Skip to main content

Celebrate Christmas

I want to encourage each of you today to celebrate Christmas. And to try and jettison any baggage that the 'Holiday' season is putting on you. Try and think about how you can put your focus on Jesus, and how you can encourage others to do the same.

Now, it's going to be hard. Most of us, down in, want to keep the people around us happy. Since we do, we end up going crazy every year looking for perfect gifts, shopping, traveling every weekend, baking, cooking, generally going nuts lest we upset someone and ruin their Christmas. We don't think about what we're doing to ourselves, and chalk it up to 'not being selfish at Christmas.'

You are not being selfish to realize that Christmas is not about you, your family, Santa, or presents. It's about celebrating the Lord Jesus Christ. We've attached so much other things to that celebration, it's like we're having a birthday party, but insisting that everyone present get gifts, be made happy, satisfied, everyone but the One who the party is for. Would you want someone to make your birthday all about themselves? No, but we do it every year at Christmas.

And to those of you who think Christmas can be ruined: If you allow someone the power to ruin your celebration of Christ, your worship of the One who died for you, your relationship with Him needs some fixing. If someone tells you that you are ruining their Christmas: point them to the manger, the cross, and the empty tomb, and lovingly remind them that Christmas will only be ruined by ignoring who Christ is.

I will celebrate, I will go to the parade, some parties, I will give and receive gifts, because these activities are not bad in themselves, but they are no substitute for reflecting on Christ this year. Make a habit of taking 5 extra minutes to focus on Christ for the next 25 days. Then keep that habit.

Moving toward the Horizon,

And for those of you who want to cringe---are you spending more time shopping, planning gifts, parties, etc...are you spending more time decorating and sending cards than you are telling people about Jesus? Are you someone who could make it to shop at 5 AM the day after Thanksgiving, but is late to church and Sunday school? Will you travel 100s of miles to shop, give up a whole day or weekend, but can't be inconvenienced to make it to church on Sunday nights or Saturday activities? That's not a statement meant to induce guilt...but if it brings some conviction, how will you change?


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.

First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…