Good morning all-
It's a great day to be alive! I hope you're feeling that way. I spent time yesterday with my two nieces and it was beautiful. I watched as they decorated cookies and all I could think about was my mom. She baked and baked and baked all the way to Christmas. I think we had 10 different types of cookies, not to mention fudge and bread. She loved the season because it brought her so much joy to give.
Giving shouldn't just be apart of the Christmas story. Giving should happen every day. We should look for ways to give to ourselves, volunteer our time and make great things happen that are joyful and memorable. If you think about it, that's what Jesus did. He knew His life would be short and yet, He spent most of His time wandering through cities to spread the good news. Strangers became His friends and He gave not only with His time but with most of His energy. Why do you think He needed to be alone from time to time? He needed to rejuvenate Himself with His Father so that He could go back out and give some more.
If you can give money during this season, that's great. Money will always help. There are always charities that need support like World Vision, Hurricane Sandy or many others throughout the world. It's important if God blesses you with money that you give but time is so much better. I realized that yesterday as I watched those girls painstakingly decorating angels, santa clauses, mittens and more. It was so beautiful and I gave little of my time to watch the joy on their faces. Not to mention, I got to witness to my 7 year old niece. Her parents don't believe in Jesus so we talked about Heaven, what it looked like and who resided there and she was so cute. At one point I asked her, "Do you know who resides in Heaven?" She said, "Uncle Matt, Nana and Bpa?" I said, "You're right but it's Jesus that waits to receive us, He forgives us when we're bad and loves us all our days and all you have to say is, "Jesus, I believe, come into me and make me yours." I don't know if she got it but we will keep working on it. She is a beautiful girl and I think her faith could bring her parents to Christ. It's funny how trusting little children are and how much they love to believe. I wish we were all like that and then we would have a lot less chaos here on earth.
So if we believe that giving is important and that Jesus gave His life for us, then why is it so important to go back to the Christmas story? Well, without the Christmas story there is no Jesus. It's been said that Jesus could have been born in the spring but that we celebrate it in the winter. I'm not sure how all that got mixed up but nevertheless, we are nearing the season of our Lord. Jesus wasn't born to the rich, He was born to the poor. He wasn't even born in a bed, He was born on straw. He was destined to be the Lord of Lord's and His mother lay in a barn to bear Him. Think about that for a minute. His Father the Great I AM, chose to have His Son come in a barn. Interesting?
We grovel if we don't have a nice hotel to stay in and here is the mother of our Savior giving birth in a dirty barn, where all the animals are kept. I don't care how clean you make a barn, it's still dirty! Right? So if you're ever feeling like you don't have enough stuff, think on that for a minute. You have more than what Mary had and that's saying a lot. She was the mother of our King with much less then what we have today. She is an excellent role model for those of us that need comfort over faith. Wouldn't you agree?
As always, I hope this day finds you well and that you are thinking about more than presents and food. I hope you think about the presence of our Lord and what He has for You today. I pray that as you go off to church or stay at home, that you worship Him with all your heart. He's waiting to receive your praise, give it freely!
Luke 2:1-7 NIV84
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She rapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Holy Holy is the Lord! If you haven't said that lately, look at this passage and say it now. Mary, His mother wrapped Him in cloth and put Him in a manger, the Savior of the World. Profound and humbling if I do say so myself.
My prayer today:
Please write these words on our hearts. Take away the skepticism in the world and bring forth the knowledge that You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The houses are fighting and the wars are beginning. Horrific things cover the earth and only you can stop them from coming. The world has changed since You sent Your only Son but one thing remains, You are God. The Holy Trinity exists today as it did at the death of Jesus: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Teach the young to have faith in You and help the old to see. The older we become, we get jaded and forget that the Lord of light is with us. I love to think about where You reside, what the angels are doing and where Your people are. I love to think about sitting at Your feet and loving You today. I love to remember the Christmas story because it reminds me that You weren't born into things; You were born to save the world. Your pleasure and comforts were non-existent but Your love for Your people abounded and still does today. May God bless this nation and nations all over the world. Please protect the Syrians from harm, protect Israel and make it once again a great nation. We need You today as much as they did in the days of old. Come, bring Your Spirit to us, here on earth and let all of us sing, "Holy, Holy is the Lamb!" People are frightened Lord, they don't know what will happen tomorrow, but help Your people to be faithful in the chaos, to love You and to direct their eyes towards a God that can save! In Jesus name, AMEN