Christmas, a joyful and cheerful time of year for many people, is unpleasant and sad for many others who struggle with loneliness or depression during the holidays. For them Christmas is just another day of pain or guilt and oftentimes bitterness accompanies their attitude toward those who go about jolly and glad during this time of year.
The Christmas season is always a busy time of year for a lot of folks but it also serves to remind us we have a mission to accomplish. We have been commanded to testify of the coming of Christ and share with others what Jesus has done for us. Christmas provides at least three opportunities for aiding in this command:
A friend of mine recently had a conversation with a young man regarding the college basketball coach, Rick Pitino, and the negative media attention he has received concerning allegations that have recently been brought against him. Maybe you have asked yourself, “How could he do such a thing?” After all, people of influence are held to a higher standard; they are expected to conquer the very desires that defeat us. And so the greater question would be: “How could anyone do such a thing?” But the answer is clear; the Bible tells us that all people are affected by sin and selfishly motivated to fulfill their own desires. No one is exempt from the power of lust and self-fulfillment; no one can conquer it on their own.
It is no secret that people with high blood pressure have a greater chance of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure compared to those with regulated blood pressure. However, high blood pressure is not the problem itself but a symptom of an even larger problem dealing with the heart. According to one medical health guide, symptoms of this chronic condition are not easily detected giving it the name, “the silent killer.” There are several factors that can be attributed to high blood pressure including obesity, high sodium intake, alcohol consumption and the use of certain drugs; however, many with high blood pressure don’t know it until their blood pressure is measured. Only then can a proper diagnosis be made to correct the problem.
At times the heart may produce symptoms of a possible problem that requires immediate medical attention while at other times produce mild symptoms that cause no need for concern at all. For example, a person that is relaxing in a lazy chair may need to consult a medical professional should his heart begin to accelerate at great speed without cause. On the other hand, someone who has been running a marathon would not be as concerned with a higher heart-rate.
For centuries the heart has been a symbol to express love, feelings and emotions. It also refers to the intellectual core of human beings and symbolizes personality, morality and other non-physical characteristics. In the Bible it is the term used to describe where our true character resides. One man wrote, “It is the place of conscience and decisive spiritual activity,” “the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will,” and “the center of a person.” The heart is “the place to which God turns.”