think of it, the pandemic took away many things but it has given us something in return: the opportunity to slow down and the realization of the things that are really valuable.

This Christmas season, the pandemic may hinder us from having glorious parties and gatherings but it points us to the real reason for the season.

Matthew 1:23 says, “Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means, God with us.”Immanuel. Emmanuel. God with us.

The world’s disappointments, frustrations, heartaches and pains may take away our reasons to rejoice this season, but these three words are enough to celebrate Christmas – God with us.

Yes, He is with us.

This is the very reason why we can sing Christmas carols, smile and laugh even if our hearts ache, give even if we have lost so much, and still carry on even if our burdens are too heavy to carry.

Through the birth of Jesus Christ, God showed us that He is with us. We are not forsaken, and we will never be.

Look around you… the food on your table, roof on your head, clothes that cover you and family that loves you.

Meditate on His goodness – the air that you breathe, your heart that is still beating, your lungs that are still breathing and the sun that is still shining.

Think about the many times He has rescued you, healed you and came through for you. Remind yourself of the times He sent a friend to encourage you and provided for you at the very moment you needed it.

All of these are reminders that God is with us. And this is why we can rejoice. This is why we can be grateful. This is why we can celebrate Christmas.I know that this is easier said than done.

There are some who are experiencing situations that are more complicated and difficult. There are many who are in darker, more depressing and impossible circumstances. It is my hope that they experience the Emmanuel, the reality of God being with them.

It is my prayer that as we celebrate Christmas, the Jesus that we sing and talk about will not just be one we know with our minds and utter with our lips but will be allowed to penetrate and live in our hearts.

Jesus is not just a miracle worker, a prophet, a moral teacher or a noble person –  He is God. And He is with us. He saves. He rescues. He heals. He provides. He gives peace. He gives comfort. He gives strength. He gives grace. He gives joy. He gives hope. He is the great I am. Again, He is with us.“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6Looking back at 2021, there are so many things I am grateful for. It may not be the best year but one to praise God for.

The fact that I am still alive is one big reason to celebrate. My husband still has a way to provide for us and my children are healthy and strong are testament of God’s goodness and faithfulness to me.

And the opportunity to be able to talk about Him through writing and share what’s in my heart with you who has the chance to read this, it’s a proof that truly He is worth praising and celebrating.

I pray, just like John Wesley, we will be able to say fervently this year, amidst our pain and suffering, “The best of all is, God is with us.”A blessed Christmas to everyone!

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