"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." John 7:38

With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to decorate the house for Christmas! Yes, it is a ton of work! And, yes, it’s usually a solitary job, but I love it!

What I really enjoy is unpacking the ornaments!

BabyFirstOrnaments

This is the ornament Brian and I got when we were first married in 1979, Danny’s first Christmas 1981, Bobby’s first Christmas 1984, and an ornament my mom gave me from her tree when I was a baby in 1956.

Every ornament has a sweet memory: The excitement and pride on the boys’ faces as they presented their hand-made masterpieces, the memory of a friend I haven’t seen in years, the heartache of a family member who is gone, the joy of a baby’s birth, or the thankfulness for a new daughter-in-law!

It’s not unusual, as each ornament is unwrapped and examined, to find some that didn’t survive their storage intact and need a bit of glue; while others seem prettier and shinier than when they were put away.

Just as we take the time to unpack the ornaments we use to decorate our homes, we should also set aside a time each year when we unpack and examine the ornaments God has given us to decorate our lives.

Galatians 5:22-23 “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

As we go through the box, each one provokes a memory…

Love – do you love unconditionally? Who needs to know that you love them?

Joy – when did you last experience joy? Have you brought joy to others’ lives? Have you lived joyfully in the midst of sorrow because you know the Savior?

Peace – are you living in peace? Peace with God and others?

Forbearance – have you practiced tolerance and restraint when you’ve been provoked? Have you shown patience with others?

Kindness – would others say you are kind to them? To yourself?

Goodness – only God is good – are you growing more and more like him each day?

Faithfulness – Would you say your faith in God is growing deeper? Stronger? Is it penetrating every part of your life?

Gentleness – Have your words and your actions grown in gentleness?

Self-control – where are you out of control? Where have you gained control?

As you cooperate with God, he will strengthen and grow this fruit. This is a promise.

Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

We can’t produce this fruit on our own.  It isn’t a matter of working to be good enough.  These ornaments belong to God; they are the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the by-product of God working in our lives through the Holy Spirit.

As we cooperate with God in the circumstances he allows in our lives, he continues the work of transforming us: “polishing our ornaments”.

It’s time to decorate! May the light of the Lord shine brightly through you this Christmas season!

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