Thursday, December 20, 2012

Here Comes Santa Claus

When my children were young, every year on Christmas Eve we left cookies and milk out for Santa by the fireplace. One year we also left carrots for the reindeer. My children were beginning to question the existence of Santa Claus, so that year we decided to feed the reindeer. After the kids went to sleep, we ate the cookies and removed the milk. We got rid of most of the carrots; however, we took a couple and broke them up and threw them up on the roof.
This particular year my children received new bicycles from Santa Claus. On Christmas morning after they had opened their gifts, they got dressed and went out to ride their new bikes up the driveway and down the sidewalk in front of the house as we knew they would. A few minutes later they came running in the house shouting, “There are carrots on the roof. The reindeer dropped carrots on the roof.” It didn’t take a lot to reaffirm their belief in the existence of Santa Claus.
As adults we know that Santa Claus is not a real person. He is the product of a legend passed down over the years and transformed into what our children and grandchildren now believe. It’s a nice tradition that both I and my children and now my grandchildren enjoy every year.
Traditions are important, but it is more important that we don’t lose sight of the truth of Christmas. As we get older, we no longer believe in Santa; but the truth of Christmas is eternal.
I believe in the truth of Christmas. Jesus Christ was born. He lived, he died, he rose again, and now he sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. I believe. Do you believe? One more question. Have you confessed and made Him your Lord?
Believe in the magic of Christmas; but more importantly, believe in the truth of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

This was my White Christmas a couple of years ago. It doesn’t happen very often in Texas; and when it does, it doesn’t last very long. I love snow, as long as I don’t have to drive in it.
                The beauty of the snow and the reflection of moonlight off of the white snow at night is beautiful. It’s clean, radiant, pure. While you may not always be guaranteed snow at Christmas, you can be guaranteed another kind of white Christmas this year and every year.
Our lives are washed whiter than snow through our acknowledgement of God and His Word. First we acknowledge our sin (Rom 3:23). Second we acknowledge the payment for our sin is death and separation from God (Rom 6:23). Third we acknowledge that Jesus died to make the payment for us by dying in our place (Rom 5:8). Fourth we acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord (Rom 10:9-10). He washes us white as snow.
Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
Jesus was born to give His life for us. His life showed us perfect love, and then He showed the greatest love of all by dying on a cross to pay the price for our sins. As we celebrate His birth, we can know that it was the beginning of the fulfillment of our dream for a truly white Christmas.
Merry Christmas! May yours be white!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Silver Bells

                I love Christmas time. Just like the song says, in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas. The smell of Christmas trees and greenery, the sight of decorations and lights, the sound of bells and carols, the taste of chocolate fudge and banana bread, and the feeling of wonder are all part of this season. Everywhere you look, you can find Christmas. Even stoplights blink bright red and green. It’s Christmas time in the city and everywhere.
                When I think of silver bells ringing at Christmas, I think of angels singing. Although scripture doesn’t actually say the angels sang at the birth of Christ, it does say they praised God. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:13-14).
                The angels praised God and called the shepherds to worship Him also. Music is a large part of worship in our churches, and bell choirs have performed melodies for Christmas for years. Bells have also rung in the steeples of churches in years past calling others to worship.
                I don’t hear bells at church any more, but other things call me to worship. Christmas carols call me to worship. Scripture telling of the birth of Jesus calls me to worship. Counting my blessings calls me to worship. Helping others in need calls me to worship. Prayer calls me to worship.
What calls you to worship? Remember to worship our Savior, and remember Silver Bells reminding us that soon it will be Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happy Holidays

Which Holiday?


          I have decided to make it a point to tell someone Merry Christmas every day from now through Christmas. My intention is to be friendly, encouraging, and bring to their attention what we celebrate this time of year. I have to be careful, though, not to get legalistic. When someone says Happy Holidays, my response can simply be Merry Christmas. What I really want is to ask, “which holiday, what are you happy about?”
Let’s get specific. Tell me Merry Christmas or tell me Happy Hanukkah, but don’t degrade the time of year by simply making it a holiday for nothing but fun. Pick a holiday to celebrate and be committed. Let’s have fun and be happy and merry for a reason. The reason for this season is Jesus’ birth. If you are celebrating Hanukkah, you are remembering God’s faithfulness in the miracle of the Menorah burning for eight days with only one day’s supply of oil during the rededication of the temple.
                So far this year when I have said Merry Christmas, others have responded, “you too”, “thank you”, “Merry Christmas”, and a couple have given me blank stares or totally ignored me. That’s okay. I just moved on. Remember which holiday you are celebrating, and let others know.
Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Most Wondeful Time of the Year

Every year at work we have a contest either by department or individually for best Christmas decorating. This year the contest is individual, and the theme is Christmas words or phrases. I chose the phrase which is the name of a song, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. These are pictures of my office partly decorated. I will finish it next week. 
Christmas is my favorite holiday, and this is my favorite time of year. I love the decorations and cool weather, although Texas doesn’t always cooperate in the weather department. Everything Christmas encompasses is a celebration, and to me, all of this is for Jesus. It’s the biggest party of the year – every year.
If you were to throw the biggest party you could imagine for someone you loved, what would you include? What about decorations, lots of food, lots of gifts, lots of people, joyful music, a cake, a tree, candles, bells, ribbons, bows, tinsel, and lights? If someone threw this type of party for you, how honored would you feel? I believe Jesus smiles when we celebrate His birth as long as all of the partying is for His glory and we remember why this is the most wonderful time of the year.
My prayer for you this time of year is that you would know Christ and experience the wonder of Christmas.