What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

We met at a coffee shop. He had said something about wanting to be baptized several days earlier, but I really didn't know what to expect or what lay behind the request. As we visited, I sensed a profound commitment to start over in life and do things God's way.

His story all began with him flipping through the TV channels and coming across a guy he had often waited on at a clothing store. "He was always the nicest guy," my friend said, "he remembered my name, and was someone that I had always wanted to be like, especially in the way he treated people."

He listened to the guy on TV. He went out and got this guy's book. He bought a Bible and dug in voraciously reading all the New Testament, seeking the will of God. He came to his convictions on his own. He was very passionate about those convictions.

When I baptized him, people were moved by his story. Tears appeared with the intensity of his confession of Christ and his obvious joy and commitment to Christ. He knew his life was about to be brand new! He has lived as a new man ever since that morning.

Don't settle for old and stale.
Over the years of ministry, the problems and failures have sometimes brought deep disappointment and cynicism. The grace of God, however, has consistently brought me the joy of seeing old souls made new just when I needed this joy most. When people catch the grace of God and find the assurance of life made new, well, something changes in everyone caught up in their stories. To be able to witness such profound and life-changing grace consistently over the course of thirty years of ministry is a precious gift.

As we enter the season of Christmas — that time of year when people all over the world pause and at least give lip service to the coming of God to our world in Jesus — I want to remind us all that new life can happen to each of us. Just listen to the stories surrounding Jesus' birth and you are caught up in the stories of new life. So enjoy the month, savor the grace, and remember that God sent Jesus to make our lives new. Don't settle for old, stale, and predictable. Look for God's new grace and you will find it, even in the commercialized flood that sometimes engulfs the simpler and more profound truth of God in a manger.

Do you have a great story of how life became new and fresh at Christmas time? I'd love to hear from you on my blog! Let us hear your story!http://blog.heartlight.org/phil/2006/11/new_and_fresh.html