A Baby Changes Everything

First let me anticipate a couple of questions: No, I still do not like country music. No, I do not know who wrote this song.

That being said, my good friend Ricky told me about this song this morning. While I’m not quite sure the video matches the message of the song…I really like the song.

Enjoy! (less than 5 minutes).

Christmas of 1967

I will never forget the Christmas season in 1967. My family was sitting around the Christmas tree when we heard on the radio the news of Otis Redding’s plane crash. The whole family cried because we knew our friend, Ronnie Caldwell, was on that plane and he was not listed as a survivor.

Here is a video of Otis Redding singing Respect. This was recorded the night before his death. Ronnie was a member of the original Bar Kays and is playing keyboards.

I can’t believe it has now been more than 40 years.

Leaving Christ Out Of Christmas

Stanford Chambers wrote the following article entitled, “Leaving Christ out of Christmas.” It was printed in the December 1928 issue of Word and Work, edited by R. H. Boll.

Leaving Christ out of Christmas
A very common way of writing it now is “Xmas” – leaving Christ out of Christmas. So also is He largely left out of modern observance of the day professedly kept in His honor. What is there in the season’s revelry and carousal, and fleshly indulgence to honor Christ or even remind one of Him?

This paper is not a discussion of Christmas as to its origin nor as to whether the world had been better off without the observance. Christmas is on the calendar of Christendom and in some manner is universally observed. It will be observed again this year by both Catholics and Protestants – hardly one of our readers excepted.

This is a plea, therefore, that so far as His followers are concerned, Christ be given a place in all our activities of the season. Since He would be in all our days He should be in the day called Christmas. Just as He should be in all our giving so He should be in our Christmas giving. Let not the pride, selfishness, love of display or of praise or other vainglory of the flesh have any part or lot in what we do. To the extent that they have we leave Christ out. While many are giving to receive again, or for show or from false pride, it is a good time for those who are Christ’s to remember the poor and the blind and the halt and those sick or in prison; and in His name to minister unto them. So shall we represent Him, exemplify His teaching, be channels of blessings, increase gratitude and glory to Him and be the richer in joy ourselves.

Labor of Love

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David’s town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother’s hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
calloused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David’s town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love

from Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson

An Odd Sort of God

“From the human perspective, when you compare [God] to the other gods of the other religions in the world, you have to say our God is really sort of odd. He uses the most common of people, people that aren’t any different from any of us here; he comes in the most common of ways, when by his Spirit an anonymous young woman is found to be with child. And the strangest thing is that he comes at all—he’s not the Above-Us-God, too holy to come down. This God’s love is so immense that he wants to come down. And he has proven his love by the fact that he did come down and touch our ground.”
— James R. Van Tholen, Where All Hope Lies

Christmas and Contentment

Last week I read the following information about possessions and contentment.

“On a scale of 1 – 7, with 1 being miserable and 7 highly contented, America’s 400 richest individuals rated 5.8 – and so did Kenya’s cattle raising Masai tribespeople and Greenland’s arctic dwelling Inuit population (formerly known as Eskimos). ‘Proving what?’ asks The Wall Street Journal. Simply this, that while some money relieves the burdens of dire poverty, beyond that it is less important in generating happiness than such factors as ‘social relationships, enjoyable work, fulfillment and a sense that life has meaning.'”(I’m sorry I cannot remember the original source).

These are good thoughts to keep in mind as we are bombarded with images and suggestions that we need more and more during the holiday season in order to find true happiness.

As we shop, we need to keep in mind God’s warnings about greed and His promises about contentment.

“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5 NLT).

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV).

Simply put, greed is idolatry. Our contentment is not grounded in possessions, but in the presence of God in our lives.

Jesus. God has come in the flesh.

Merry Christmas!