It’s no secret how much I like Christmas music. There’s nothing like listening to Karen Carpenter singing “Home for the Holidays” or Tony Bennett singing “Winter Wonderland”. Most people believe it’s socially acceptable to begin listening after Thanksgiving, although I tend to push the limits. Many years ago, much to my coworkers’ chagrin, I began listening to Christmas music in my office every Friday in November. And then the last couple of years, I listened everyday beginning November 1st (distressing my coworkers even more). Then in this crazy 2020, my wife and I actually started listening in September. Bottom line – Christmas music warms my heart and brings a smile to my face, and that’s why it’s one of my favorite things.
Saturday morning, I was listening to Christmas music in my truck on the way to Home Depot, when I heard “My Favorite Things” sung by Diana Ross. Immediately, I began to think about some of my favorite things as I drove. Of course, my thoughts immediately went to my wife, our 5-adult children (6-with our son-in-law), our church family, our old house we’re remodeling, and so many aspects of the life we’ve built together over the past 35-years. God has blessed us so richly that I have remembrance of many favorite things.
And yet, my thoughts continued to expand even higher. I know firmly and confidently that it is only because of the benevolence and graciousness of God that my earthly life has been blessed. And if that’s true, how much more is my spiritual life blessed? So, I thought I might list out some of my favorite things of a type that is more than just temporal and earthly, but eternal and spiritual. Here are “a few of my favorite things” given by our Heavenly Father.
- His Grace – Many people have difficulty understanding what God’s grace is. Here’s a simple definition – grace is me receiving something I do not deserve.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, – Ephesians 1:7
In being afforded grace, I receive things that I do not deserve from God. To be blunt, I do not deserve redemption. I do not deserve forgiveness for my sins. I am a sinner who’s violated my Creator’s law. I am unrighteous. I continue to struggle with my sin. At no point in my life have I been good enough or successful enough in trying to put down my sin, to earn forgiveness for it – not even for one tiny moment. And yet God, who is rich in mercy, chose to make me alive in Christ, because of his great love (Ephesians 2:4-9). That’s grace. One of my favorite things is His Grace.
- His Mercy – By definition, mercy may seem as though it is the opposite of grace, and yet they are like two sides of a most valuable coin. Together, they are a treasure of immense value. Mercy is my not receiving what I deserve.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, – 1 Peter 1:3
I deserve condemnation. I deserve to be discarded. At the end of my life, I deserve to be thrown unto the waste heap of Hell with all other unrighteous sinners. And yet, because God is merciful to me, he saved me through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. His wrath being poured on Jesus on the cross, as payment for my debt, results in mercy being shown to me. An extension of that mercy is the “living hope” we have found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our hope is in the life to come with Christ. One of my favorite things in His Mercy.
- His Peace – Wow! Contemplating His Peace in our present circumstances is of tremendous value! The following verse has been a rock and an anchor for me these past few months.
3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
– Isaiah 26:3
God gives peace to those who pursue and trust Him, who keeps their focus tightly centered on Him. First, because of our faith in Jesus’ death on the cross we have peace with God (Romans 5:1). We are at peace with God because we believe. Second, we have peace from God – a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). The two combined means that we can have complete peace. We have perfect peace as our minds are stayed on Him, and His peace (thru the indwelling Spirit) guards our hearts and minds even as the world around us is on fire. His peace is one of my favorite things.
- His Provision – Now this might sound a little earthly, but I am still talking about the spiritual. God is our provider for everything we need in this life and the one to come.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8
No matter what the world may think or want to ignore, earthly life is spiritually driven, and our spiritual life in Christ is suffered by our earthly life. We are made complete (Colossians 2:10) and becoming mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28). Both are accomplished by the provision of earthly and spiritual things provided by our Heavenly Father. God promises that he will meet every need as we are loved and kept by Him all the way into His presence where we will live forever. His Provision is one of my favorite things.
These are just “a few of my favorite things” that bring me tremendous joy! There are many more earthly and spiritual blessings that all Christians share in that mean so much to us. What are “a few of your favorite things”? Write them. Share them. Feel free to comment on social media.