Forgiveness and Christmas

Ephesians 4:32  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 

Unforgiveness can keep us from experiencing the meaning of Christmas.

Unforgiveness can genuinely keep us from experiencing what Christmas is meant to be. 

It is amazing how the truths of our Biblical Christmas are depicted in films and Television specials. For this series of Fit.Church Sunday messages, each entry will have a scene from one of our favorite films and complete the statement, “Christmas Is a Time to…”. My desire is for this to be insightful, meaningful, and even a little fun. 

In some circumstances, forgiveness can bring reconciliation. This is the area on which our video touches today. The video below is from one of my favorite Christmas films because I laugh through out the film, but in the middle of this story of a young boy who is accidently left home alone, is a picture of reconciliation. Enjoy the video below, and then if there is some family member or friend that you are estranged from and you realize that reconciliation is completely possible. Pick up the phone and make a call!

The clip today is from a 1990 film and has become a family favorite around the holidays. But what we view this morning is but a small sideline in the overall story of the film. An elderly gentleman who lives in Kevin’s neighborhood has always been terrifying to Kevin, but Kevin actually helps Marley. You see… 

Forgiveness is a tragic topic. Some need to experience the freedom of forgiveness. Whether we need someone else to forgive us or we need to forgive another, both are essential for health.

As a Christian, I know the Bible commands us to forgive others and to seek forgiveness when we have wronged another. It is natural for us to respond to injury with anger and self-interest, but it is not healthy for us to maintain those emotions for an extended period of time. Left to fester for an extended period of time anger turns to rage, bitterness and resentment. 

This short message isn’t intended to answer all the why’s, how’s and when’s of forgiveness. Volumes have been written regarding this subject, and debates have raged answering such. 

Before presenting the focus of this message, I encourage those of you who have experienced circumstances that have brought about anger, resentment, and even rage to find someone to talk to about it. Whether a good friend, a pastor or priest, or a professional therapist; another to guide us on this journey is extremely beneficial. 

The focus of this message is the hard work it takes to hang on to bitterness and rage. While I know about the pain of working to forgive, I also have personally experienced the freedom that comes with forgiveness. There are a plethora of articles and books one can read to discover your path forward, but the holiday season is one of the most difficult times of year for us to experience when we have not forgiven. 

Forgiveness does not instantly restore trust. Forgiveness is not forgetting what happened. Forgiveness does not remove consequences. It does not restore the relationship nor does it excuse the wrongdoing. Forgiveness is not the ending of pain. 

In some circumstances, forgiveness can bring reconciliation. Living in forgiveness can bring a true sense of emotional health to your life.