Monthly Archives: December 2011
Throughout the Christmas season, there was one non-Christmas song that stayed in my mind: Chris Tomlin’s “Jesus Messiah.” We sang it at church; we used it at a small group party alongside the carols; my husband and I sang it together around the house.
The version I share here includes some of Tomlin’s thoughts on the song. Although it isn’t a Christmas song, it speaks to what Christmas means.
“On the night Jesus was born, shepherds were watching their sheep. Suddenly, an angel stood before them, and God’s light shined all around. The angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring joyful news to all people.
Today, in the town of Bethlehem, a Savior has been born! He is lying in a manger.’ ”
–The Beginner’s Bible
One of my favorite Christmas memories is of something that took place almost two decades ago, when our older son was a preschooler. He was a rough-and-tumble boy with big brown eyes and a jumble of blond curls. He was usually happy, and was curious about a lot of things. (I learned more about dinosaurs and types of trucks during that time than I thought possible!)
One of the things he loved was Christmas. We made cards and crafts together. We baked cookies. He liked to wrap gifts. They didn’t always look terribly polished, but they definitely looked like they were wrapped with love.
And he loved the Nativity story. We read it from several different versions and books, and sometimes he “read” it to his stuffed animals or the cat.
It was important to us that our children not see God as far away and unreachable; one expression of this was that we had a sturdy Nativity set, one that could withstand little hands.
As the Christmas season wore on that year, more and more animals made an appearance at our manger. There were the cows and sheep, horses and goats from his farm set.
Are you ready for Christmas? Or are you rushing around, trying to finish the shopping, the wrapping, the decorating, the baking? Perhaps what you need
is a …
Today’s video break reminds us that Christmas is a celebration. Sit back and enjoy:
And, as a bonus, a Hanukkah favorite by the Maccabeats.
Since it’s almost Christmas I am, naturally, focusing on the Book of Numbers.
As I continue my journey of listening through the Old Testament, I’m reminded of one of the advantages of reading versus listening.
There are several, of course: You can more readily review when reading. You can stop to look up a word, or find your place on a map, or to see what someone else has to say abut a passage, or compare it with another translation.
However, there’s one other benefit to reading that I hadn’t considered: Skimming.
Do you remember what it’s like to be a child at Christmas?
The letters to Santa, filled with childish wishes; the carols that make up the sound of the season; the Christmas trees; the cookies; the school concerts and parties; the excitement of creating gifts for the family; the solemnity of the Christmas Eve service; the absolute certainty that you could not possibly fall asleep on Christmas Eve …
And the hopes and dreams of what might be under the tree on Christmas morning!
It isn’t just children who dream at Christmas. Like Israel, yearning for a Messiah; like the shepherds who raced to see what the angels proclaimed; like the magi who followed a star to embrace a King; so do we long for the promise of Christmas.
For One who can heal,
For One who can restore,
For One who can forgive,
For One who can transform.
What is the promise of Christmas?
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
For you … this day … a Savior!
Let your heart yearn for Him … race after Him … embrace Him. That’s how we can truly celebrate Christmas.
In America, it’s common to view Christmas in one of two ways: It’s either completely given over to materialism, or it’s sugary sweet. On one hand, we have the grasping, Black Friday, grab-it-while-you-can mentality that views things as the key to happiness. On the other, there is the sentimental message that proclaims that anything is possible at Christmas, and that its true meaning is love shared among family and friends. In other words, Wal-Mart vs. Hallmark.
This type of thinking permeates the church, too. When we think of Christmas, we think of gift-giving and decorating, cookies and caroling and candle-light services. We think of time spent with family and friends, of sharing our blessings, of helping “those less fortunate.” And, of course, we think of angels and shepherds, virgins and carpenters, wise men and stars … and of the sweet, tiny Babe in the manger.
These things are all good. But maybe we’re missing something. Perhaps it’s time to take another look at the manger. Let’s look at the gospel according to Paul. Keep reading
It’s been a bit of a rough week.
Too much to get done, life interrupted by a stomach virus, and setbacks with other health issues. No one thing that was terribly major; yet, taken together, not the best of weeks.
But I did keep on with the Bible-listening plan I’d started. You probably think I’m about to impart some biblical wisdom and profound scriptural encouragement that spoke to me this week, don’t you?
Not so much. You see, this week, I started the third book of the Bible.
Leviticus: Where Bible-reading plans go to die. Keep reading
Hey, there! Things getting a little hectic? I thought so. Time for a break.
First up is an oldie-but-goodie, a great rendition of ”The Twelve Days of Christmas” by Straight No Chaser:
And, if you’re more in the mood for Internet-famous cartoon cats, Simon’s Cat is getting ready for Christmas: