In the Costco parking lot, a man yelled, “Get you ef-ing car out of here!” He could be heard pretty much all over the lot. He repeated himself. I guess he didn’t resort to blows because the driver who stole his space was a lady. This is what Christmas has become.
Inside Costco, a kid whined: “Why can’t we have a 75 inch television?” Ho ho ho.
I did my best to navigate the carts and get my groceries without getting into a fight. I’m really getting into the Christmas spirit.
Leaving the parking lot, a lady honked and yelled at a driver who she thought should have pulled a quick right on a yellow. Apparently, she was going to follow.
Jesus went to the cross for peace on Earth and good will to men. Our ever-increasingly secular society, however, is replacing the true Christmas spirit with materialism and hatred. When we shop during this season, we need more patience, not less.
Love exploded upon humanity when the Son of God was born in human form.
No longer was it impossible to please a completely holy God, who demanded an animal sacrifice for every sin. That’s A LOT!
Jesus was the last sacrifice to end all sacrifice. He was the price paid in ransom for us; we sold ourselves to sin, death and Hell.
If you experience the love of a family during Christmas, that’s a mere taste of the full flavor of love from God. If you didn’t experience human love during Christmas, you are missing a drop of the ocean of love God has for you.
Even surrounded by family, you can feel incredibly lonely.
Jesus’ parents lacked a friend’s house to crash on the couch. In a filthy stable, Joseph provided for Mary to give birth to their first son. Jesus was born in loneliness.
He’s with you now in a very special way. The times I’ve been loneliest have also been times that I’ve had the sweetest communion with God. With tears in my eyes, I lifted my heart to the Lord.
Those were beautiful moments.
Nobody every expected Jesus to be born in a manger. Nor was riding on a donkey worth calling a triumphal royal entry into Jerusalem.
The leading interpreters were completely blindsided by the appearance of the Messiah — partly because their envy blinded them, but also because they interpreted erroneously.
Try to resist making God fit your theology. He’s a boundary buster. He’ll surprise with unconventional means: Muslims who see Jesus in a dream and serve the Savior without leaving the mesquite, for example.
- If this man were of God, He wouldn’t heal on the Sabbath.
- Does anything good come out of Nazareth?
- He eats with tax collectors and prostitutes.
Their exclusionary clauses eventually excluded themselves from the things of God.
This Christmas, don’t wait for Santa to come down your chimney. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. Don’t limit God.
Photo credit: Beautiful pictures on google+. I’m not making any $ on this picture, and I don’t own the rights to it.
God has “undiminishable” riches. No matter how much you take away from them, it’s like a drop in the oceans.
So when He paid our ransom, it was a light thing. He could afford whatever price the devil set.
His only limited resource was His son. He had only one.
I’ve known parents to suffer prolonged acute grief over the loss of a son. That pain is assuaged many times by the presence of other children. God had no other children. He couldn’t preserve His favorite son and send the brat to die for humanity.
Even though Christ resurrected and triumphed over death, I believe God’s grief was unbearable.
Really, no one told God that it had to be His Son. God makes the rules, so He could have sent an angel to die on the cross for us. He could have sent all of His angels.
But to show how great His love is, He sent His one and only Son. He didn’t send money, which He possesses in limitless supply. He sent the one thing that most touched His heart.
I’m not so rich that I can give gifts without experiencing any personal loss. Such was God. The greatest gift is Jesus. Merry CHRISTmas!
Original photo from Tumblr.
Posted in Christmas
Tagged Christianity, Faith, geen, general, inspiration, Jesus, love, motivation, ransom, salvation, thoughts
So Jesus can relate to suffering and pain.
In fact, his essential purpose in leaving his kingship in Heaven and condescending to take mortal form was to suffer. And it started with his birth in a filthy stable.
During his life, He alleviated pain everywhere He found it. Blind eyes were opened. Condemned prostitutes were forgiven. Tax collectors escaped a life of being despised by others. The demon-oppressed were freed.
Then he died excruciatingly.
If Christmas conjures magical feelings of family and beauty, let us never forget its underpinnings are the Son of God coming to help the helpless, the defend the defenseless, to redeemed the scum of society, to sanctify the sinner and prick the self-righteous to reflection.
He feels your pain. He came to take the pain away.
Photo from soulation org
Surprisingly, courage is NOT the opposite of fear. Rather, fear is the journey towards courage.
When we read the Christmas story, the opposite of fear proves to be joy. Angels visit Zachariah, Mary and Joseph. Each time they say: Do not fear. They explain their news, and then they say that it is cause for great joy.
So you can either be joyful or fearful, but not both.
Why is Christmas so joyful? It’s more than just a feel-good, help-the-less-fortunate time of year. It’s the time that Christ lifted off our shoulders an impossible burden. Christ paid an unpayable price. The separation from God that initiated in the Garden of Eden was finally ended. Humanity can now enjoy relationship with the Heavenly Father.
In the gif, Tim Cocker gives what he calls “terrible” Christmas gifts to his kids in 2011: a banana and an onion (she thinks it’s a tiny pumpkin). But the kids are joyful.
Will be joyful or fearful this Christmas?
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!