Today we helped to decorate the church building, preparing for our annual celebration of His coming.
Tag Archives: Christmas
These two songs cause me to meditate on the wonder and awesomeness of the birth of Jesus. I am so thankful and humbled that He came to be my savior. I appreciate God’s love and mercy towards me, one whose heart can so easily wander astray.
During the hustle and bustle of this season, may we pause and reflect on why so many of us celebrate during this time of year – that a baby was born in a manger and later, as a man, died on an old rugged cross to redeem us from eternal torment. Thank you Jesus!
Do you believe?
Though the date is debatable, and the presence of the wise men at His birth is arguable, we cannot deny that He came as God’s greatest gift to us all, the redeeming sacrifice for our lives.
May God bless you this Christmas season.
(By the way, I did not create this video but thought it was pretty good, along with the movie “The Nativity Story”.)
Over the last several years, we developed a Christmas Eve tradition of watching a movie called Seasons of the Heart. The movie’s plot follows Jed and Martha Richards after they have settled in Oregon in 1862. Along the wagon train, their two young daughters died suddenly and quickly from cholera. The movie begins with the pastor delivering to them an orphaned boy named Daniel to care for. Even though it is late summer or early fall at the start of the movie, winter has settled into Martha’s heart as she has shut out God, her husband and now Daniel. Martha does not love or understand the spirited young boy, especially when she compares him to her two daughters. As Christmas approaches, Martha’s heart is truly revealed as she declares that she does not want to celebrate Jesus’ birthday since he has done nothing for them. Then, on Christmas Eve, a new season dawns in Martha’s heart after an unexpected encounter with Daniel.
How do we live during the winter season? We usually hunker down in our homes, trying to keep the outside cold from invading our warm homes. Yet, a winter season of the heart appears to be the opposite – the coldness in our hearts can prevent the outside warmth from coming in. So how do we open the door to allow the warmth into our hearts? Is it a matter of perspective? Does God still love us when we don’t feel it? Is God with us when we feel all alone? Is God still in control when life’s circumstances appear to be random and happenstance? I believe the answer to these last three questions is “Yes!” because His Word says:
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deu 31:6)
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Heb 13:5-6).
So, I pray along with Job that in my desire to understand and explain my circumstances that I do not narrow God down to the image that I think He should be:
Then Job answered the LORD, and said, “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. [God said] ‘Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?’ therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. [God said] ‘Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.’ I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6, [explanatory and quotation marks added by me])
What season is your heart in? Sometimes, I feel like winter in mine and sometimes I get a glimpse of spring. I believe my focus can determine my season. When I focus on God, His Word and His promises, then it feels like spring. When I focus on my circumstances and lack of human understanding, then it feels like winter. And some days I just wake up and feel one way or the other for no apparent reason.
I recommend Seasons of the Heart as a family friendly movie. I especially recommend it to anyone who is grieving, especially the death of a child. There is no sex, violence or inappropriate language. The scenes mainly consist of dialogue between the characters. If you would like to read more about the movie, click here.
Those of you who know me well are probably aware of the thoughts I developed about Christmas over the past several years. I’ve had my reasons for resisting this holiday, because, after all:
- Jesus Christ probably wasn’t born on December 25; and
- Aren’t most of the worldly Christmas traditions borrowed from Pagan celebrations and hasn’t God commanded us not to worship Him in the manner that the heathen worship their gods?
So, what fruit did this produce in me? Honestly, I think I became rather hard and bitter around this time of year. Inside, I wanted to celebrate that my Savior came to this earth, but I was resistant because of the materialistic pull of the culture and the reasons stated above (among others).
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (Joh 1:14)
Perhaps because of all that we have been through this year, my heart has softened. For some reason, the words of those old Christmas carols have new meaning to me (yes, I’ve been listening to and singing them). You see, God Himself came to this earth and died for me, a sinner, so that I could live eternally, not separated from God, but in the joy of His Presence. Even more – because God sent His Son to earth my son is now in His Presence. If He had not come and took the penalty of our sins upon Himself, we would be without hope.
So, this year I will commemorate and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He always was and always will be, but for about 33 years He came to this earth, lived a perfect life, died for the sins of the world and rose again after three days, conquering death and giving us eternal life through faith in Him. While the world hurries though this season, distracted from, ignoring or even hating Him, I will pause and reflect on the Father’s great love for us demonstrated through His Son. Consistent with our theme, I will seek to redeem the time for His glory. And, yes, I may even decide to give a few gifts since my Heavenly Father has given me the most precious gift ever – eternal life through His Son.
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. (1Jn 4:14)
Let’s testify to the world that Jesus Christ came in the flesh to reconcile sinners (like me) to God!
P.S.: Brenda was reflecting on the last year and came up with this theme for 2011: “Life is hard…you better have Jesus.” Amen.