I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. This is the first Advent season in three years that I haven’t written something. Sorry for the silence! This Christmas season has gone by in a blur of activity and festivity. I hope you have all been blessed by the season.
But as we approach today—Christmas morning—there is a certain level of awe and wonder that ought to fill our hearts as we contemplate and ponder the birth of Christ. Not only were the events surrounding His birth amazing and incredible, but the very fact that He came fills my heart with worship.
As Thanksgiving approaches, it may be hard to feel thankful. Our nation has been hit hard with catastrophe, tragedy, and unprecedented violence. From the fires in the west to the hurricanes in the south and flooding in the east and numerous shootings throughout, no region has been spared from calamity. Many people are hurting and broken. Some are destitute without a home, while others have lost loved ones without having the chance to say goodbye.
Our hearts hurt for those who have lost everything, and we’re heavily burdened for those who have no hope. So this Thanksgiving, how can we rejoice and give thanks when our world seems to be falling apart?
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Today is a day of celebration, praise, and worship of our Savior and King who conquered death and defeated Satan on that glorious Sunday two thousand years ago. What a reason to celebrate and rejoice! Because of Him we have eternal hope!
As we celebrate this day of human love and affection--whether it be with family, friends, or a spouse--let's remember and contemplate God's incredible love for us. He demonstrated ultimate love on the cross and no other type of love can compare with His unending, unconditional, agape love for us.
The Year of our Lord 2017 is now officially over. The New Year has begun. And while nothing feels different—the air is still chilly and life is still the same—it is the beginning of a new chapter in life. But before we look forward, let’s take a moment and look back over the past year.
The longed for, long awaited day has arrived. Merry Christmas, everyone! It’s Christmas Day! The presents have probably already been opened and sounds of joy, squeals if there are children involved, and thanks have filled the home. But now as the tissue paper settles and the new gifts get neatly arranged, it’s time to take a moment and remember why we celebrate Christmas.
It’s finally here! The day thousands of children have been waiting for. The big deadline shoppers have been frantically preparing for. The day before Christmas.
As we gear up for Christmas, let’s cast our minds back to where it all began. Over a year before the scene in the stable, God in His heavenly throne room summoned an angel and gave him a special assignment.
Advent is here. Christmas is just around the corner. However, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, there is an aspect of the Christmas story we tend to overlook or underemphasize. While flipping through the pages of Luke one and two and Matthew chapter one, we forget the lengthy gap that’s represented in the page that reads “The New Testament.” For us, the span between the Old Testament and New is merely a couple of pages, but for the Israelites it was 400 years.
Gratitude is a posture. A choice. We often overlook this truth and blindly believe that gratitude and thankfulness is a response to overflowing blessings. But Paul resets our perspective when he wrote to the Thessalonians:
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
~I Thessalonians 5:18
That word easily tumbles out of the mouth of a toddler as he runs to greet his father with a bear hug or spills out in the delighted squeal of a little girl as her father relentlessly tickles her tummy. Whether it’s uttered in joyful abandon, frustrated anger, deep-hearted sorrow, unwavering trust, or warm affection from the lips of a child or adult, the connotation remains the same.
Yesterday, I shared an epiphany that occurred while standing before the traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was a scene that opened my eyes to see each name and wrap my heart around each life that was given. However, there was an aspect of the story that I did not tell you, a part of my contemplations that I did not share.
This iconic image from World War II has come to represent the tenacity and loyalty of America and her comrades-in-arms. But it is also a representation of sacrifice.
Today, as we reflect on the victories that have made America the world power she is today, we must also remember the millions of lives sacrificed in the process. This is what Memorial Day is all about: remembering those fallen in combat.
They live quiet, selfless lives. They’re always on call and never have time off. They don’t work for money nor do they expect praise or applause for their daily, moment-by-moment efforts. Their greatest delight and joy is to see their young protégées walking with the Lord, happy, healthy both in body and mind, and noteworthy citizens of society. From the sleepless nights of the infant stage through the rocky ride of the teen years, they work tirelessly to see that goal come to fruition.
While this is not something I usually post about, I feel that it is important to help our brothers and sisters in need. And this is an important need!
So as we celebrate unconditional, Christ-like love, let's put it into action.
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