25 December 2009


Another Christmas has come. A day of giving and receiving, a day of family and fun, a day of feasts, and a day celebration. But what are we celebrating? Luke tells us in Luke 2 that Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to be counted and while there, Mary delivered her son, Jesus. We are also told of Angels announcing his birth to the shepherds watching their flocks that night. In Matthew 2, we learn of wise men announcing his birth to King Herod.

But what does all of this mean to us. Jesus' birth was the fulfillment of the prophesy, foretold through out all of the Old Testament. He appears multiple times in the old testament, he wrestles with Jacob and is the fourth man in the fiery furnace with Daniel and his friends. His coming is told by many through the Old Testament, yet many do not believe. He proves that he is God multiple times from the time his ministry began at 30 until he was crucified at 33 for committing the crime of blasphemy. The man who was showing the world miracles, walking on water, healing the sick, and making blind men see, was sentenced to death for declaring he was God; the only one capable of doing the things he did.

Jesus was Man. Jesus was God. Jesus was a strong man, willing to die for his people. He shed his blood for us on a cross, and his last words were, "Forgive them father, they know not what they do." And then he died. Only to be resurrected 3 days later. This is the Man we celebrate the birth of. This is the Man who caused such a stir 2000 years ago. And this is the Man that promises us eternal life.

So take a moment today amidst all the celebrations to remember the Man, God, who was born in a barn and gave his life for your sins.

07 December 2009

The reason for the season...

What is the reason for the Christmas season? I know what you are thinking, "I know this one!", but do you really?

With all the commercialism of the season in America today, I ask again, What is the reason for the season?

Our first answer as Christians is "Jesus" of course. But actions speak louder than words, and do we really show that we believe that Jesus is the reason for this season?

Let's break it down a bit.

Jesus was born on Christmas! Actually he probably wasn't, the date that we celebrate it is closer to the Celtic celebration of Winter Solstice than the likely birthday of Jesus. But yes, we use it as a celebration of the birth of Christ, so we'll let this one slide. Jesus was born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago, bringing in a new age for this world. His teachings fill the New Testament and we are shown he is the only way to heaven, so yes, celebrate his birthday.

How do we celebrate?

We have cone shaped trees, covered with finery and surrounded by gifts. We have stockings hung by the chimney and we tell our children about a jolly fat man in red who rides a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer and delivers presents to all the good children of the world...and coal to the bad. He drinks out milk and eats the cookies that the children leave on the mantle for him. We wake up on the morning of the 25th of December and tear into those gifts, setting them aside to see what else is under the tree for us. Then we gather around the table, often with our extended families and have a feast with ham and turkey, mashed potatoes and fruit salad. And lets not forget the fruitcake and the pies...oh...I love the pies.
Where is Jesus in this?

And how do we prepare?

We pull those decorations out of the closets, attics, and garage. We begrudgingly put them up. Bright lights, tinsel, wreaths and the tree decorate our homes. We put a star or angel on the top of the tree. We light up the roofs of our home and show off to the world that we were gutsy enough to climb along the edge of our roof in freezing cold weather just to hang up some lights. After the decorating...the shopping. We go out to the malls and fight through crowds to buy things that are often unwanted and almost always overpriced, just so we can feel better about giving something. Or we say we don't have enough to exchange large gifts while spending tons on ourselves. Or in those cases where we do spend the money and pay attention and get the things that our loved ones want, we pay someone else to wrap them and then we shove them under the tree...
Where is Jesus in this?

I ask again, what is the reason for the season? If you look at how we spend it, I would say that it is all about getting presents and showing off our homes. Sure we go to Christmas Eve service at church and we spend time with family, but a lot of my Christmas's have had a lot of negative energy as tensions ran high and stress is pushed to the limits. How many of us can look at past Christmases and remember a fight between loved ones? I can count a few. I can even remember being involved in a few.

So how do we bring Jesus into this season? How do we put Christ back in Christmas? How do we show others that it is not "Happy Holidays" to be politically correct, it is "Merry Christmas" to show our love of our Lord?

I heard a story a few weeks ago about a little girl that was turning 7. She was having a birthday party at a bowling alley here in Austin and was telling her friends not to bring her presents, but to bring new pajamas for foster children. You see, she had heard about foster kids and the fact that they often are taken out of thier homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They are left without clothes to sleep in. This little girl wanted money for her birthday to be spent giving gifts to these children going through a violent upheaval of their lives. She wanted them to know that someone did care. And she gave up her presents to do it. Was this little girl a Christian? I don't know, but her actions were definitely Christ-like. She sacrificed of herself to help others, others that she might never meet and would most certainly never receive thanks from. I do think she is a Christian, as I heard about this story on a Christian radio station. You know why the story was shared, so that the Church could help this little girl. Not a church, but Christ's Church, you and me. That little girl surely gathered more PJs than she could have ever imagined. That little girl has brought smiles to the faces of a lot of little kids, and her gift, instead of being toys, was knowing that she had helped other kids in their times of need. I'm sure she is smiling herself now too.

Why tell us this story you ask? Because, while this wasn't a Christmas party, it was during the season. It opens an opportunity for us as Christians to show the Christmas spirit. But it also shows us ways that we can share the joy that Christ has given us. Am I telling you to not give your family wish lists for Christmas? No. What I'm saying is this, think about how you can show others His love through your actions. Can you give a toy to some Marines to distribute to needy families? Sure. Can you take an angel from the tree at the mall and buy a few things from it for some unknown child? Yeah. But can you help out at a soup kitchen and share a few of your hours with a homeless person or family? Can you help with Meals on Wheels or another mobile pantry? Will you willingly give of yourself to show His love to others this season? I know I'm going to try, hold me to it. I ask you to do the same. Set aside the earthly trappings and share the gifts He has given to you and show someone you've never seen before, and may never see again, His love. You may not see a breakthrough for Christ in them, but won't you have made one in yourself. And might you have planted a seed that will spread from that one person to others in their community.

A little scripture to end today, in John 15:8, Jesus tells us, "My Father is honored by this, that you bear much fruit and show that you are my disciples." Celebrate the reason for the season by doing as He taught, not by doing what the commercial establishments and politically correct crowd tell you to.

03 December 2009

It's been a while

It's been a few days longer than I would like since I last posted, but I've had a lot going on. I'll make another post in a few days..I'm already working on it, but it's taking alot of thought. So be patient on this one.