Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

One Size Fits All

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

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christmas packageA gift is something given willingly to someone without payment; a present. We are not forced to give to someone nor are we compelled to give anything back in return.

 II Corinthians 9:15 tells us to give thanks to God for His indescribable gift. What is that gift? Romans 6:23Romans 6:23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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tell us “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Hence, eternal life is God’s gift to us.

Have you ever received a gift of clothing that did not fit? In that case, you are hopeful the person giving it to you has kept the receipt so it can be returned for the correct size.

God’s gift to us (eternal life) fits everyone no matter the size of your heart . Here is an admonition from Ephesians 3:16-18Ephesians 3:16-18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

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: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Jesus Christ was born in a manger on that first Christmas day so that we might receive this free gift that is available for everyone through faith. It is the perfect gift that manifests itself through the love of Christ. Indeed, one size fits all!baby Jesus

May you have a Merry Christmas!

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Mary’s Song

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

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The passage of scripture found in Luke 1:39-45Luke 1:39-45
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

39 And Mary arose in these days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; 40 and entered into the house of Zacharias and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit; 42 and she lifted up her voice with a loud cry, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me? 44 For behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.

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NAS tells us that after the birth of Jesus is foretold to Mary, she visits Elizabeth’s home for three months. Both women were “with child.” What do you think they talked about? They probably visited about the same things as any two ladies that are pregnant at the same time.

Mary did not have great status in life; just a young humble virgin girl engaged to Joseph, a carpenter. I am sure Mary was experiencing a lot of excitement and joy after finding out from the angel Gabriel that she was to give birth to the Son of God by the Holy Spirit. It was during this inner reflective time that the scripture records one of the greatest songs of all time, “Mary’s Song”, also referred to as the “Magnificat”. As you can see from the scriptures, this song is full of praises to God.

Mary’s Song musical notescan be found in the following passage from Luke 1:46-55Luke 1:46-55
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid: For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is unto generations and generations On them that fear him. 51 He hath showed strength with his arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart. 52 He hath put down princes from their thrones, And hath exalted them of low degree. 53 The hungry he hath filled with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath given help to Israel his servant, That he might remember mercy 55  Toward Abraham and his seed for ever.

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NAS. 
And Mary said:

“My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.  For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. And holy is His name.  He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.”

In verses 46-49 she tells of God’s concern for her and in verses 50-55, God’s concern and care for all generations to follow. Verse 45 gives us part of Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary, “And blessed is she who believe that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” As noted by Mary’s use of the past tense in the Magnificat, she believed it had indeed happened. This exemplifies her great faith.

We, too, can be used of God by exhibiting great faith and a willingness to put our faith into action. As you continue on in your walk with God, let faith lead the way . . . for unto us is born a child!

 Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

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Royal Baby

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

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On July 22, 2013 a baby boy was born in the country of Great Britain that is lovingly referred to by the media as the “Royal Baby”. I am sure he will have the best of everything and will receive lots of attention and love. We heard endless news reports of this blessed event. I am sure it means a lot in that country to recognize a new heir to the throne.

As I heard all the hoopla surrounding the birth of this little baby, it made me reflect on a royal baby that was born on that first Christmas morning in a humble stable and wrapped in swaddling cloths. baby Jesus

Luke 2:9-12Luke 2:9-12
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 And an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: 11 for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.

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states, “And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”

This child, Jesus, grew up in a loving household with a Godly mother and father. He did not come from a wealthy background but yet He became the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. That means there is no higher authority. He reigns over all and His name is above every other name.

I am sure I will never have the opportunity to meet a member of the royal family but I am thankful that I personally know “The King of Kings”! He paid the ultimate sacrifice for my sins.

For unto us a “Royal Baby” was born on that first Christmas!

Jesus Christ

Merry Christmas!!

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Who Truly Came at Christmas?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

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Most people know that at Christmas we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Even though many do not thoroughly understand the importance of Christ’s birth, they are quick to tell you that is why we celebrate the day. 

Who was Jesus Christ? Who truly came at Christmas? The answer to that question may be found in the Bible by the use of some names used to describe Him. Collectively the following names give us a better idea of who Jesus was: Messiah, God’s Anointed One; The Lord; Savior; Son of God; Lamb of God; The Word; The Way, the Truth, the Life; Light of the World; Holy One; Good Shepherd; Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God; Prince of Peace, Chief Cornerstone; Alpha and Omega; Beginning and the End; King of Kings, Lord of Lords, I Am; God with Us and Emmanuel.

There are many more descriptive names but this gives us an idea of who He is. Also, it affirms to us who truly came at Christmas. It was the Lord Jesus Christ who was and is nothing less than God himself. His purpose was to save us from our sins.

To listen to wonderful Christmas carol, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” by Larkandspur follow the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nEs0eUZNbg

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The Hidden Gift of Christmas

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

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You might wonder what is meant by the hidden gift of Christmas. We all know that Christmas is all about presents, trees, ornaments, baked goodies, parties, family get-togethers and on and on. Oh, how we all enjoy those things. So how could there be anything hidden?

No matter how much many people want to take Christ out of “Christ”mas, it is impossible to do so because . . . 

Christmas begins with “Christ”.

Christ died on the cross for forgiveness of our sins, thus the cross of Christ is the hidden gift. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23Romans 6:23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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NAS

What a gift that was! God displayed his great love for us by sending Jesus Christ, born in a stable and placed in a humble manger on that first Christmas morn, to one day die for us. Thank God for the cross.

MERRY “CHRIST”MAS!

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Recycled Christmas Gifts

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

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As I recently sorted through a box of knick-knack gift items I had received throughout the years, my thoughts turned toward a humorous gift-giving blunder of a fellow pastor.

My husband and I were driving with another couple to a church meeting in early January. Both men were in the front and the other pastor’s wife and I were seated in the back. As expected, the conversation was non-stop; sometimes the men talking together, women having their own conversation or all joining together in discussions about various topics.

My husband just happened to mention to his colleague that he had received many really nice free gifts in the mail from various companies trying to push their products to the church. My husband unintentionally identified one by one some of the different free items he had received. The atmosphere soon changed to almost complete silence. The other minister was afraid to speak. But out of the stillness, his wife said, “So, that is where you got all the nice things you gave me for Christmas.” Evidently she had recognized the same gifts my husband was stating as some of the ones she had received as presents. Needless to say, the conversation quickly changed.

Perhaps our minister-friend was not able to afford to buy his wife a gift but, whatever the reason, he had the best intentions. I only hope his wife saw the humor in it. This discussion never came up again in any of our future conversations.

A purchased gift or a recycled gift? It doesn’t matter as long as it is given from the heart.

Did you know that we have received the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ? He loves us unconditionally as we accept His free gift of eternal life. His love for us is not recycled – it is genuine.

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Where’s the Line to See Jesus?

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

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With anticipation a child waits in line at the store for the opportunity to see Santa, sit on his lap and tell him everything they want for Christmas (sometimes a rather lengthy list). If you live in a small town, perhaps the line is not too long but in a large town or city the line to see Santa Claus is usually quite extensive. Parents, grandparents, family members and friends (all in the same long line) try to capture the event by taking the perfect photo with digital cameras, cell phones and other forms of media. Each child anxiously awaits a turn to visit with Jolly Ole’ St. Nick.

Of course, Santa could not possibly be able to fill his toy bag with all of the items requested by these squirmy little ones as they recite in rote all the things they want. However, he promises the toys to them anyway.

I heard a wonderful inspiring song by Becky Kelley relevant to this theme. As her nephew saw the line of wiggly kids waiting to see Santa at the mall, he asked in an innocent way, “Where’s the line to see Jesus?”  His profound phrase is the essence of this song. The lyrics and music in the video help us reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, simply stated by a small child.

We know that Christ is all around us in every aspect of our lives. We don’t actually have to wait in a line to see him but our minds should always be focused on Christ and the things that really matter. Have we left Christ out of Christmas? Have we left Christ out of our daily living? Do we become so enamored with all the busyness of the season that we forget the true meaning of this blessed holiday? Without His birth on that first Christmas morning, life would have no meaning. Although Santa cannot give us everything we need or want, God has promised to supply our every need.

Please listen to the following video as you reflect on the true meaning of Christmas! Jesus is the reason for the season. May you have a blessed and merry Christmas!


Please click link below to watch video.

Where’s the Line to See Jesus?


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Counterfeit Christmas

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

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A Christ-less Christmas is like counterfeit money. Counterfeit money looks and feels real but to the eye of a trained professional; it can easily be identified as “fake” or “phony”.

God sent to us his indescribable gift on that blessed Christmas day and yet there are many who celebrate but without remembering the true reason.  If you take “Christ” out of Christmas, all you have left is “mas”.  We have replaced some Christian symbols of Christmas, such as manger scenes, with generic decorations that represent the holiday.  We have replaced Jesus with Santa. Is it Santa’s birthday?

It is no longer acceptable to utter the phrase “Merry Christmas” but instead it has been replaced with “Happy Holidays”. We lavish our family and friends with gifts forgetting that God gave us the greatest gift – His Son Jesus Christ. After all, it’s not about “the presents,” it’s about “His presence”.

Thus, it is not the exterior decorations (gifts, parties, family gatherings and church programs) that make the day special. It is Christmas in the heart (recognizing the true meaning) that allows us to celebrate. All the other external factors help create the setting but celebrating the real reason for the season allows us to focus on Christ. Even if you don’t celebrate at all, you should keep the attributes of Christ in focus every day of the year.

I don’t want to have a counterfeit Christmas. Do you? Let’s put Christ back in Christmas. Let’s value Him as the greatest gift we could ever receive.

Just so you know, I am not afraid to put out my nativity scene or say,

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


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A Cup of “Love”

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

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Christmas is receiving! Certainly that is one important aspect of this glorious season but our greatest gift of all  was “giving”. It wasn’t much — just a dime store special.

As a minister’s family we were truly blessed to receive many tokens of appreciation during the holiday season. These presents did much to uplift our spirits. However, we were not always materially able to give as we would like to others.

What inexpensive gift could we give of meaning to someone else? At my husband’s suggestion, we decided to visit a 93-year-old visually impaired shut-in lady from our congregation.

At a local dime store we purchased an oversized cup (mug) with a beautiful decal of a bluebird on it. Total value was one dollar and sixty-six cents. Little did we know that to this precious senior citizen its’ worth would not be measured by nickels and dimes.

On Christmas Eve we visited this wonderful lady at her home. We took along this gaily wrapped package and a plateful of well-chosen holiday goodies. She graciously accepted these material gifts. My husband read the Christmas story, I read a Christmas poem and our seven-year-old daughter (at that time) sang a song. Together we rejoiced with a few Christmas carols and prayer.

She was pleasantly touched but the greatest “touch” of all came to our hearts at the thrill of seeing her tear-filled eyes sparkle. In trying to give to someone else we were given one of the greatest gifts of all – “the gift of giving”. Our eyes became clouded with tears as well.

We were so blessed by this experience we have decided to make an annual custom of sharing our Christmas Eve, whenever possible, with someone who needs love. It is truly more blessed to “give” than to “receive”.

The gift of love does not always cost a fortune – a little time and perhaps one dollar and sixty-six cents.

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