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Are you satisfied with just one day of Christmas?

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Am I the only one that thinks we’re getting ripped off here?

December 25th. Christmas Day.Here for just 24 hours then gone until next year.

Right this moment the TV news is touting yet another heartwarming story about someone reaching out to someone else just in the nick of time to avert a disaster of some sort. I love that.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been hearing these kinds of stories regularly on the evening news. People from all walks of life start performing incredible deeds of kindness and generosity.

Some good news is indeed welcomed right now,especially given that we have just survived an incredibly cold,mean,and heartless national election. Yeah,we could use some good news for a change!

What I have never understood however is why these types of things only seem to happen at Christmas time? Maybe they do happen all the time,but you sure don’t hear about them like you do at Christmas.

Or at least it seems that way.

Some people call it the magic of Christmas. Others say that Christmas just makes them feel good. Then you have those that declare that its the spirit of Christmas.

Whatever you call it,what I want to know is where is it the rest of the year? Why can’t we have that Christmas feeling all the time? And just where does the spirit of Christmas go after December 25th?

Why don’t we give extraordinary tips at the restaurant every day to help out that single mom whose waiting on tables to help make ends meet? Surely they can use the help throughout the year.

Why is it that Christmas is the only time of the year when you hear about the “secret santa’s” paying off someone’s layaway at Walmart? Is Christmas the only time of the year when people use layaway?

Just yesterday I saw where hundreds of volunteers showed up to put together Christmas dinners for the homeless and needy in this area. What is it about Christmas that makes people do what they would not do in July?

Could it be that Christmas is the one time of the year when we actually open the door to our hearts so that we can then see the needs of others? If so…why? Why not every day?

Could it possibly be that at this one time of the year Jesus becomes real to us? To all of us?

Why do we wait all year to show a little kindness and compassion to others? Surely those wonderful traits are needed throughout the entire year,aren’t they?

In this cold,callous world showing acts of kindness and mercy are often viewed as a type of weakness.After all,only the strong survive,right? Is that why we refrain from doing them at other times?

Whatever the reason for the sudden outpouring of love and kindness,don’t you wonder why it can’t be this way all the time? Could it? Can it? Do we dare hope that it could be?

Here is what I think. I think it starts with one person. That could be you. Or it could be me. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that we open our eyes to the needs of others. That we allow ourselves to feel. To care.

What matters is that we recognize that we are so blessed to have so many good things,and that for the grace of God any one of us could be that person in need of some Christmas love.

Frankly,I’m not satisfied with one day of Christmas. Not when I know how easy it would be to keep the true meaning of Christmas going day after day.

Pipe dream you say? Pie in the sky? Maybe it is. But I’ve always heard that if you’re going to dream,dream big.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Ron

 

 

 

 

 

Lonely Yes,but Never Alone

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Holidays have a tendency to bring out a myriad of emotions in all of us. When you really think about it, Christmas seems to tug at our emotions more than any other holiday.

Emotions run the gamut don’t they? From sheer joy and excitement as anticipation of the big day grows more intense every day, to the lowest of lows as the realization sinks in that another Christmas must be endured without a precious loved one there to share in the day.

Watching the news at this time of year brings to the forefront a different kind of emotion: DESPERATION. Desperation because once again there isn’t money enough to buy even one gift for the children. Desperation because once again excuses must be invented in order to sooth the broken hearts of the disappointed. Desperation that escalates into despair, so much so that parents will stop at nothing in order to avoid having to look into the eyes of their children who will not be receiving a present at Christmas. Stealing, and much worse, are all part and parcel as seemingly anything goes in order to avoid the inevitable.

As horrible as desperation and despair can be at Christmas, I have found that there is another emotion even more horrific, even more gut wrenching to have to endure, and that is LONELINESS.

What a powerful emotion loneliness is. At times it can reach the point of complete debilitation, rendering a person to the point where they feel worthless, unlovable, even forgotten by God Himself.

As a Christian we have a promise that we will never be alone. The writer of Hebrews made this very clear when he said:

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Heb 13:5 NKJV

But not everyone has this promise, because not everyone knows the Promise Giver.

And if I’m to be completely honest, many who do know the Promise Giver suffer the pain of Loneliness. Many of God’s children struggle with abandonment, betrayal, and a broken heart. Some would say how can this be? I thought God took away all of the negative things!

Living in this world we are not immune to these emotions. We are not exempt from hurt and pain. Sometimes I wonder if we don’t struggle with them as much as those who do not know Christ!

Again, when we turn to scripture we find that we are not alone in our struggles:

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 2Co 4:8-9 NKJV

In the midst of it all, when the weight of loneliness and despair is crushing us, God’s word declares with the sound of a trumpet: we are not alone! We have not been forsaken! We will not be destroyed! Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!

This Christmas, if you find yourself struggling to keep your head above water, I urge you to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. The all time, undefeated Champion of love and mercy will make a way where there seems to be no way. He will be your oasis in the midst of your dry, barren desert of loneliness and despair.

Beloved, it isn’t a pretty package that will strengthen you for the journey. It is the peace that passes all understanding. It is Jesus. The Christmas Gift for the ages.

Remember, we are often lonely. The holidays can bring those emotions to the surface.

But we are never alone.

Be blessed!

Ron

What I Think About at Christmas

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Funny how time changes our perspective,isn’t it?

Like many of you, I can remember when I thought that Christmas was all about what was under the tree. Not being raised in a

christmas-tree-pics-0101

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home that was particularly religious…OK let me restate that. Being raised in a home where the only time God and Jesus were mentioned was in a curse,it never occurred to me that there was another “reason for the season”.

Oh sure, I participated in the obligatory school plays,sang Silent Night and Up On The Housetop,and somewhere I had heard about a babe in a manger and all of that,but I just figured that was all part of it.

My mothers family being Italian meant I was exposed to Aunts and Uncles who were Catholic,but there was no mention of that in our own home.My dad would have none of it.When I would visit their homes I would see the Crucifix and other religious items but none of it made any sense to me.I mean,why have a Bible written in Latin when you can’t even read it!

Things went from bad to worse when I was twelve years old when right before Christmas my father died.That first Christmas was one of grief and misery that I could not wait to be over.If I’m being honest,the next several weren’t so hot either.

Through the years I went through the motions,the motions of the rest of the world that focused only on what was under that tree.Some years I got what I had asked for,some years I did not and that was OK.After all,it’s all just part of the deal right?

Everything changed for me when as a young man of 20 I was introduced to Jesus. Wow,that was a long time ago!As I developed in this new faith I learned so much about what Christmas is really all about.I learned that there really was a babe in a manger,there really were wise men,and most of all that there really was a God in charge of it all.

In the church I listened to many debates and arguments from the religious crowd about whether or not Jesus actually did arrive on December 25th,only to figure out that the date didn’t matter at all! What mattered most was that He had come! Wouldn’t make a bit of difference to me if we celebrated Christmas in July!

Sometimes it seems to me that the church should be the biggest fan of Christmas,and I don’t mean just on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.Don’t we who have met this promised King have the most to be thankful for? Then why don’t we act like it the other 364 days of the year?

For Christians,shouldn’t every day be a celebration of Christmas?

Yes,my perspective has done a 180 since I was a boy.Oh,don’t get me wrong.I still love to be surprised on Christmas morning just like I did so long ago.I mean,who doesn’t like a new fishing lure once in a while(hint hint)?

Even though it isn’t fashionable and certainly not popular these days,I realize that Christmas is all about honoring the King that arrived on the scene over 2000 years ago.Presents are optional,of course.

But what isn’t optional,at least for me and my family,is that we recognize the Gift that was so graciously given to each of us,unworthy though we were.

infant Jesus

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This Christmas,with it’s rushing,stress, and hurry of the season my prayer is that you will take a few moments to reflect upon your own unique perspective.

How far have you come in your journey to comprehend the Wonder of Wonders?

How have you changed,or more importantly…how has He changed you?

Be blessed this Christmas season!

Ron