Merry Christmas!

The Bible mentions the word "merry" twenty eight times. Most of those mentions are connected with wine and strongly indicate that people can become merry by imbibing wine. Of course all who propose the use of wine, use such mentions to try to okay the use of wine.  Those mentions also open another facet.  They show that merriment is a state of mind, and though it may be brought on by the use of wine, there are other more stable sources.  Circumstances should not rule a merry heart.  A merry heart shouldn't depend upon chemical substances for sustenance.
It is also obvious that those who do depend upon chemicals for merriment, often fall prey to the addictive power of chemicals and all merriment is replaced by agony and despair.
  Only a fool would disdain being merry. I speak of the state of mind that is not influenced by external influences.  I had rather be around merry people than dour folks.  Most of us as Christians fight the tendency to be gloomy and negative. After all we are in defiance of a world that is deteriorating.  Often we keep our eyes on the failings of others and our own shortcomings. This makes us come across as stuffy and self-righteous.  Should we not remember that Jesus came to this earth to die.  He knew from the beginning that the world was going to string him up on a cross.  He knew that his best friends would ultimately abandon him, one would deny him and one would actually betray him.
  Jesus carried himself with dignity and integrity, yet he attracted friends and still attracts followers to this day.  Merriment cannot be defined as frivolity. Stupidity of a drunk must not be interpreted as merriment. Foolishness will never substitute for merriment.
  Even though Christmas has been robbed of most of its spirit. (Have you ever wondered why it is necessary to go out and max your credit card or drain your bank account buying gifts to celebrate "winter solstice?") we can still grow a merry spirit in our own makeup and influence others by highlighting God's mercy and unmerited grace in His wonderful plan of salvation that is given to anyone who responds in simple faith to His offer of eternal life in Jesus.  Do you realize that God promises special reward to any of us who undergo trials and persecutions. Count it all joy (be Merry).  I'm not talking about the spurious and false promises of Mohammed.  The Bible's promises are solid and backed by tons of  fulfilled promises. God cannot lie.  The teaching of Mohammed endorses lying as an approved practice.
  One of my favorite hymns is "Count Your Blessings." It really works!  Any time and under any dark cloud of life, a believer  can take a moment and think on pleasant things that God has provided. Philippians 4:8. I've got a lot to be merry about; a wonderful wife who has been more than just a helpmeet. She is my best friend in this world. I've got 4 marvelous kids that are making positive marks in this world.  I've got 12 astounding grand kids that have each already accepted Jesus Christ as their personal saviour. And I am sure one of them will become president one of these days.  I've got pleasant memories of the ministries that God has led me into over the past 48 years and there is still communication from each of those ministries. I have now been almost 24 years pastor of a powerful little church in Macon, Missouri with some of the best people you can find on the face of the earth. Just yesterday re-affirming their desire to evangelize this community in a better way.  We live in a lost town that hears very little truth.
  Last but certainly not least, I have a saviour who is my saviour.  He not only saved me from my sin, but His wonderful Word has been a reliable guidebook for almost 54 years and has allowed me to walk through life safely and surely.


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