#NeverForget and #NeverForgotten were trending hashtags in the social media these recent weeks – a matter of national concern that struck our beloved countrymen. Yet these words took a different turn when I went through a personal reflection on Deuteronomy 8. These words had an even more profound impact carved in my heart, especially, as we all face this final month of 2016.
Deuteronomy 8:1-6 echoed, “The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.”
Amidst what the Israelites have gone through in their wilderness journey, the same call resounded – they were constantly reminded to listen, obey and to abide in Yahweh. Amidst all the seasons that we have gone through in our very own faith journey – the same call prevails for us until today. We have had our share of suffering and victories this year, but let us never forget that the Lord’s hand is all over every facet of our life. He provides. He disciplines. He leads. He teaches. He rebukes. He molds. He shepherds. He loves.
Deuteronomy 8 continued with this, “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery…”
Yes, 2016 is about to end. The Christmas songs linger after a day’s shopping and strolling at the mall. Yet, beloved, let us never forget that Christmas is a commemoration of Emmanual – our God who is always with us! Therefore, before we get busy with all the festivities, allow me to outline a few practical things that can help your 2016 Christmas become a season worth remembering.
- Silence – Take this time to go on a personal or family retreat. Intentionally allot time for silence, solitude and spiritual reflection. Take the holidays as an opportunity to fervently dwell more on God’s Word, to write down your 2016 lessons and trace how God has been moving in your life over these past months.
- Serve – Find ways to serve others, especially those whom we consider the under-served. Plan with your friends, family or Growth Groups on ways to bless a specific community, a family, or a worker of the Lord (e.g. missionary, church worker).
- Share – Bring the gospel (the Good News of Jesus) to the table by sharing your testimony, or present the gospel in one of your Christmas gatherings in the family, in school, or in your workplace. Visit a few friends, pray for them, and share Christ’s message of hope to them. Let us lovingly include Jesus in our conversations.
I pray that the next few weeks will be such a meaningful time for you, your loved ones, and the people you’ll be connecting with as we all remember Jesus – who He is, what He has done, and what He will continue to accomplish in us and through us for the glory of His Name!