Unfortunately, we are living in a world where lying is common, practically expected, and seemingly just the way we do business. But at the end of the day, character is still important, and it still matters. It matters not just morally, ethically, and spiritually, but practically. We began by saying that the foundation of character is integrity. In this message, we are going to learn that the first fruit of integrity is honesty. Integrity is more than just honesty, but there can be no integrity without honesty. There is a man in the Bible who exemplified this trait in an incredible way, and that is Samuel. What elevated Samuel, both in the eyes of God and in the eyes of his people was his absolute, unfailing, uncompromising honesty. What distinguished him was not the high positions that he held, but the honest person that he was.
Christmas is not just an event that happened in the past. It is an experience that we live in the present an and expectation that we have for the future. We all deal with our past, our present and our future. None of us have a perfect past. There are times when the skeletons in the closet rattle and we hear them at night - past regrets, past failures, things we all wish we could do over. We all live with troubles in the present, anxiety, worry, problems, disabilities, depression, discouragement. The older you get the more the future looms bigger and bigger - trips to the hospital, uncertain diagnosis, and of course the realization that one day the present will end, and we will all be in the future. We all wonder in a way when will it happen? How will it happen? What happens after it happens? Maybe this is why we all love Christmas so much, because, Christmas is about a God who can heal our hurts in the past, is our help in the present, and gives us hope for the future. The way he does that is found in a manger. When we really understand what happened at the first Christmas, when we really understand who was born, why he came and what he did, we realize we don’t have to fight the past. We can face anything in the present and we don’t have to fear the future.