Nicholas gave his money away to help people. The legend is that he anonymously helped young ladies pay their dowry by throwing the money in the window. It fell into socks hanging on the hearth. His good deeds became known, and he was named bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey.
Then he died and went to Heaven, where he is alive and well. Don’t look for him at the South Pole. You’ll only find penguins.
The real gift-giver is Jesus. He’s not bringing a sack of toys. He offers far greater presents: the unpayable ransom of your soul, forgiveness, restoration, blessing, acceptance. Sorry Toys-R-Us, Jesus gives priceless stuff.
The wise men came bringing gifts to Jesus, but Jesus IS the gift to humanity.
Posted in Christmas
Tagged bishop of Myra, Christianity, gifts, inspiration, Jesus, life, motivation, Nicholas, presents, Santa Claus, thoughts
After being a Christian for more than 35 years, I can’t really remember anyone ever say this: I need to give more.
No, through more than three decades of rubbing elbows with Christians, most often I hear people brag about how much they have already given. Usually, they compare themselves to others and point out how superior their giving us.
When someone gives quietly (without blowing the trumpet in announcement of his gift, as Jesus said), it inspires me to give.
When someone brags (and usually there’s an undertone of bitterness, as in: they wasted my gift), it’s completely uninspiring.
This Christmas, give without bragging and bitterness. Give God gold, frankincense and more.
Why is Christmas joyous? Because Christ came to forgive us our sins, to die carrying out own death sentence so that we might be freed from it. The problem of sin, which dogged humanity from the beginning of time, was finally solved.
Picture source: animationguildblog at blogspot
Every Christmas narrative in the Bible contains the command: Do not be afraid. The angel says it to Joseph, to Mary, to Zachariah.
Don’t be afraid of God. He is loving. The commands of the Old Testament are satisfied in the New Testament through Jesus. Christmas is, in the words of the angel, “good news of great joy” because God is forgiving the sins of all who ask. The gap separating man from God is bridged by the cross. Reconciliation is possible. Perfect love drives out all fear — 1 John 4:18 NIV.
God loves you with a perfect love. All you need to do, as with a Christmas present, is open it.
Pseudo-intellectual siege after siege has been brought against Jesus to cast doubt over the historicity.
“Scholars” have focused on details small and large in this attempt. But those attempts have failed. The evidence supporting the Biblical accounts is overwhelming, as is His undeniable work in me.
Let’s celebrate Christmas not as businessmen but as the gratefully saved.
Photo thanks to PunkDrunkLove
… you didn’t get so many gifts this year, is not the recession.
May the gift of laughter — as well as the gift of gratitude — be with you this year. Merry Christmas!
(That pesky NRA!)
Posted in Christmas
Tagged children, Christianity, Faith, family, God, gratitude, home, hope, humor, inspiration, Jesus, marriage, relationships, youth
Last night at church, the pastor issued a plea for a new couple, Jose and Mary, who were evicted and needed a place to stay until they get back on their feet. They are just recently moved here, and she’s pregnant — nine months. Can you believe that?
Why would they get pregnant without lots of dough stashed away in the bank? They no doubt don’t have health insurance, so it’s a typical case of taking advantage of the system. People need to be more responsible and stop looking for handouts.
I am voting for our family to NOT pitch it. We can’t simply help every time there’s a need. The way I see it, every dime that goes to charity is one less for my Christmas presents, and I’m hoping for the biggest haul ever this year!
Why don’t Mary and Jose go to THEIR parents. I’ll bet not even Santa Claus will give them anything. They probably didn’t behave themselves.
But the worst thing is that Mom and Dad talked about letting them stay at our house, at least on the couch. That’s creepy! Can you imagine running into the living room to open my goodies bright and early Christmas morning — and these strangers are there. What if they run off with the gifts during the night and disappear? Let them go to some homeless shelter to give birth there.
**** “Manual,” the fictitious persona of the Wimpy Christian, thanks the Wimpy Kid for his attitude and applies it to the church.
Posted in Christmas
Tagged blog of the wimpy Christian, church, comedy, donation, family, giving, humor, inspiration, love, Mary and Joseph, people, relationships, Santa Claus, wimpy Christian, wimpy kid
Shoes for Guatemalans
To my young mind, there was no doubt about it. Christmas was all about getting — as much as I could. A funny thing happened, that toy that looked like so much fun on the commercial… well , you know…
Helping One Voice divide up fruits and vegetables into bags for their Christmas baskets.
Something happened in the intervening years. I discovered the joy of giving. Disneyland was fun because it was fun to see my kids have fun. I gave even my life to the mission field — 16 years in Guatemala.
I just sent down a bunch of shoes. Poverty is such that shoes are among the hardest thing to come by for the natives (who work in our school and get paid a pittance because it is semi-self-supporting). My daughter is expert at firing through size, sex and price so that it didn’t become an hours-long ordeal.
My daughter played in the Scrooge drama put on by the Lighthouse Church in Santa Monica
Giving is more satisfying that getting. Try it this year. Instead of begrudging the lack of Christmas presents, volunteer at a food distribution center. We helped One Voice in Santa Monica prepare food baskets.
Jenny, at right, with my daughter. She’s so shy that she doesn’t smile in front of the camera.
I just got off the phone with Pastor Ludving in Guatemala. His daughter, Jenny, has some problem with her eyes, but he stopped treating it with the doctor because of lack of money. All donations in December and January through my Donate option (PayPal) will go to her.
Posted in Christmas, Financial Talk
Tagged church, church ministry, donation, giving, God, Grinch, Guatemala, helping others, holidays, Jesus, ministry, Scrooge, service, serving
At Stonehenge, an end of the world party, yesterday
Even though I used to live in their mecca, the Mayan catastrophe yesterday failed to materialize. Now, would Roland Emmerich* please give everybody back their ticket money? We weren’t warned. We were swindled.
When crews widened the 405 FWY they shut it down for a full weekend in July 2011 and predicted traffic snarls all the way to Paris. Telling everyone to stay home, they said it would be “Carmaggedon.”
I had an outreach to drive to, and the freeways were entirely empty. The next day the newspapers stated that Angelinos, by NOT using their cars for the first time in their lives, had made the “ultimate sacrifice.”
I took exception to that. The “ultimate sacrifice” no one I know would be willing to make: to die for a friend maybe, but to die lovingly, givingly, for an enemy, who would? The Christ of Christmas did.
If you stockpiled food, water, gas and bullets for the much-vaunted Mayan cataclysm, give it to the poor (not the bullets). Because the real end of the world is coming, but it’s not Carmaggedon. It’s Armaggedon. What you’ll need most stockpiled is Jesus in your heart.
* Emmerich directed 2012, a special effects phenom that grossed $770 million. It was based on speculations of a Mayan Long Calendar-predicted apocalypse.
Posted in Christmas, inspiration
Tagged 405 freeway, Armaggedon, Carmaggedon, Christianity, community, culture, end of the world, events, holidays, humor, life, lifestyle, Maya, Mayan, people, sacrifice, spirituality, top stories
I posted a challenge to the existentialists. No one every responded. Maybe they don’t think I exist.
When I posted a challenge to the atheists, they responded with fury. They are a jolly group of friends, nice guys, all of them.
I have discovered that WordPress is a great place to make friends. I am impressed by the sincerity of people. Y’all are so heartfelt.
One of the things I enjoy with friends is sharing coffee. The Native Americans smoked the peace pipe. Some people share a beer. I savor coffee. It’s my way of bonding, a ritual for communicating how much I value the person.
Throughout 2012, I have had some wonderful conversations with you blogger friends. We have shared in struggles and triumphs, joys and depressions. But I’m afraid inviting you to coffee in Santa Monica would be seen as creepy, so have a coffee in wherever you are to friendship!