All posts in Investing in Christmas

Investing in Christmas–Fitting In

“Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?” I asked almost everyone I greeted on Sunday morning.

What I think I meant was, Did you spend it with someone you loved? 

I wondered about this as I dropped my daughter and son-in-law at the airport for their flight home.

Then I sobbed.

The reason I sobbed wasn’t because I missed them already. That’s a given.

The reason I cried was I wondered where I fit in.

My kids are grown. They have spouses and fiancés and good friends and new family. It’s normal. It’s expected. It’s hard.

“How do we know how to fit into our children’s’ lives?” I asked Tom while I snorted into a Kleenex. We live a twelve-hour-shift away from them. We can’t offer them an exciting time. Watching the sun rise. Listening to chickens coo. Throwing a stick for our dog, Sam.

“That’s not for us to decide, Pauline.”

Tom is almost always right about those things. It’s infuriating. And refreshing.

“Besides, we have some new family now. A bigger family–the body of Christ here at our church.”

Right again.

Where I “fit in” is in a heavenly kingdom.

And it all began with a baby in a manger. The season we just entered.

I grew up as the daughter of Salvation Army Officers. I’ve seen lonely and plenty who didn’t “fit in.”

So I know there are lonely, hopeless people in all income brackets and of all races.

That is the beauty of the Christmas story–hope.

God became a Man so we could be part of a heavenly kingdom.

So we could have an eternal place to fit in with a loving Savior.

It’s the reason to hope. The reason to praise. The reason to share with someone who doesn’t have a Happy Thanksgiving, or a Merry Christmas.

The real Christmas Gift.

Jesus.

But, I still miss my kids.

Hang in there, friend. I’m going to write every day until Christmas.

Galatians 4:4-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAssOfn5cAI[/youtube]

 

 

Investing in Easter, Breakfast with the King

I’m partial to fisherman, I married a one. And he cooks fish better than anyone I know. In fact, I call him the Fish Whisperer.

But I think the One who created the fish could cook them better.

The story of Jesus appearing to His disciples on the shoreline and cooking them a breakfast of fresh fish and bread makes me smile, salivate, and tear up at the same time.

Here’s the scenario. Jesus died a horrific death. He was buried by a wealthy man in an unused tomb. Three days later He was raised from the dead. He appeared to Mary and Thomas and the disciples.

Turn in your Bibles to John 21:1-14:

“After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 

“Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘we will also come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. 

“But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you do not have any fish, do you?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’

“And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.’ So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.

“Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.

“But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.’

“Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ 

“None of the disciples ventured to question Him, ‘Who are you?’ knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise.

“This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.” (NASB)

Close your eyes and imagine what that looked like. Think of the smells of the sea, the campfire. Hear the lap of the waves, the boat being pulled ashore. And then hear the voice of Jesus calling.

He’s still calling. For you. Through His Word. He whispers in this blog.

“Come to me all you who are weary and heaven laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Today could be the day of your salvation. There is hope in Christ. There is forgiveness in His Name.

You don’t have to live for others, they will disappoint you. You don’t have to live for stuff, or your body, or money, they will all deteriorate.

Through Christ we have overcome death.

Hallelujah!

I’d like to see you in heaven, friend.

There’s a meal coming at the end of the ages, where we will sit down with the One Who’s hands and feet they pierced.

You can be there.

Romans 10:9-11 states: “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’”

Fall down on your knees and worship with me as you listen to “I Will Rise,” by Chris Tomlin

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa8w7mGug0c[/youtube]

 

 

 

 

 

Investing in Heaven,Day 24-Really Seeing Jesus

I don’t know how many if any of you have followed this blog. If you have, thank you, if you haven’t, it doesn’t matter.

I’ve loved it. I’ve loved slowing down to really see Jesus. Not just the baby in the manager. That was just the middle of the story.

His story has no beginning and no ending, but it is fabulous.

For our last day together, I’d like to look just a little further in Luke. Mary and Joseph take the Baby to the temple according to the Law and there they meet a man named Simeon:

“And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it has been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, ‘Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, “A light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”‘ Luke 2:25-32 (NASB)

Three words describe Simeon: devout, righteous, and looking.

I’d love for someone to use those words to describe me.

Simeon knew there was to be a Redeemer. And he waited. Not just waited, but waited expectantly.

Let me ask you a few questions, friend. Are you looking for Jesus? Have you seen Him. Not just a shallow knowledge, but a heart knowledge? Are you expectant? Not just for this life, but for the life to come?

No one can “see” Jesus without the help of the Holy Spirit. He allows us to glimpse the glory of Christ through the pages of Scripture. I hope you’ve received a glimpse of Him through these blogs. I have.

Not only that, but are you expectantly waiting for His return. He promised it, you know.

Perhaps the oldest book of the Bible says this:

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25 (NASB)

When you invest in Christmas, you invest in eternity.

Where’s your investment going? On this earth that will one day burn up? Or are you investing all that you are and all that you hope to be in eternity?

I hope so.

It’s sound.

It’s wise.

Because investing in Christmas always leads to the cross.

Have a Merry Christmas! I love you.

Here’s another great song to end our Investing in Christmas journey:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NgVpWV4sEs[/youtube]

 

 

 

Investing in Christmas, Day 23-Points to Ponder

Our story is almost finished.

Christ was born in a stable. Shepherds stood in awe.

And Mary pondered. Here’s that famous passage:

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this chid, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:16-19 (NIV)

Not much pondering going on lately. Too loud. We’re too busy.

The Hebrew word has several meanings, but in this instance it means according to the blueletterbible.org, “to bring together in one’s mind, confer with one’s self.”

She had a lot to think about. Scripture says that she treasured those thoughts, too.

No Dropbox. No iPhone. No flash drives. Just memories.

I hope that during our time of investing in Christmas you’ve pondered the magnitude of the Christmas message.

Here’s another passage of Scripture to ponder today, friend.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not over come it.” John 1:1-5 (NIV)

The Baby born to be the King is the light of the world.

Enjoy Amy again.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdLwZCprtkI[/youtube]

Invest in Christmas, Day 21-Two Birth Announcements

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. So many emotions. Excitement. Fear. Amazement. Worry. Joy.

And I was 28 years old.

I can’t imagine Mary’s heart.

We get a glimpse of it in God’s Word.

“And Mary said: ‘My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name.’” Luke 1:45-49 (NASB)

Don’t you just want to be her bff?

What insight. What faith. What trust.

She understood her need for a Savior. She understood His holiness.

There was another birth announcement to Joseph.

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, wanted to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins.’” Matthew 1:18-21 (NASB)

It was gutsy of him to hang in there. Obedient, even.

Would have loved for them to be in my home group.

Two average people met by astounding circumstances. Brought through by simple trust.

You ever think they doubted their angel sighting?

I’m guessing they did, although I don’t know.

I doubt my calling for service to Him. I know I’m called to serve through writing. When I don’t see results, I doubt.

Maybe you’re discouraged.

Don’t be. God is powerful. He is all-knowing, all-wise, and loving. He doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t sleep. He sent His Son to redeem us and “save His people from their sins.”

Trust that. Then keep on keeping on.

Today’s worship will be from Keith and Kristen Getty. Enjoy and trust and serve and worship.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6nAsESYPiY[/youtube]