The naval base shooting and the UPS driver abducted by jewelry store thieves made national headlines in the past couple of days. I’m not ignoring these stories; they are all over the news and if you are interested in following them you probably already are. I may someday comment on the impeachment proceedings but for the time being what I like to do is draw attention to things you might otherwise miss or to those bright spots that are worth dwelling on even if you’ve already seen them. I want to set the tone for all of us to enjoy the weekend. I grew up watching cartoons on Saturday morning and believe that Saturdays are something special, a break from daily routine even if there is work to be done. If you enjoy a little light reading, and maybe cracking a smile, join us right here each week. Invite a friend, we’ll all go.
Limited Time Only – No paid product endorsement, I tried this and liked it. Coca-cola calls it a “hint of cinnamon” but, well, some people can’t take a hint. I think it hits the cinnamon pretty hard but again, I like it. And if you happen to have vanilla ice cream and wonder what a Cinnamon Coke float would taste like, I highly recommend going for that as well. We enjoyed this flavor better than Winter Spiced Cranberry Sprite or even cranberry ginger ale from Canada Dry. Hopefully this comes back next year. Hey, it’s no dumber than pumpkin spice. Continue reading →
There is no command in the New Testament to celebrate Christmas. Jesus is not disappointed over losing “his day” to Santa Claus or commercialism or anything else. He never asked for a day but rather we assigned him one. What Jesus wants is a place in your heart not a date on your calendar. He wants to bring each of us into a personal relationship with a loving God. He tells us to abide in him as he abides in the Father.
Suing the local government over the right to put up a nativity scene doesn’t “keep Christ in Christmas.” The secular society never had Christ to begin with so there’s no keeping him there. We as believers must keep Christ in our hearts, in our homes and in our church. And we must do so year round not just when Santa is at the mall. That’s not to say we can’t celebrate Christmas. We put up a tree in our home (after Thanksgiving), hang stockings, watch Rudolph on tv and put out milk and cookies for Santa. We also light the candles on the wreath as we keep the weeks of Advent. I can’t do anything Hallmark Channel showing Christmas movies in October but I have a great deal of control over what verses we read, hymns we sing and prayers said during our family devotions.
Don’t be surprised or offended that the world is not interested in Jesus. The manger reminds us that he came into the world. The cross reminds us that, for the most part, the world rejected him. Do good deeds, share good news. Badgering unbelievers with Christian images isn’t going to do anything for them. Show them Christ. Be salt and light. And like I said, that continues into January and beyond. If your Christianity can be stored in a box in the attic, maybe it’s time to revisit the Gospel.
Yesterday the weekly Happy Monday post invited everyone to begin celebrating Christmas. Just a couple of thoughts, I will try not to labor the issue.
1) Happy Monday is meant to be encouraging, uplifting and often times funny. Sometimes funny that teaches a lesson in the subtext, sometimes funny because smiling and laughing are good for us. Take everything with a grain of salt. Continue reading →
I can’t believe plain red cups are the biggest trending story in social media this week but like I’ve said before no news is good news. So let me put on my Christian blogger hat and do the dance.
Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave, you probably recognize former pastor Joshua Feuerstein from his viral video. He infamously pranked Starbucks into selling him a $4 cup of coffee. The evangelist is outraged over Starbucks “war on Christmas” that produced this year’s plain red holiday cup. The lack of snowflakes, doves and trees led Feuerstein to declare that Starbucks hates Jesus. The video describing the prank – that’s a screenshot on the left, no I’m not linking to it – has been viewed 14.5 million times since last Thursday. He told the barista his name was Merry Christmas so they would have to write that on his cup. He’s been drinking the Charlie Sheen Kool-Aid and considers this “winning.” Like I say, he tricked them into selling him coffee. They never saw it coming. Continue reading →
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
One of the many titles the Son is known by is Prince of Peace, peace being the focus of the fourth Sunday of Advent. Isaiah 9:7 specifically says Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end and it goes to describe him sitting on the throne of David. Part of the Isaiah prophesy has been fulfilled in the first Advent of Jesus Christ; the child was born, the son was given. He was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) to a virgin mother (Isaiah 7:14). But he has not yet sat on the throne of David, and during his earthly ministry he even said “I have not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) There is prophecy yet to be fulfilled in the second appearing (advent) of Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of Lords. Continue reading →
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
One of my favorite texts during the Advent season is the Magnificat, and you will see it below. The Second Sunday of Advent is Faith, and lighting the Bethlehem Candle reminds us of the faith required of Joseph and Mary to make the journey. Matthew 1 describes Joesph’s encounter with an angel of the Lord, Luke 1 the same for Mary. In faith they acted according the to the angel’s words and so fulfilled many prophesies.
The first chapter of Luke also records Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, who is carrying the child we will come to know as John the Baptist. The Holy Spirit fills Elizabeth as Mary enters the house, and she declares Mary blessed above all women. Mary’s response is now well known as the Magnificat: Continue reading →
The Second Sunday of Advent is about Faith, and we light the Bethlehem candle. Matthew 1 describes the encounter Joseph had with the angel Gabrielle, who told him that Mary’s child was of God. In faith Joseph took Mary as his wife. Luke 1 tells how the same angel spoke to Mary, explaining that the Holy Spirit would come up on her and that the child she would carry would be the Son of God. In faith Joseph and Mary make the journey to Bethlehem, believing God and waiting for the Promise. Continue reading →
UPDATE: There are five Sundays in December this year, four of them before Christmas. Sunday, December 2nd will be the first Sunday of Advent.
Reposted from November 27, 2011
Advent is a season of waiting and preparation for the nativity of Jesus Christ. I have been pleased to see many friends doing the “30 days of Thanksgiving” thing on Facebook. I’m more encouraged by 30 days of Thanksgiving than by 60 or even 90 days of Christmas. If you watch some classic movies, from say the 40’s or 50’s, you’ll see Dad bringing home a tree on Christmas Eve! The family decorates the tree, hang their stockings, then celebrate Christmas the very next day. Part of the beauty of Christmas is waiting for it to arrive. Continue reading →
Christians do not agree about the celebration of Halloween. There is some dispute over Christmas. Let’s embrace Thanksgiving for all its worth.
There is an argument to be made for the Christian roots of Halloween. The very name is created from the words Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints Day. But let’s be honest, unless you’re Roman Catholic most American do not celebrate All Saints (or even know what it is). Would you celebrate Christmas Eve if you didn’t believe in Christmas? Halloween may also have roots in paganism, and is certainly associated today with the occult and many “non-Christian” activities as well. Continue reading →