Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Is Christmas always Perfect?

Is Christmas always perfect?

Many of us struggle to create a perfect Christmas. We attempt to choose the perfect tree—use treasured ornaments—make food from traditional family recipes, and decorate our homes with lights and greens. But, alas, as hard as we try, it is never quite perfect.
Like the year I miscarried our baby on Christmas Eve day, the year my brother died early in December and my Mom was in the hospital trying to recover from pancreatic cancer surgery. Then there was the year my sister had liver cancer and we all got together for the last time. Not too long after that, my brother-in-law died a few days before Christmas, and other loved ones were also missing from the Christmas table.
This year is no different as my friend’s husband died today, several others from my church family, and a couple of friends back home have also died during the past couple of weeks. My ninety-six year old mother-in-law had a stroke last week and is now in Hospice care. She is not expected to live very much longer.
I can’t think of many Christmases which were perfect, and certainly not the first one. Imagine having to travel about eighty miles on a donkey and walking when you are due to have a baby. When you get to where you are going, there are no inns available and your time has come for the child to be born. Finally, your husband finds a stable where you have your child on a pile of hay with no comforts of home. Your child doesn’t even have a bed. So, you throw cloths on some hay in a manger and put Him there.
The animals would be milling about, and it no doubt stinks and it was probably cold. This certainly was not a perfect day for Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Mary knew Jesus was sent from God, and would have wished for better circumstances in which to give birth.
But the greatest thing was that God was there! And an angel choir came and announced the birth to some lowly shepherds who glorified and praised God which was the perfect response.
Through some very painful years, God has taught me that Christmas is not about me or my circumstances. Christmas is “Joy to the world the Lord has come.” And, that’s why Christmas is always perfect no matter what.

Prayer: Thank you God for sending your Gift of Jesus to save us from our sins. Amen

Advertisements

Author of Peace

1 Corinthians 14:33 – “God is not the author of confusion but of peace…”

We know that there is much chaos in our world at present.  God is not the author of this chaos. When we listen to the news each day, it is not usually about peace. Oh, we do see some peaceful demonstrations, but we also see how that may end.  The hatred and violence which are becoming common place is not a trait with which we are born and it is not authored by God. It is a learned behavior. We choose this behavior. We choose what to believe, and what patterns to follow. We choose what values to teach our children. Children learn what they see and hear.

There is an old proverb – “Birds of the feather flock together.” The “birds” we associate with and listen to can either help bring peace or chaos in our lives and to our Nation.

Who will we follow? Will we be a part of the solution to our world’s problems, or will we help create more? We can either spread discord or peace.

What kind of world do we want for our children and grandchildren? Sharing the love of Jesus is the way to bring peace. I choose peace. I hope you will too.

The Light of Christmas

 

It was two weeks before Christmas and as usual, I was running behind. Work had been a hassle with a new accounting program being installed and I stayed late most every night. I didn’t have my cookies baked, or presents wrapped and the house was bare of any Christmas decorations.

Then, the snow began. It snowed day and night for three days. It piled up to over thirty inches. The snow weighed heavily on the electric lines, and down they came in numerous places—s o many places, as a matter of fact, that the power company couldn’t keep up. And, of course, out went our lights, and those of thousands of customers.

I found some flashlights, candles, oil lamps and our camping lanterns. Since I had no way of knowing how long the power would be out, I decided I would have to decorate the tree. I hung the ornaments and strung the useless lights on the branches. Somehow, it just wasn’t the same without the lights. I didn’t have the magically moment of plugging in the lights to say, “Wow!”

I must admit, I was feeling a bit out of sorts, and sorry for myself as I shopped for food I could heat on our Coleman camping stove. Oh, yes, I did go out and buy a little two-burner propane stove. I couldn’t get along without water for my tea. It was in that store that I came across a group of Amish women shopping and chatting happily for the opportunity to be in town. It occurred to me that they lived like this all the time. The lack of electric lights didn’t seem to affect their joy. Just what was my joy of the Christmas season based on anyway?

After a week of “chestnuts roasting by an open fire,” well not really, but we did burn logs in the fireplace for heat, tried to read by oil lamps, and we listened to a battery-operated radio, the electricity finally was repaired.  I geared up to full-speed ahead and finished my Christmas baking and gift wrapping. I had my “Wow” moment of finally turning on the Christmas tree lights.

I thought about how many lights we burn at Christmas—on the tree, stars, manger scenes, candles, advent wreaths on the outside of our homes on our lawns and bushes, all representing the Light of the world.

As I reflected on the importance of light in our lives, my thoughts turned to the Light who came into the world over 2000 years-ago. The Light sent from God to be the Savior of the world.

“But God, who commanded the Light to shine out of darkness, hath shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 KJV

Without this Light, we have no reason to celebrate Christmas. Jesus truly is the “Reason for the Season.” May our hearts be filled with the Light of Christ this Christmas.

 

© Janet R. Sady 2011

 

 

What the World Needs Most

The song “What the world needs now” was sung in 1965 by Jackie Deshannon.  The lyrics continue: “is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”  It’s not a Christian song, but it certainly has a message which the Bible teaches over and over again. If you look up the word love in the back of the scriptures you find many commands to love. When Jesus was asked which of the commandments were the most important, He said to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” was the first and the second was to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  The first one isn’t that hard as we know God loved us so much that “He sent His only begotten Son that we might have eternal life.” But that second one is very difficult. What if you have a neighbor, co-worker, or relative who is difficult, rude, and ignorant? That puts a whole new light on this loving the neighbor thing doesn’t it? The Lord has been dealing with me this week about this very thing. It is easy to love someone who treats you good and loves you back, but the Bible says that “even the heathen do this.” We are to be different, We are to manifest the love of Christ. I believe Christ knew this would be difficult, but He gave us examples during his ministry. The most important example was on the cross when he forgave those who had nailed Him up there. “Father forgive them. For they know not what they do.” They were ignorant of what they were doing to the very Son of God. Sometimes people we deal with are ignorant as well. Can we show the love of Christ to those around us even if they treat us badly? It is a lesson in Christian maturity which I have not yet reached. I admit that I need to allow Christ to work in me to allow this to happen. What about you?

Lord, forgive me for not being your witness in this lost and dying world. Help me to allow your Spirit to teach me Your way of love and forgiveness. Amen

Why Worry?

In a sermon I heard on the radio yesterday, the speaker said, “Those who worry or are anxious have little faith.”
As I read my morning devotions from several different books, I realized that a couple of them were on the same topic of being anxious. They used the scriptures from Matthew 6:25-34. When I see the same theme in several of the readings, I feel God is attempting to get my attention.
I know I’m guilty of being anxious about things over which I have no control. I start some of my sentences with, “I’m afraid.” I mean, not that I’m literally terrified, but concerned or worried.
I recall Jesus speaking to Peter and his disciples on occasions where he used the expression, “Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt me – or why are you afraid?” He was right there with them, but they still lacked trust.
Perhaps the answer is that instead of talking about the problem or situation and expressing worry, we should be praying as the scripture says in Philippians 4:6-7 NIV – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of
God which passes all understanding will guide your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (The verse I claim as my life verse.)
God brought a chorus to my mind as I was writing this, which I sang as a child in church. It was written by John W. Peterson, and one of the lines to song says: “Why worry when you can pray? Trust Jesus; He is the way.” Yes, we can trust Him for all our needs.

Lord, thank you for hearing me. Please forgive me for doubting—for being overly anxious. Increase my faith and trust as I come bringing all my concerns to you. Amen

“I am the reason for the season!”

          The pastor made this profound statement during his sermon: “Jesus is not the reason for the season.”

          People in the congregation looked shocked. What was he saying: We all know that “Christ”mas is the celebration of the birth of the Christ child—the Messiah.

          The point he attempted to make is that it was because of the sin of mankind that God promised to send a Savior to reconcile His people back to Himself. Since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, we are all under the curse of sin.

          It wasn’t something Christ needed to do for Himself. He came to die for me and for the sin of the whole world.

          Christmas is indeed a special time to remember that Christ came to earth to take on His human form—to live among men. He set the standard of how He wants us to live and love.

          This Christmas, may His love manifest itself in our hearts and shine forth in thankfulness for the greatest gift of all—salvation through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, I am the reason this season was necessary.

Luke 2:10-11: “And the angel said unto them, fear not for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior Who is Christ the Lord.”

The Barren Tree

“In this is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:8 KJV

Stark grey branches of the pecan tree stand out against the winter sky giving no hint of its species. Unless you are familiar with the genus of trees, you wouldn’t know that it was supposed to bear delicious pecan nuts.

In the spring, the pecan tree will once again send out leaves and flower buds which will begin a new the process of bearing its fruit (or nuts in this case).

The tree reminds me of my Christian life—barren at times. Could anyone tell that Christ lives in my heart? Do I bear any of the fruits of His Spirit such as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, or generosity? We have opportunity to manifest our faith in action as we minister to those around us.

Perhaps, like the barren tree, we too can come out of the winter of our lives with the help of God’s Spirit and grow the fruit of his love.

Prayer: Father, help me to allow you to work in my life that I may bring forth fruit fit for your kingdom. Amen