To My Friends

My hope is that you would remember the true reason any of us ought to celebrate such a season.

My prayer is that your heart is filled with the peace, joy, and love that only God Himself can give to a person. Though you may have heard the story dozens of times before, may the truth and beauty of the birth of Christ be an eternal spring of hope for you and your loved ones. For you see, this baby was unlike any other. He came to save men and women like us. This baby that was born so long ago is our only hope of finding what is truly life. This baby came so that God and sinners (which all of us are) might be reconciled. This baby grew into a man and taught us how to live, how to love God, and how to love one another. But this is not all He did. He took it upon Himself to see to it that we might completely reconciled to God by giving His life as a ransom for those who would humbly receive Him by faith.

My prayer for you is that you know this truth in the depths of your heart and that you cling to it as a person thrown into a tempestuous sea would cling to a life raft. If you do not yet know this truth, then please friends, write me back and allow me to be the bearer of most excellent news. But for those of you who do know this Christ as the one who loved you enough to die for you, I give this exhortation:

Since God has through Christ shown us great mercy, now go and show others mercy, most especially to your fellow brothers and sisters. If you have wronged someone, go and make it right. If someone has wronged you, go to them in love and forgive them from the bottom of your heart. Love as you have been loved. Forgive as you have been forgiven. If there is strife, let it cease. If there is division, let it be made whole again. If there is anything dividing you from a brother, a family member, an old friend, or *anyone*, go and be reconciled. In such things God is pleased and greatly glorified. May your households and churches be filled with the peace and love of Christ who came as a baby in a manger.

May you know joy,

Bill Carlisle


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