Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Unopened Present

Imagine the presents remaining under the tree, unopened, the day after Christmas. The tree is eventually taken down. The unopened boxes and bags are moved to the corner of the family room—visible, but unopened. 

God Says 

Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” –Matthew 26:27-28

Something to Think About 

God offers forgiveness. Nothing we have done is too bad that we ever find ourselves beyond the reach of God’s love and grace. God is willing to forgive—the challenge is accepting God’s forgiveness. Christ came to save the world from our sin. Forgiveness is God’s Christmas gift to us. But for many, the box remains unopened: under the tree, tucked away in the corner of the room, or stuffed in the closet. Still available and most likely visible—but unopened.

Individual or Family Activity 

Write some of your sins on a sheet of paper. Read the sins and then destroy the paper. Shred it. Burn it. Tear it apart. On a new sheet of paper write down some of your hopes and dreams. Keep that sheet of paper and refer back to it.

Individual or Family Prayer 

Dear God, 

My trespasses are many. 
People I have hurt.
Opportunities I have missed.
Shortcuts I have taken.
Times I have distanced myself from You.

My sins continue.
Mornings of jealousy and nights of envy.
Craving and consuming people, places, and things.
Poor responses to anger and annoyances.
Avoidance of doing Your work. 

I fall short of who I want to be.
My thoughts are impure.
My words can be harsh and careless.
My deeds are not always loving and life giving.
I have habits that damage me and others.
Yet You forgive.
You delight in giving mercy.
You rescue me from the dominion of darkness.
I turn to You and You refresh me.
You make me a new creation and let me begin again.

And You keep forgiving.
You purify me and make me as white as snow.
You cast my sins to the depths of the sea.
You remove my transgressions as far as the east is from the west.
You remember my failures no more.

Let me open and keep opening this gift of forgiveness.
Help me respond to Your grace.
Enable me to experience Your freedom.
Make it possible for me to forgive myself.
Draw me closer to You so that I am free from sin.


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