Tag Archive | Christmas

SING OUT PRAISES

IM000875.JPGAll through the Christmas season we’ve been hearing songs telling of Jesus’ birth. Maybe you were part of a group that went out caroling. Perhaps, you were visited by carolers. Christian Christmas music was played on secular TV and radio stations.

Now that Christmas is over does that mean we stop singing praises to God?

“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.”  (I Corinthians 14:15)

We can and should be singing songs of praise and thanksgiving to God all the time. We don’t have to constantly be singing out loud, but songs of praise can be going on in our minds and souls day in and day out.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”   (Colossians 3:16-17)

Don’t stop singing. God’s ears are open and He wants to hear our praises all the time.

THE BEST GIFT

IM000867.JPGMerry Christmas! By the time you’re reading this you’ve most likely already opened your presents. The kids are playing with their new toys. The adults might be trying on new clothes, or reading the instructions for some new gadgets they received. Christmas is such a fun time of giving and receiving gifts.

With all the excitement of the day please do not forget the best gift of all which you received. That is the gift from God of His son Jesus, who came to save us.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

What better gift can we ever possibly receive than the gift of eternal life?

This is a gift freely given by God. There is nothing we can do to earn it. We definitely don’t deserve it. Yet, it’s free for the taking. All that is required of us is to accept Jesus and believe His actions on the cross saved us from the eternal damnation we really deserve.

With all the other gifts you received today, don’t forget to accept the best gift of all – salvation through Jesus Christ.

FEELING CROWDED?

IM000852.JPGI saw these trees so close together, crowding each other out, and the thought occurred to me of how our lives get so crowded. We get so busy, being pulled in several different directions, we don’t take time to slow down and relax.

Like the crowded trees in the photo we can feel like the whole world is crowding in on us and think there is no escape.

That’s a time we need God.

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exaulted in the earth.”   (Psalm 46:10)

We need to stop what we’re doing, take a deep breath, and be still. Let God cover you in His peace. Let Him slow your mind down. Then you will be able to collect your thoughts, work out a plan, and take one step at a time. By doing this you won’t feel the crush of the world crowding in on you quite so much. You won’t feel bombarded from a hundred different directions. You’ll still be busy, but you’ll be able to handle it. Take time to be still during this busy Christmas season and remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE

IM000858.JPGThis is the sign outside of Love, INC in Fennville, MI. For those of you who don’t know, INC stands for In the Name of Christ. Love, INC is an organization whose sole purpose is to help people in need. They have food pantries, people who can help with minor repairs,  a good resource to go to in time of need.

At this time of year we see churches and individuals reach out to those who would not have much of a Christmas otherwise. The Salvation Army collects money to buy things people need. The Marines involved with Toys For Tots collect new toys so as many children as possible will have something under the Christmas tree.

This is great, but what about the rest of the year? Are people still remembering to donate to community organizations year round? People need help 365 days a year.

In the beginning of the Christian church believers in Christ took care of each other. “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”   (Acts 2:44-45)

Those early Christians cared about people’s needs on a daily basis. They did what they could for others.

Instead of this huge influx of charity at Christmas time, let’s try to carry it into the new year. Become more observant and aware of the struggles people around you are going through. Reach out a helping hand. Maybe you could assist with some repairs a neighbor needs done. It could be as simple as bringing a plate full of homemade cookies to a lonely senior citizen to brighten their day. People are struggling all around us.

It’s time to follow the example of the early church, show compassion, and lift up our hands to help, not just a Christmas, but all year long.

BRINGING GIFTS

IM000838.JPGWe give gifts to people throughout the year for birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s and Father’s Days, weddings, and especially Christmas. We buy presents to show how much we care about our family and friends.

When Jesus was born three wise men brought Him gifts.

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, and of incense, and of myrrh.”   (Luke 2:11)

We have the song at Christmas about the little drummer boy who didn’t think he had anything to give Jesus. It turned out his gift was playing his drum for Jesus.

We all have gifts we should be presenting to Jesus. Whether they’re expensive gifts like the wise men gave, or using our talents for Him like the drummer boy did, we ought to be bringing our gifts to Him.

What can we bring?

Financially give support to your church and/or to a charity. Use your talents to sing in the choir, teach a Bible study, volunteer with a community agency. There are millions of ways we can bring gifts to Jesus.

As you are handing out presents this Christmas don’t forget to give something to the person for whom this holiday is celebrated.

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

IM000835.JPGIt is so easy this time of year to get wrapped up in all the preparations for Christmas – gifts to buy, food to make, parties to attend, decorations to put up. We can easily forget the real reason we celebrate Christmas – CHRIST.

Isaiah foretold the birth of Jesus hundreds of years before it happened.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.”   (Isaiah 9:6-7)

The birth of Jesus Christ is why we have Christmas, not all the commercial hype which has taken over the holiday.

We are still going to shop for gifts, attend parties, have family gatherings, and put up decorations. However, don’t forget to set aside time to worship, to acknowledge the birth of our Lord and Savior, to praise and thank God for sending His Son.

Focusing on the REAL reason for the season, and not on the hype of the stores, puts a whole new perspective on this time of year.

DON’T LOSE THAT FOCUS.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

If you have ever been in a barn you know how dirty and smelly it can be. Animals do not give off the most pleasant aroma.

Now imagine yourself having to sleep in that barn. Not a delightful thought.

“and she gave birth to her first born, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”   (Luke 2:7)

Not only did Mary and Joseph have to sleep in a stable, Mary gave birth there. Today we’d never consider putting a new born baby in a feeding trough, but that’s what Mary had to do.

Jesus is the Savior of the world, yet He had an extremely humble beginning. The King of kings was born in a stable.

But because of His lowly start in life and His living as a man, feeling all the joys, sorrows, tiredness, hunger, etc. as we feel, we know He understands when we go to Him. He’s been there, done that.

We have a Savior who can relate to every emotion we feel.

During this Christmas season remember how Jesus was born and lived on this earth. He is not unapproachable. He is very aware of what we go through each and every day. Share the moments of your life with Him through prayer. Keep the picture in your mind of the baby lying in a manger who wants to be your Savior.