Tag Archives: holidays

More than a Christmas Greeting

Don’t get me wrong, I love sending Christmas cards, but I’m often fatigued by the time I get to the last one. I don’t like to just sign my name and be done with it. To me the whole point of writing a letter or sending a card is to make someone feel loved and important.

In order to avoid greeting card burn out, I am starting my letters a bit early with the intention to not only mail a message, but to send up a prayer. Especially in a time when destruction and terror seem to be spreading globally, it is important to lift up our loved ones in prayer, not only for protection and peace but for salvation.

Whether you send cards, buy gifts or just make a phone call to those you love, send up a prayer before you do. As you bless them spiritually, you will find yourself blessed by peace rather than stress during this season of celebration. Gift giving, family gatherings and sending cards will become a response to your prayer and a labor of love.

This year lay down your burden and lift up a prayer for each and every loved one you encounter. You will see a difference when you do.

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The Last Fruit

You may have heard of the fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22-23, after describing the acts of flesh, Paul contrasts them with the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is made up of 9 parts (or perhaps it’s 9 fruit) in either case they are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Now, just because Paul names self-control last definitely does not mean that it is least. In fact, during the holiday season this is one of the sourest fruits for many people.

Each Christmas Eve my dad and I ring the Salvation Army bell at his local Raley’s. In recent years we have been required to ring inside, which is hilarious because they have now rigged the bells to be much quieter. I call it the bell’s “inside voice.” This year we had to ring a couple weeks early because of my trip. Standing just inside the door of Raley’s I look out across the aisle of stuffing, potatoes, and frozen turkey, but before my eye can reach the foods of Christmas feast they are set on the rather large display of hard alcohol, beer and wine. I turn to my dad and say, “Wow! It must be difficult for alcoholics to go into stores like this during the holidays.” After making that statement I thought of all the other temptations that haunt us at this wonderful time of year. As we are welcoming in our newborn king, we are also over-indulging in food, drink and shopping. I doubt the baby Jesus would approve of our gluttony.

One thing that is not to be misunderstood in this verse is God is not saying we need to do it alone. Ironically self-control in this passage is really saying “give God control.” For an addict it can be nearly impossible to control one’s self, but through the Spirit we can all achieve self-control. It’s a matter of saying, “Hey God, I can’t do this. I need your help,” and like a perfect Father He will sweep you up from the “miry clay” of over-indulgence and plant your feet on solid ground.

If you are struggling with self-control as Him to help. You are never alone in your struggle.

Kutless: This is Christmas

As I listened to this song for the first time this evening I pondered the lyric “What is Christmas without Christ?” Logically we are left with “mas” if we take out the word “Christ.” And then it occurred to me. The Christmas holiday has become so commercialized that to many it has lost it’s meaning. I recently saw a meme that said something along the lines of “I don’t usually believe in Jesus except when there are presents.” So to answer the question the song asks, Christmas without Christ is just a “mass” of gifts, parties, responsibilities, a mass of gluttony. If Christmas were about gluttony do you think the baby Jesus would have been born in a barn and laid in a trough? Christmas is about a humble king without a crown, without a robe, who came to save you and I. As you listen to this song close your eyes and imagine the scene of Jesus’ virgin teenage mother and her faithful fiance making their way to a barn in Bethlehem for a census; Mary goes into labor in a cold, dark barn where she must lay her newborn baby in a feeding trough for a crib, barely knowing he was a king, the Son of God, the sacrificial Lamb, atonement for our sins, the Light of the World.

David Crowder Band: Go Tell it on the Mountain performed at K-Love studio

I love this version of the old classic I enjoyed as a child in Sunday School.

“Go Tell It on the Mountain” is an African-American spiritual song, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., dating back to at least 1865, that has been sung and recorded by many gospel and secular performers. It is considered a Christmas carol because its original lyric celebrates the Nativity of Jesus: “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born.” – wikipedia