"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Ephesians 5:14).

Waking up my children in the wintertime usually brought an unwelcomed start to our homeschooling day. Most mornings my children were dead to the world because it was still dark outside. They responded like bears in hibernation — in lethargic slow motion. I felt like the evil stepmother in Cinderella as I forced them out of their beds to do their list of morning chores before breakfast. I was always glad for the change of seasons and embraced the longer and happier days of summer sunshine.

Waking up those who don't know the Lord can be a difficult task as well. Because they are dead in Christ, they can only be convicted of their sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our job as Christians is to shine the warmth of God's love on their lives and enjoy the privilege of telling them what Christ has done for us. However, according to Jude 22-23, we may face resistance: "And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." Sometimes the Holy Spirit may use us to kick, pull, or drag people out of their beds of sinful stupor.

God is a loving Father, and He desires that none perish (2 Peter 3:9). As we listen to the Holy Spirit's leading, we must be careful to do exactly as He leads to help others know the forgiveness of sins. Has the Lord laid someone on your heart who needs awakening from his sinful state? Don't be surprised if he initially rejects the joyful Good News of Christ's salvation. Some people are as crabby as an old bear, but God wants to change their hearts, too. Don't give up! Keep shining the warmth of God's love and seek His guidance. He will show you how to win over their hearts.

Lord, use me this Christmas season to show Your love to my stubborn neighbor. Let Your love shine through me and warm the coldness of his hard heart. Show me what to do and give me the words to say that will challenge him to hear Your voice and change his ways. In Jesus' name, Amen.