All posts tagged Christmas

Where Does the Light Come From? Christmas Meditation, Day 6

This is the newest member of our family. Kratos, a large, wolf-like animal with razor-sharp teeth, and a mammoth head. I think he loves my husband, Tom.

This morning, as the rising sun filtered through my window while all three beasts lounged on the floor, Kratos sat straight up and stared at the ceiling, transfixed. A bright light shone erratically. Kratos began to chase it not knowing the sun reflected off of his chain and projected onto the ceiling.

When he moved, the light moved.

Charming.

I’d like to continue my Christmas meditation on light. The light of the Christ child coming into a dark world shining the light of good news. Or, as others put it, the Gospel.

When Jesus began His ministry, people questioned His authority, authenticity, and heritage.

The book of John says people held varying opinions of Him. Just like today. Many thought Jesus a prophet. The Jewish leaders swore to kill Him since they believed Him a blasphemer. Others looked to Jesus for His great works and a possible free meal. Some were undecided.

John 7:41b states, “Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He?”

What they didn’t know was Jesus was born in the ancient city of Bethlehem, just as the prophecy foretold, but spent most of His time in Galilee.

Yet, in Isaiah there is talk of Galilee in Isaiah 9:1;

“But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.”

The following verse gets better.

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.”

Jesus is the light of the world.

He shines in my heart. How about yours?

Here is a beautiful verse from the Apostle Paul found in 1 Corinthians 4:6;

“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

The dog had no idea where the light came from–we have the Gospel written down for us in the story of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Just thinking about it warms my heart.

Jesus–the perfect, innocent Savior came as a baby to pay the penalty of our sins. The wrong things we do.

He loved us that much. But we must admit we need a Savior. Admit we are a sinner and accept this free gift.

I’m pleading with you today. Bow the knee to the baby in the manger who is our Redeemer and King. I’m praying you will.

Here is a link for today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsH_V6i0N0o

Comfort His People, Christmas Meditations Day #2

Glad this election is over. Aren’t you? Don’t know how you voted, but these last few months have been tense–to say the least.

It’s over now. Party decisions have been made all over the United States. Now we need to lick our wounds, and heal with our fellow Americans.

We need to be comforted.

Remember when we climbed up in our mom or dad’s lap and felt their strong embrace? Maybe you didn’t. One of my most vivid memories as a child was when we went on vacation, and my daddy woke me up to put me in the car. He picked me up jammies and all, held me close and gently placed me into our beat up station wagon.

Usually, I was awake, but pretended to be asleep with my eyes held tightly shut.

Maybe you need comforting right now from life. Or a loved one’s death. Or a loved one’s absence.

I’m speaking to you, friend. Listen to this passage from Isaiah 40:1:

Comfort, comfort my people says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard serve has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”

No matter who is in the Oval Office, no matter who left, or even if your dear one has been promoted to glory, you have hope.

We have hope.

It all began with a baby, in a manger.

Be comforted my friend. You have hope. It came wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Here is the link to the song of the day from Handel’s Messiah:

Are There Anniversaries in Heaven, Christmas Meditations Day 1

Today would have been my parents 68th Anniversary. They made it to 59.

Here is my question; Do they celebrate anniversaries in heaven?

Here’s my guess–yes.

The reason I say that is God is a God of celebrations. Several feasts were required of the Israelites in the Old Testament, and they continued in the New Testament. One of the feasts lasted for a week with no work and living in shelters made with branches.

That sounds like a campout to me. Cooking over an open fire, hanging out with family, friends, and neighbors. That probably would have been my favorite.

The fact is, Almighty God required everyone to stop work and celebrate.

We are getting ready for the biggest celebration of the year in America–Christmas.

Jesus–the second Person of the Trinity left heaven and miraculously condescended to earth. Born as a baby, grew up as a man, and died as our Savior.

That is something to celebrate.

To remind me of this awesome fact, I’m going to write about it in order to take the time to celebrate. So here is my first passage of Scripture to meditate on today.

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

In America, we’ve just finished a long, mud-slinging campaign. We as a country decided who would be our President for the next four years. No, I’m not gonna go there.

Here’s my point. No matter who rules temporarily, God rules eternally through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

That is something to celebrate…

Here is a link to help you with your own celebration, friend. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS3vpAWW2Zc

PS Ribs.

Dead or Alive

“Pauline!” I smiled as Mom’s caregiver had to shout to get her attention since she can’t hear out of her right ear. Tom and I sat on the couch, getting ready to go into town.

“Pauline!” I heard again, this time with a tinge of panic in her voice.

“Do you mean me?”

“Yes. And come now!”

Running into her room, I searched Mom’s face. It was a combination of fear and panic, then as I watched, her eyes glazed over.

“Quick! We’ve got to get the food out of her mouth! Pull her up and hit her on her back!”

I complied—numb.

Tom ran in, climbed on the back of mom’s bed and tried to pull her up. Her body slumped back like a ragdoll. Her lips were blue as were her fingernails.

We continued to beat on her back.

“I can’t feel her pulse!” Tonya said.

We raised her arms as Tonya continued to try and unlock Mom’s mouth.

“I think she’s seizing! Let’s turn her on her left side,” Tonya shouted.

As she lay on her side, I thought This is it. Ninety-five years on this earth and it will end in a matter of minutes.

Then I remembered the Living Will Mom and I had filled out. She’d answered yes when the social worker had asked her if she’d like her family to hold her hand, play music, and express their love while she was dying.

“Tom, put on Christmas music.” I pulled a chair close to her good ear and stroked her hand. “Mom, I love you,” I said over and over again as tears coursed down my cheeks.

I cried out to God. I’m not even sure what I said. Then Mom gasped. Her eyes, which were dull and unfocused flitted and stared at me.

I sobbed.

A few minutes later, she moved her arm.

The Hospice nurse arrived to check Mom over. We’re not sure what happened, but whatever it was, it was quick.

It’s hard to catch your breath after that.

It’s not that I’m afraid of my mother dying. I know she’s going to heaven. By God’s grace and His Son’s sacrificial death, heaven is my eternal destination, too.

It just made me think.

For a while, my mother was suspended between heaven and earth—and it all happened so fast.

The Bible says this, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14

So according to the Bible, we are all dead spiritually. It’s God who makes us alive in Christ.

We do need to do something. Cry out. Admit that we have trespassed or sinned against a holy God either in thought, word, or deed.

Romans 10:13 says, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

This Christmas season, I’m grateful that the Lord heard my cry for my mom and I get to hang out with her a little while longer.

But I’m eternally thankful that God heard my cry for salvation.

And just like that, I became spiritually alive.

How about you?

(The above picture was taken in 2008 with three generations…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Really Celebrating Christmas?

 

Today’s post isn’t for sissies. It’s not Christmasy. In fact, in may be offensive to you.

But some words need to be said or written.

In a post I received through my email, I learned of a man who is in prison for his faith in a place–well let’s just say, it’s not an American prison with weight-lifting or college classes. The man’s face is deformed from beatings.

What’s his offense?

Owning a Bible. That’s it.

What keeps him going? According to the ones who know him, only one thought keeps him going–seeing Jesus.

You see, people in this country know that once they believe in Jesus they make a choice between life and death.

Many in this country celebrate the baby in Bethlehem, but are they worshipping the King in heaven? Are you? Maybe I’m way off base, (to use a baseball term) but I suppose that many who buy gifts, attend church, and say prayers at Christmas, don’t really believe.

Because you see, believing in the baby isn’t enough. Understanding why He came and why you need Him is a must.

The Bible states in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Falling short means missing the mark. And friends, you need Jesus.

If there were a shooting contest with a target and we all had rifles, I’d miss the whole target, much less the very center. (In fact, if I ever do that, you should vacate the premises.) You may be an expert marksman and hit it dead center, so let me give you another analogy.

Let’s say we stood on the beach in Clearwater, Florida. The Gulf of Mexico spread out before us. We both decided to swim to Texas. You  may get farther than I could, but face it, neither of us would make it. Imagine sin on your back. Sin isn’t just not doing certain things, basically it’s living your life apart from God. Not worshiping or obeying, or caring. We all sin everyday. So that sin weight is weighing us down and we CANNOT achieve a relationship with God with a trace of sin in our lives.

We’re all disqualified.

That is where the baby in Bethlehem comes in. He came from heaven to be born to live a perfect life in our place. He died, and His blood paid the penalty of our sin.

But He didn’t stay dead. God raised Jesus from the dead to show His death was enough. Enough to take our sin. He shot the perfect shot, He swam all the way. His risen life proved it.

Because He is risen, I know I will rise.

My friend, hear this passage from I Corinthians 15: 54-57, “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable and this mortal will have put on immortality then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory, O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’”

So what now? You have a choice; believe on Him to be your Savior, or reject Him and face God’s wrath–and there is judgment coming, make no mistake.

It’s that simple.

So I have a question for you; Will you celebrate Christmas and Worship the King.

Your eternal destiny depends on it. Email me if you have questions. I’d love to chat.

Here’s a verse from one of Fanny Crosby’s most famous hymns:

“O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, to every believer the promise of God. The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.”

Here’s the chorus:

“Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice. O come to the Father through Jesus the Son, and give Him the Glory great things He hath done.

Give Him glory this Christmas beloved. And just like the saint in prison with the deformed face, you’ll see Jesus one day.

And it will be worth it.