Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
"On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh." Matthew 2:11
One of my favorite scenes in the movie, "Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is where Christmas returns to Narnia. After 100 years of being "always winter with no Christmas" Father Christmas (the Anglican St. Nicholas) returns bearing gifts for Lucy (healing), Susan (trust) and Peter (tools of protection). When asked "I thought there was no Christmas in Narnia?Father Christmas answers, "The hope that you have brought (your majesties) has started to weaken the Witch's powers."
I agree that Christmas has taken a giant leap toward commercialism leading many people away from the true meaning of Christmas, as the coming of Jesus, God's son. But the original Saint Nicholas was a fourth century Christian bishop who lavished gifts on needy children on Jesus' birthday. He not only believed in the same Christ of the Christmas story, but he also showed God's compassion, mercy, grace and love to the children who had nothing.
We've always included St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) in our family Christmas traditions. We didn't allow him to take center stage, nor did we state that Santa was the reason for the season. We did allow the legend to take form by telling the story of St. Nicholas bringing gifts to children on Christmas Eve, how he placed them in their stockings and (we added) left one special gift besides.
However, we balanced all that with the reading of Jesus' birth from the Bible; celebrating Jesus' birthday by giving gifts and a birthday cake for Jesus.
Can a Christian family celebrate Christmas with Santa Claus? I believe they can. I believe a parent can use the story of St. Nicholas to infuse the Christmas message: that gifts are given because of the hope Jesus brought into the world by his birth.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
"And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6b
I became discouraged as time spent seeking this relationship slipped into years but God whispered, "Am I not enough for you?"
This Sunday, our pastor's message was on "The True Meaning of Christmas." He used the example of this in Christmas movies like "The Christmas Story" and "The Grinch that Stole Christmas." The true meaning of Christmas isn't the stuff but family; a place where we feel loved. He shared how most of those who come to him for counseling yearn for this place of belonging, of loving relationship but that there is little he (or anyone else) can do or say to create that place in the midst of brokenness. But, he can offer them Jesus.
Isaiah prophesied the birth of Jesus 400 years prior to his birth. He said this Christ child would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. What more do we need if we have Jesus in our life? Who can offer us to be all that Jesus is?
What situation in your life calls for a Wonderful Counselor? Who can listen to your endless stories without cutting you short of time? Who can offer you the wisdom of time and experience? Who knows you better than yourself because He created you? Who gives wise counsel?
Jesus. Jesus is my Wonderful Counselor. He is the great I Am. He is enough.