This Special Place, Where it is Always Christmas

“This Gospel anticipates a world far different from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia,where it is “always winter, and never Christmas.” But the promise of the Gospel is that it is always Christmas. To be “in Christ” is to enjoy each morning as a Christmas morning with the family of God, celebrating the gift of God around the tree of life.”

–Kevin Van Hoozer

Christmas can be a torment and tribulation for so many. I have no doubt it brings grief. Family, friends, finances– mixed liberally with heavy doses of materialism and manipulation will always bring us issues.  The music and decorations are mostly mere Novocaine (which doesn’t always work). Stress builds up. And we want none of that.

Being mentally or physically ill often accentuates these issues. I’m not sure why exactly, but suicide increases during this season. Perhaps the challenges Christmas brings just overwhelm a person who is struggling hard just to make it.

“Christmas is for children. But it is for grown-ups too. Even if it is a headache, a chore, and a nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chilled hidebound hearts.”  

–Lenora Mattingly Weber

As I think about Christmas, it is helpful for me to see it as a “mirror.” It is my reflection back to me. What we see, is who we are. If we have issues in our own life, the Season will just magnify them.  But this doesn’t mean its bad, far from it. There is always conflict, but this spiritual combat can bring us success. Some things must be fought for.

I’m convinced that in all of this, there is opportunity.  

The chance to connect to “Christmas”. The very idea is quite strange.  But Christmas can be an exquisite treat.  It is made by mixing love and truth in generous portions. As we look hard for it, there is something that moves us to a place far beyond us. Grace makes us to stand and look, perhaps for the first time.

When we truly process this, we’ll find “Christmas”. And honestly, it is more than a holiday. For the Christian, it is special time. And yes, there will be times when it is trying, but in my own thinking, Christmas has become a time of great joy and anticipation.

It won’t take much, maybe a little imagination on your part.

But those things you do may ignite and become a blaze that will direct them through their lives. Be kinder then you need to.

“The universal joy of Christmas is certainly wonderful. We ring the bells when princes are born, or toll a mournful dirge when great men pass away. Nations have their red-letter days, their carnivals and festivals, but once in the year and only once, the whole world stands still to celebrate the advent of a life. Only Jesus of Nazareth claims this world-wide, undying remembrance. You cannot cut Christmas out of the Calendar, nor out of the heart of the world.”   

Anonymous

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Hey! It’s Christmas Day!

“This Gospel anticipates a world far different from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia,where it is “always winter, and never Christmas.” But the promise of the Gospel is that it is always Christmas. To be “in Christ” is to enjoy each morning as a Christmas morning with the family of God, celebrating the gift of God around the tree of … Continue reading “Hey! It’s Christmas Day!”

A_touch_of_Narnia_in_Den_Haag..._(3063718782)
A touch of Narnia

Christmas can be a torment and tribulation for so many. I have no doubt it brings grief. Family, friends, finances– mixed liberally with heavy doses of materialism and manipulation will always bring us issues.  The music and decorations are mostly Novocaine. Stress builds up. Pain increases. And we certainly want none of that.

Being mentally or physically ill often accentuates these issues. I’m not sure why exactly, but suicide increases during this season. Perhaps the challenges Christmas brings just overwhelm a person who is struggling hard just to keep his or her head above water. Consider the following:

“Christmas is for children. But it is for grown-ups too. Even if it is a headache, a chore, and a nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chilled, hidebound hearts.”  

–Lenora Mattingly Weber

As I think about, it is helpful for me to see it as a “mirror.” It is my reflection back to me. What we see, is who we are. If we have issues in our own life, the Season will just magnify them.  But this doesn’t mean it’s bad, far from it. There is always conflict, but this spiritual combat can bring us success. Some things must be fought for in order for us to appreciate them.

I’m convinced that in all of this, there is opportunity.  The chance to connect to Christmas. The very idea is quite strange.  But Christmas can be an exquisite treat.  It is made by mixing love and truth in generous portions. As we look hard for it, there is something that moves us to a place far beyond us. Grace makes us to stand and look, perhaps for the very first time.

When we truly process this, we’ll find Christmas. And honestly, it is more than a holiday. For the Christian, it is special time. And yes, there will be times when it may be trying, but I think Christmas has become a time of great joy and anticipation. Perhaps the Lord goes ahead and meets us on road.

“The universal joy of Christmas is certainly wonderful. We ring the bells when princes are born, or toll a mournful dirge when great men pass away. Nations have their red-letter days, with their carnivals and festivals, but once in the year and only once, the whole world stands still to celebrate the advent of a life. Only Jesus of Nazareth claims this world-wide, undying remembrance. You cannot cut Christmas out of the Calendar, nor out of the heart of the world.”   

Anonymous

Be at peace, dear one. You’ll make it. God has promised.


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Happy Merry Christmas!

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A Child has been born who has always been the Everlasting One. Remarkably good news for rascals like us. More than anything, we desperately need a Savior. He has come for us in this amazing way, totally unpredictable for those looking for a king. Leave it to Him to always jolt us when we least expect it.

All that He is, we needed. He fits the needs of mankind perfectly. Isaiah told us of what He would be like, and is a completely ideal Savior for people like us. He was ‘custom built’ for our needs. Isaiah 9:6, tells us what He will be:

  • a son who is a ‘gift,’
  • a counselor who is wonderful,
  • a strong God,
  • a steady father,
  • and a prince to bring us peace.

This is not a comprehensive list, for He is all this and more. (And He is so much more!)

I’ve found that the Lord Jesus is full of surprises, but He always honors simple faith. The shepherds understood; King Herod and the religious cabal did not. When you follow Him, expect the unexpected, even if He chooses to come in a manger. He seems to enjoy this approach. He chose the humblest way possible.

“There were only a few shepherds at the first Bethlehem. The ox and the donkey understood more of the first Christmas than the high priests in Jerusalem. And it is the same today. “  ~ Thomas Merton

Let God show you more.

I hope you have a happy, joyful, and thoughtful Merry Christmas!

 

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Star Witnesses

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“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Luke 2:8-11

These shepherds were watchful.  They are careful, and very much on guard, as they look over the flocks.  (Actually, this is quite marvelous in itself. There is a ‘brain-numbing’ issue that afflicts shepherds at 2 in the morning.)  They see everything this deep. dark night. They will make excellent ‘star’ witnesses.

The angels carefully watch as well.  I’m guessing the ‘appearance’  frightens in a very deep way.  The Bible uses this powerful word–terrified‘.  (Doesn’t that word just push through, and make it seem as though we no longer have control over reality?)

All of a sudden, an angel appears and things start getting strange.  The weirdness quickly grows, and fear begins to push through.  Fear is a very good way to a deep understanding of things that are pretty much out of our league. Reality is now going to be interpreted God’s way, under His terms. We fear first, and faith follows. That seems to be the pattern.

The angels are very quick to ‘defuse the fear.’ They need to do something to stem the urge to panic.  One of the things they do is to speak a deep and penetrating word of promise and hope.  And the shepherds are like dry sponges,  and they truly absorb all that happens. They are the ‘official’ witnesses to this night’s events.

The ‘angel’ has carried a very significant message to our souls. “‘Have absolutely no fear’!  I carry to you, an awesome word, that all of your nasty, evil sins, are quite forgiven.  There is someone special, a savior. This baby is the Messiah, Christ the Lord.'” Needless to say, the shepherds are pretty scrambled.

“A Saviour is born”.  He hasn’t ‘appeared,’ or even ‘arrived’ as full-bodied man, but He has been born.  This reliance on ‘old-fashioned’ approach, brings a much slower development to His message.  A birth slows everything down. It’s like ‘slow motion’ TV.  It forces things to develop in a slower, natural and a timely way. Everyone waits.

But He has been ‘born’.  But have no doubt, He is the ‘Messiah” and He is the King of Kings, He is the One who has been eternally chosen.  Just wait and see.

“The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity–hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory–because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor, and was born in a stable so that thirty years later He might hang on a cross.”   

J.I. Packer

***ybic, Bryan

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